We're having finals right now!
God bless professors who give the same exam every year and make past exams available in the library.
Now you know, all weekend, Crac had insulted my people in the following ways:
1. She said thosepeople while sneering on Air Baltic and making an obscene gesture with her hand
2. She said my people were “a little bit Polish”
3. She burned a Lithuanian flag while chanting “DEATH TO LITHUANIA” in Welsh
Ok, so #3 didn’t happen but I believe it would have if she had been able to get her hands on a flag and learn some Welsh. But even after all that, she wouldn’t stop. She just had to get one more dig in.
We were in line for passport control at the Vilnius Airport and there was a pungent odor hanging in the air. I mean this odor was foul. It was rude. So of course, Crac decides to blame the poor, formerly oppressed Lithuanians.
“Jesus, do you think that your people could get some deodorant?”
“Shut it, Crac unless you want to get an open hand across the face Air Baltic style.”
But, she was right, the odor was gross. And I was ashamed that my people had no sense of hygiene.
Then, I stepped up to passport control and it was like walking into the Great Wall of Smell. The man in front of me had gone through passport control but had left his rotten stench behind. My eyes started watering and I gagged.
“Crac, its not the Lithuanians! It is the Canadian man!”
Crac rolled her eyes.
The Canadian man went through security but his smell lingered.
“God that is disgusting, I hope he isn’t on our flight.”
We were a little early so we went up to the bar to watch the planes land and drink Cokes and eat peanuts. My eyes started watering again.
“Oh man, what’s that smell? Did you fart?
Crac covered her nose with her hand.
“No, I didn’t fart! I don’t know what that is!”
I looked behind me and in the doorway of the bar was Smelly Canadian Man. The plants next to the doorway had withered and turned black from being downwind from him.
“Oh man! He’s following us! He better not be on our flight!”
But of course, karma is a bitch, and he was. At all of the airports we have flown to in Europe, they do not have gates but buses that take you out on the runway to the planes. We got on our little bus and Smelly Canadian Man was there, holding onto the handrails with his arms up and gassing the whole bus.
The smell on the bus was disgusting. Foul. Rude. Smelly Canadian man was in the back of the bus so we went to the front and stood there. But there was no escaping the odor of Smelly Canadian Man. The bus driver got on the bus and got ready to take us the 10 feet to where our prop Eurolot plane was waiting.
Crac grabbed the bus driver.
“Sir, do not close the doors. If you close the doors, I will vomit.”
But the bus driver ignored her and shut the door anyway.
“Get on the floor, the air is cleaner on the floor!” she shouted and then hit the deck.
Our eyes watered. We were both about to spew when the bus stopped, the doors opened and fresh air poured into the bus.
“God, he better not be sitting near us.”
But of course, karma is a bitch, and he was. Crac and I had two seats on the left and he and his not so smelly but still guilty by association wife were in the two seats on the right of the plane.
“I’m not going to make it through this flight without barfing. We have to move seats.”
It was a full flight though. So Crac went up to the stewardess and asked if we could pay to switch to business class. (What? Of course Eurolot has business class!) The stewardess said no. So Crac decided to try another tactic without my knowledge. She told the stewardess that I was her “mentally handicapped” sister and if I sat on the wing I would piss myself all the way to Warsaw. The stewardess moved us immediately to two seats in the bulkhead.
That’s what friends are forrrrrrrrrr…
At the front of the plane, we were finally upwind from Smelly Canadian Man and had a pleasant flight. We landed in Warsaw and made our connection to Cracow which was the exact same Eurolot plane. (What? You thing Eurolot has more than one plane?) And what seats did we have? The seats of Smelly Canadian Man and his wife. And yes, they still smelled bad.
Karma is a bitch.
After “Velobar” passed and we were stood there on the sidewalk basking in the glow of stupidity it had left in it’s wake, and American girl and a British man walked by.
The Brit says to the Yankee, “So what is Nebraska like? Is it big? Is it open?”
This causes Cracola to go a little bit insane.
“WHY DON’T YOU JUST ASK HER IF SHE WILL SLEEP WITH YOU?”
I pulled Cracola away from the scene but she wouldn’t let up.
“What kind of question is that? Big? Open? No Nebraska is small, and closed in. And it’s only open from 8:30 to 5 on weekdays.”
She stepped into a telephone box and shut herself in.
“Help! Help! I’m stuck in Nebraska! It is small and closed in! Oh help!”
“Your People Are A Little Bit Polish”
I would argue against that but Crac is right.
After we ate (or, more accurately) attempted to eat at a place in Vilnius that had gnomes for tables, we left a random amount of Lithuanian money on the table for the pleasure of sitting at the table waiting for food that would never come and went back to the hotel for a yummy guacamole sandwich.
Crac was hungry and irritable and was bitching about how slow and useless the Lithuanians were.
“Admit it, admit it. Your people are a little bit Polish. They have some of that Polish in them.”
“Go to hell.”
I was about to say something else to her, something meaner, but off in the distance, down the road I heard a song, that sort of went like “Ohhhh, Ohhhhhh, OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”
And then, before our eyes, appeared the stupidest invention ever, an invention so stupid that it had to be a Polish creation. I’m sort of at a loss to describe it because even now, it doesn’t seem like something so stupid can exist.
It was a mobile bar driven by drunks on bicycles. The drunks lines up facing each other and had pedals attached to their stools. A captain stood in the middle steering the bar. It was called “Velobar”.
And there it was, lumbering up the street, a main street, with vehicle and pedestrian traffic. A street that Crac and I were in middle of with our mouths open, about to be hit by “Velobar”.
The song got louder as the drunks got closer. Crac and I moved to the sidewalk to watch “Velobar” go by.
“You’re right Crac, my people are a little bit Polish.”
Waiting for FaBill
We ate a delicious lunch at a traditional Lithuanian restaurant. They had potato pancakes just like my mom makes at home and, for the first time since I came to Eastern Europe, I cleaned my plate. But, like everywhere in Europe, the service was slow and Crac was getting antsy.
“I wish the bill would come.”
That is what she said. But what I heard was, “I wish Bill would come.”
So I said to her, “You think the waiter’s name is Bill?”
She looked at me crossly.
“No, THE bill.”
But what I heard was, “FABILL.”
So again, I said to her, “You think the waiter’s name is FaBill? What the hell kind of name is that?”
Then she got really mad.
“NO, I WANT THE BILL. THE CHECK. THE TICKET. THE INVOICE. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE WAITER’S NAME IS.”
Then she smacked me.
So, finally and by way of Denmark, we made our way into Vilnius. Early, early Saturday morning we busted up into the Radisson (OF COURSE!) and attempted to check in. I had told my mom to call before Cracola and I got there and confirm our reservation because we would be getting there so late. Phones in Eastern Europe being what they are, I never knew what had happened with that.
But anyways, we got to the Radisson, looking and smelling like hobos and only 12 hours late for our check in. Ignatus, our cold but helpful concierge, looked at us and couldn’t believe we had a reservation at his nice hotel.
Which was funny, because according to his computer we didn’t.
So I had to hop on his computer, print out the Expedia receipt and prove to him that I did pay for the room and that I had a reservation.
Still nothing in the computer. No reservation. No room. No nothing.
He hands me the phone and says call Expedia. 1-800-EXPEDIA.
Surfer Bob answers and says, “Dude, what is up?”
“DUDE IF YOU DO NOT TELL THIS MAN THAT I HAVE A RESERVATION THEN I WILL BE FORCED TO SLEEP ON THE STREETS OF VILNIUS TONIGHT.”
“Whoa man, just give him the reservation number.”
“I ALREADY GAVE HIM THE NUMBER.”
“Well, give it to him again or something.”
“NO, YOU TALK TO HIM BECAUSE I CANNOT TALK TO HIM OR YOU ANYMORE!!!!!”
I gave the phone back to Ignatus and let him sort it out. Surfer Bob promised to fax him the secret Expedia confirmation. In the meantime, Ignatus was preparing a key for us because our stench was attracting flies into his opulent lobby.
“I am sorry girls, there is only one room left in the hotel tonight. It is the penthouse.”
The room was awesome, even by American standards. We had a balcony overlooking the city, robes and slippers and a bar of soaps and shampoos in the bathroom. Mmmm green apple shampoo in the penthouse.
Anyways, we hadn’t been up there 15 minutes before my mother called.
“Oh thank God you are there!”
“Yeah can you believe those assholes lost our reservation? I mean really, mother.”
Cue hilarious laughter from my dear mother.
“They didn’t lose your reservation. The reservation was under Cracola’s name. When I called before, the nice gentleman at the front desk said “Hello, Radisson” and then said it in Lithuanian…”
“What? Why would it be in Cracola’s name????”
“Shut up. Anyways, I said, I…need…someone…who…speaks…English and then he said, exactly the same, I…am…speaking…English.”
“Really mother, they’re Lithuanian, not retarded.”
“Hush. So he couldn’t find the reservation and he looked and looked and then someone else looked who finally asked if it could be under a different name. So we tried Cracola’s and there it was.”
I didn’t even think to have Ignatus try Cracola’s name. Not for one second. It didn’t occur to Cracola to speak up either. But whatever, all’s well that ends well, and Cracola and I were penthouse pets for the weekend.
Apart from fighting about where Bob Hoskins may or may not be from, Cracola and I never fight. Mostly because we get along famously but sort of because I don’t usually go around picking fights with people who can body slam me into next Tuesday.
That is, except when they insult the Lithuanians.
We boarded the flying tin can known as Air Baltic which smelled more like a flying sewer pipe rather than a tin can and took our filthy seats in the plane. The plane was packed.
I leaned over to Cracola.
“Do you think we weigh more than 20.8 metric tons?”
“What? How would I know? What kind of question is that? You look like you weigh a metric ton though,” she said as she held her nose tightly with her thumb and forefinger.
“Listen, these prop planes cannot take off if they weigh even a smidgen over 20.8 metric tons. Looks like there are a lot of fatties and baggage on this one”
“Smidgen, eh? Is that a technical term?”
Regardless of the fatties and their baggage, the plane took off beautifully and we started from Denmark over the Baltic Sea to Lithuania. About half an hour into the flight, the stewardesses came by with a menu of things you could order.
“Too bad we couldn’t buy any currency. I would have liked a Coke or something.”
“Whatever, I’m not buying anything from those people.”
Um, excuse me? Those people? My people? The proud Lithuanian people who beat back the burden of Communism? Oh hell no. Those people are most definitely not those people.
So I did the logical thing and slapped her across the face.
“What the hell is your problem? What did you do that for?”
“Because you’re a racist. And I hate you.”
“What the hell?”
“I heard the way you said those people. Those people are my people, you bitch.”
“Your people are the people who work at Air Baltic? Because that is who I am talking about.”
“Oh, well, uhh, that’s a horse of a different color then. I’m sorry for slapping you and uhh, please don’t punch me,” I whimpered.
Cracola picked up the menu and turned it over. The brilliant logo of Mastercard caught her eye.
“Just to show you how not a racist I am and how much I looooooove Lithuanians, I’m going to order everything on this menu. In fact, I am going to order two of everything on this menu so that you can partake in this exercise against racism.”
And she did. And I was sure she loved the Lithuanians until the next time she insulted them.
Scandinavian Airlines is nice, except that to begin the trip, we flew into a wicked storm which tossed our prop plane so much that we again thought we were going to die.
But we were comforted by the fact that our pilot was the Swedish chef, who at the height of the turbulence, came on and said "Bork, bork, bork!"
Again though, we learned, that it could be worse as a lovely mother and daughter sat behind us and lamented their 2 days stuck in O'Hare waiting to get to Copenhagen. When they finally got a flight, it was through Warsaw.
We are beginning to think that Lithuania does not exist. We have tried to buy currency 3 times at two different airports today and have been roundly mocked at the currency exchange. I mean, it isn't like Lithuania is you know, a neighboring country to Poland or anything.
This morning (God, this morning seems like days ago) we attempted to purchase Lithuanian money in Cracow. We went up to the currency exchange and said, "Lithuania?"
The girl just blinked.
Then I pulled out my "Baltic States" book and showed her on the cover the word Lithuania and a picture. She blinked again, grabbed the book and started reading it leaving Cracola and I standing there with a fistful of zlotys and no book.
"Um, we need that back? Do you have Lithuanian money?"
The girl laughed, said no, passed the book back to us and told us to go away. I still am confused as to what happened there.
Now, in Warsaw, the CAPITAL of Poland which is the country NEXT to Lithuania and we have twice been denied currency. At the first exchange place the girl explained they had Estonian EEKs (yes, eeeeeeeek!) but no Lithuanian money. At the second exchange place the woman broke into hysterical laughter.
"Yeah, real funny," Cracola growled.
So we are penniless. But the upside is that when we go through customs in Lithuania (assuming the country exists and we get there) we will have absolutely nothing to declare.
Heed my words children, when flying LOT the lack of a propeller plane does not mean you will not crash.
Cracola and I were prepared for death today. We said our goodbyes. We held onto each other. We prepared for a crash landing.
Because the plane began to roll, not unlike Maverick in Top Gun. And we knew that was the end.
But it was not the end, just the beginning of our European adventure today.
In the future, LOT should consider handing out rubber pants for its Cracow to Warsaw leg.