At times I believe that my life is a bit of a joke, some sort of running comedy for everyone else to enjoy. The trials and tribulations of my life can be interesting, to say the least. Seriously bizarre things happen to me on a day to day basis. Traveling the world only adds to the excitement.
Perhaps, I have been watching too much Curb Your Enthusiasm, or maybe I just focus on the minute details of my day, but I feel like I am a walking, talking episode of Seinfeld. This is why, in true Larry David fashion, I believe my pathetic attempt at making a joke on Twitter about an Ethiopian, led to chaos.
As much as I wish that my life were an actual reality show, I am not getting paid for this pandemonium, and so I feel that I should put the offer on the table. For the sake of any big time TV executives that are reading this, looking for the perfect candidate for their next show—probable, I am your girl!
I mean, in my early twenties I was one audition away from being cast on The Bad Girls Club. Yeah, you heard it right, The Bad Girls Club. The reality show similar to The Real World, where a group of girls live in a mansion, go clubbing, and are encouraged to get into fist fights. Casting always consisted of women from the Bronx, possible gang members, a big girl, a crazy one, and a pretty little thing used as some sort of bait to entice the wicked women to brawl. You must remember the scene of Tanisha bashing pans together and singing, “I ain’t got no sleep cause of y’all. Y’all ain’t going to get no sleep cause of me.” Fights were brutal and the baddest girls were kicked off of the show, primo entertainment. What type of woman would I be today had I landed that role? It is probably for the best that we will never know.
Preferably, I would enjoy being cast for my own show. One that sends me around the world—think An Idiot Abroad, with a much more willing star.
I will explore new countries, go on wild adventures, try local food, all while looking for love. There has to be a love story for appropriate plot purposes. Also, it will help my game if I tell guys they will be on TV if they go out with me.
I’m not actually that desperate… I’m not! It is a great idea for a show though, especially because I will try anything once. Everything except, of course, touching, looking at, playing, and interacting with spiders in anyway. I would sooner juggle scorpions before I go anywhere near a spider. I don’t know why I would ever have to do any of those things, but I have seen Fear Factor, and people want to watch some weird stuff.
Anyway, this was just an idea for my future. The girls at work thought of their own reality show for me, this past summer. The plot involves me going to Australia looking for a husband. I date guys, find the best candidate, get a green card, and live in OZ, forever.
Some ideas for titles included: Al Over Aussies, Go Down Under Al, and Let Me See Your Penal Colony. With suggestions like this, it’s clear my life plans have come to fruition!
I flew to South Africa via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia using Ethiopian Airlines. If you take only an inkling of advice on world travel from this blog—let this be it—do not under any circumstance, I mean any, fly with Ethiopian Airlines. I do not care if someone pays you to get on the plane, do not be fooled, find another company.
That has happened to me, by the way. A girl once paid me to go to Cedar Point. I walked to the counter and gave her a coupon from the side of a Pepsi can, and she slid some bills back with my tickets. My niece was with me and I insisted that she keep her mouth shut if she wanted to ride any roller coasters! Likely, the girl was fired, but who cares? I got paid to go to one of my favorite places on Earth—score! That was my day, not hers.
Anyway, I didn’t find out that Ethiopian Airlines is the absolute worst airline in the world, supposedly, until after my awful experiences with them. More on that, later.
Affordable travel has its downfalls, but saving money on flights leaves a much bigger budget to pay for excursions and transport within your destination country. This was a good plan for South Africa, as the journey across the Atlantic is typically long and pricey. Getting to the Southern Hemisphere constantly proves itself to be a difficult feat. I can only assume it has something to do with the fact that our Earth is flat…
Gotcha! Please, don’t start messaging me about your flat earth theories, argue among yourselves in my comment section. It will aid in boosting my daily views! I say these things for comment-type reactions, not for your PMs.
After much research, I understood that South Africa would be quite inexpensive once I was there, I just needed to find a way that wouldn’t cost me a pretty penny.
I generally use Kiwi.com to research flight deals. This is a useful platform for flights if you do not have specific dates to fly.
The site has a multi-city option that is extremely easy to use, as well as, return and one-way options.
The map to the right of the search bar is amazing. It takes the radius of your location and draws a circle around it to find all local airports. Without any effort, every major city pops up with the lowest fare next to it. If you click a price, it will plug-in the airport that flies to your destination, at that lowest price.
Trick: Direct flights are always expensive, so why pay a hefty price? You want to travel the world, so layovers in new cities should pique your interest. While you scan deals, find the flight with the longest layover, and use the opportunity to visit that city. You get more bang for your buck, and pay less money for the flight to your final destination.
I flew to Central America once, and got to stay in Florida over-night with my friend Krystle and her husband, beforehand. On my flight back I had an entire day in a country I had never been to. The multi-city trip was cheaper than any direct flights I could find. Win, Win.
Kayak.com has the option to enter your destination as “anywhere”, and also pulls up the cheapest fares to major cities. Buy that flight across the world for $400, stay a few days, then take the flight to where you really want to go for a fraction of the price.
Google flights is also a useful platform. There, you can pick a date range, a continent, and a list of your hobbies, and it will search for the most affordable trip to a destination that suits you.
Caution, the greatest risk with booking flights in this manner, is the scary Visa regulations. Please, always do yourself a favor and research Visa requirements before you visit any unknown country. As a travel lover, it is easy to forget that those invisible borders can be quite difficult to cross.
Last year, I almost booked a round-trip to China for $500! Excellent bargain, had I not spoken to my friend Niki, who has been to China (Cool, right?). She never talks about the Great Wall. That would the topic of eighty percent of my conversations if I had gone there, i.e. “Trump wants to build a wall? Not interested, I have already been to The Great Wall of China, I have seen enough wall in my life.”
Niki had explained that, unknown to me, I would likely need a travel Visa to go to China. Those cost $200, and suddenly the deal didn’t seem so amazing.
The inexpensive flight I found to South Africa had a layover in Ethiopia. Luckily, you only need a transit Visa if you plan to stay in Ethiopia, so I snatched that deal right up. I paid just over $800 for a round-trip flight from the USA to Capetown, South Africa.
I know people that blow that amount of money on some weed, booze, and a couple of weekends out. Instead they could fly to SA and get that Durban Poison for free (I don’t get high, but if I did, I’d never pay a dime. Weed smokers are generous peoples), drink delicious South African wines at the vineyard, and go out to a new spot everyday for over a month.
Enough advice, onto the good stuff. My savvy flight-deal proved to be a little more hassle than it was worth. This is me, ridiculous things always happen, but it is unlikely you will experience anything similar to this on your travels.
IAD to ADD: The flight attendant in my section was rude and staring me down. Sassy—I can handle that, but I had hoped this was not a representation of most Africans. (It’s not. South Africa is the friendliest country I have ever been, and the people are some of the nicest on Earth.)
Once, I was encouraged by an Ethiopian Uber driver in Vegas to go to his home country. He informed me that the people are great, I suppose that connotation doesn’t apply to Ethiopian Airline attendants, oh well.
The ear buds were way too massive for the holes in my ears, and I suffered all the way through because my personal headphones did not have the two prong plug-in necessary for African travel. Woe is me.
I waited in line to use the bathroom for entirely too long, when the seat belt sign came on, and I was forced back to my seat, aggressively. When others got up to use the restroom, sign still on, nothing was mentioned.
Drinks were being spilled on customers from the snack cart, and I received an eye-roll when I asked for more water than my measly cup.
The Joke: A little Ethiopian girl was staring at me through the seats ahead. I didn’t finish all of my food, and this little girl just glared. Laughing to myself, I thought it would make a funny joke about the stereotype, as we use the word “starving” as an epithet for Ethiopians.
We all know the saying, “Finish your food, there are starving children in Ethiopia who would love that meal.” This seemed worthy of a Tweet, so I did just that. Yeah, I am no comedian and should not have written it, but I am utterly irrelevant on social media, and fully understood that my comment had no bearing on my four followers’ lives.
I was unaware that a joke would ignite some sort of black magic, airline, witchery against me! Said girl, did not appear to be poor, dressed in trendy clothes, flying with her whole family, coming back from the USA. The youngin’ barely grazed her own food, do not judge me.
By the time I arrived to Addis Ababa, I should have already been on board my flight to Capetown. I asked the attendant what I should do. She told me, “I don’t know, ask someone.” Oh, okay, thanks.
I asked another attendant, as I have no issue following rules. This woman explained that I needed to very quickly debark the aircraft. Did I mentioned the fact that I was in the very back of the plane?
If you have ever flown, you know that as soon as a plane lands on safe ground, people race to stand-up, stack their bags in the aisle, and refuse to let anyone past them. It’s like they are all in some disorganized queue at the gateway of heaven, they could not possibly let another person squeeze by, or they risk never getting through those pearly white gates.
Did the lovely employees help guide me through this mess of people? No, all flight attendants were out of reach by the time I realized the predicament I was in.
So, I began my journey and started to hurdle over suitcases, carry-on in hand. I whacked people in their heads with my bag, and resorted to shoving when they were closing in on me. Fliers were not going to let me off this airplane before them, without a fight! Angry people began screaming at me and shouting, “no cutting!” I would retort, “pardon me”, “oops”, “sorry, I’m late”, and proclaimed, “They made me do thisssss!”.
The hostile sheeple were merciless with me. Their rage-filled eyes said it all, “I have to sit at baggage claim for forty minutes before my bag arrives on that conveyor belt. Who the hell does this girl think she is, trying to get there before me?”.
I got to the front of the plane tired and scared, when some men informed me that they were also on the same flight, along with others, and the plane would not leave without us.
ADD to CPT: Same earbuds, pain ensued.
My friend Andi said her in-flight entertainment didn’t work.
I got whacked in the leg with several drink carts, was awaken to make sure my seat belt buckle was visible, and someone shook me out of a daze to ask if I wanted a sandwich covered in cheese. I HATE cheese. I knew something was up.
CPT to ADD: An Ethiopian Airline employee was rude as soon as I arrived to the airline desk. This seems to be a trend.
I had tried to call the airline during my time away, to have my departure city changed, but I was constantly hung-up on, ignored, and E-mails went unanswered. Trying to rectify the situation, I was persistent, as were they—in not helping me. There was an eerie feeling as I walked away from the counter, that I had in-fact, been blacklisted.
Nothing noteworthy happened mid-flight. I wondered, “maybe the jinx is in my head?”.
…We landed long after I was supposed to board my connecting flight home, go figure. In a true Ethiopian Airline manner, the pilot gave no recommendation for connections, and the in-flight attendants were nowhere to be found. I was not running, I knew the score—or—did I?
Walking down the stairs to exit the plane and catch the shuttle, I realized this airport was more comparable to a zoo than an international transportation hub. People were crowding on the stairs like a mosh pit, and no one had any idea which shuttle they were supposed to get on. The doors were closing on the buses, limbs hanging out, and the drivers just continued on their way.
I got to the terminal, but my flight was long gone. There were three of us that were supposed to be on board that aircraft. We scanned for any type of airline employee, and were told to sit on the ground and wait. An hour and a half passes without any assistance. Each time we tried to speak to the guy in charge, he would yell at us, (He was stressed in this colossal sea of people.) and then literally run away.
A gentleman, that was patiently waiting with us, was a huge man originally from Cameroon. His patience wore thin, but his attempt to seek help was not taken seriously. I decided to do what I do best, and handle the job. I tracked down the man who had been running away from us. I began circling around him like I was playing defense at a sporting event. Holding out my arms, I was prepared to stop him from running, and I had him cornered.
Then, I insisted that this man would help us at that very second, explaining that the floor was cold, we were hungry, I needed answers, and that he was stressing me out; so I wanted a drink and wasn’t paying for it. He walked us to the business lounge. The kind that premium fliers use when they purchase First Class tickets, that’s right.
Business lounge 101, for the little people — consists of a free buffet, a bar full of booze, a beer fridge, comfortable seats, and outlets for all nationalities. I complimented the person of authority on being a good man and offered him a beer.
ADD to LHR: An extra flight to London was now on my agenda, apparently, this was my quickest route home. I was assigned to the middle seat between two giant guys. What sort of treatment is this? I am a BUSINESS LOUNGER!
Too tired to fight, I realize it is not so bad. Big guys don’t get cold, so without asking they gave me their blankets and pillows—I had three each. The man to my left cared for my luggage in the overhead, which was more like eye-level for him. Generally, it is common courtesy to give one arm rest to your middle-seater, but these men had nowhere to put their buff arms, and so they fell naturally into my space. No problem, I leaned on both arms while I slept, and neither of them moved an inch to disturb me. Two personal body guards, maybe my luck was changing.
At one point, I realized both men were listening to country music, and both were black guys. I laughed and thought of another funny tweet about breaking stereotypes, but quickly realized how my racial jokes got me into this mess, in the first place.
I had a lovely end to my flight when the man to my right played Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball, to which he was singing in a girly, high-pitched voice. I already liked him a lot, but he gained some brownie points when I saw his finger take the music scroll ball, and rewind it back to the beginning of the song. I was lucky enough to hear his angelic voice, twice. I would have loved his rendition of Miley’s Jolene or 23, but I was in no position to be greedy.
I went through security sixteen more times, and they tossed half of my carry-on items. Have you ever been to Heathrow Airport? This is like entering a maximum security prison. Good luck arriving in London wanting a little facial moisturizer, makeup, brushed teeth, and deodorant under your arms, because none of those dangerous objects are entering England!
Body scans are so intense that you start to question your decision to use a tampon. You fear that they will interrogate, “What exactly do you have in there?”.
No… Just me?
Whatever, you know it is stressful stepping into one of those visual body scanners. Who knows what they can see? Ever see a cop and suddenly fear that you are doing something wrong? It is exactly the same, in Heathrow Airport. Agents make you feel like you accidentally bought cyanide instead of a mini bottle of mouthwash.
My flight was delayed twice due to weather, and I had to wait all day to leave. I sat on a row of seats next to some kind of Alex wannabe—She looked at me and said, “Excuse me, do you mind moving?”
“I feel really ill, and think I need to lie down before the flight.”
I took a deep breath and moved across from her, all while keeping my eyes on this prissy, little brat.
She laid down, picked up the phone to call her boyfriend, gossiped about her upcoming flight to the USA, and insisted that she was going to cut back on drinking because she was hungover—ballsy, yes, but our similarities end there.
This girl sucked, and I hope that she got so drunk on her Miami get-away, that she puked the entire trip, cheated on her boyfriend, and got Chlamydia. Too far?
LHR to IAD: My flight home was with United Airlines, and I have zero complaints about this company. Not a single passenger was beat on our journey to the USA! It was really chill.
I arrived in Washington, DC to find that my bag was not there. Ethiopian Airlines could not even track my backpack, despite their assurance it had made the connecting flight, that I had not.
United never even saw my bag, so my GoPro with incredible Great White Shark dive videos, my clothes, shoes, hygiene products, and slingshots and Impala horns (necessary souvenirs), were nowhere to be found.
The airlines have yet to locate my backpack. It has been weeks, and I suspect foul play by Ethiopian Airlines. All of this, because I thought I was funny enough, to crack a joke on Twitter about a sweet, Ethiopian girl.
You win some, you lose some. I’ll never listen to Wrecking Ball the same, I’ll always have that! Happy Travels!
-Never pack souvenirs or valuables in your checked bag.
-Always carry extra clothes, underwear, and hygiene products in your carry-on.
-Make sure ALL liquids meet the airport size requirements.
-Don’t make fun of people.
-Never give up your seat in a waiting area to anyone that is not elderly or handicapped. Likely, their only handicap is being an asshole.