Tonight I’ll be meeting some travel community folks via an event with Matador Network and I’m like, super excited. It’s going to be like meeting TRAVEL CELEBRITIES ohemgee. I guess I get overzealous when it comes to stuff like this, but it’s only because the people I have met online have always been somewhere between incredibly awesome and incredibly awkward.
There are classy ways to meet people in person that you’ve met online. And then there are trashy ways of doing it. I almost always fall into the latter category. Presenting to you, a new notch in the “Trashy Travel” series:
Trashy Travel Confessions
I met him in a British chat room the spring before I lived in London. Usually I’d sit online trying to fuck with internet predators in hopes that if they were wasting their time being frustrated with by me, maybe they weren’t chatting inappropriately with underage teens. David seemed fairly normal though. He upfront told me he didn’t want to have cybersex (cool) and that he liked American girls because of their “moxie” (aka the fact that I was screwing with the minds of paedophiles and creepers). We decided to meet up in London when I got there.
Totally safe, right? Totally. No big deal. Yeah, he was from Croydon, yeah, he had a thick cockney accent, yeah, he said he’d run away to Greece one time after “gettin’ into a bit o’ trouble” and yeah, he had a distinctive scar across his nose after some knife fight that he got into in Cuba, but what the hell, I was a savvy traveller. I could take this guy on if he thought a little rape was involved.
We got together a couple of times, actually. He was a pretty stand-up guy – gregarious, sympathetic, generous with the gifts. On our first meeting, be brought me a British cell phone to use so I didn’t have to keep calling him from phone booths. Okay cool, I’ll give it back in the end, I thought. The second meeting, be bought me a steak dinner. I didn’t even need to give him a blow job for it! Our third meeting was the cherry on the cake though – he bought me a Prada bag.
Hot damn, I found myself a British Sugar Daddy.
I embraced David because he was so sincere about everything he did. I frequently told him to stop buying me shit because I wasn’t going to sleep with him in return for it, but he really didn’t seem to mind.
“I just want yew ta go back ta the states and tell all your mates how much fun yew ‘ad with a cool Bri’ish bloke,” he told me.
Okay cool, so I just got to London and I have this British guy who is crazy about me and maybe we’ll get married and have British babies and I’ll get dual citizenship, hooray! Amazing life at the age of 19!
Our fourth date was supposed to be dinner at the acclaimed Oxo Tower. For that, I’d consent to having sex in the bathroom at least. That place is faaaanCY. I never really knew what David did for a living though – he was pretty evasive on the topic of employment, but he said that his Grandfather owned property all across London and that he didn’t really work because his Grandfather just gave him money from that. Doesn’t explain why he was living in craphole Croydon but I figured he just liked being modest.
“Oh man, a real-life About A Boy situation!” I squealed inside. That is one of my favorite films. I’d met my Hugh Grant, the Ibiza bachelor who didn’t need to work and lived off a family member’s royalties.
Except that when we were supposed to dine at the Oxo Tower, he never showed up.
“That motherfucker stood me up!” I complained to my friends. I’d never been stood up before. This really pissed me off, too. You stand people up at the movies, or at a crappy diner, not in front of the friggin’ Oxo Tower.
I get a call the next day.
“Sorry love, I ran into a bit o’ trouble lawst night,” his voice is rushed, like he’s running. “Three men in blue suits came to me ‘ouse and banged on me door and I didn’t know ‘ho they were and I had to jump out of a second-story window and now I’m at me mum’s. I’ll call you later-”
He hangs up.
“Okay…” this is getting fishy. He calls me later and tries to explain again what’s going on, but all I can hear is,
“STOP THE CAR! STOP THE FUCKING CAR! YOU MOTHERFUCKING…I’LL MURDER YOU!-”
He wasn’t yelling at me. He was yelling at someone else, someone chasing him, or someone that hit his car – I have no idea, but that’s when I ended our sordid affair. The men in blue suits were obviously cops, he was obviously on the run from something, and the reason he had enough money to buy me a Prada purse while unemployed was that he was obviously a drug dealer.
I tried to return the goodies to him, but he refused my offer. What was I supposed to do? So what, this Prada bag was bought in cocaine and heroin baggies? Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?
My theories were confirmed years later when, with increased use of Facebook, I decided to Google him. Low and behold, he had a Facebook account!
And he was updating his statues from jail.
Well, it could have been a lot worse. I could have gotten wrapped up in all his drug-dealery, I could have been molested, I could have been shot in the face. But I’m not going to lie, hanging out with David was a ton of fun and I got a European cell phone, a Prada bag, and some yummy dinners out of it. Meeting people from sketchy internet chat rooms is totally trashy, but at least it makes for a good story.
In London, the pubs close at 11pm. I suppose that’s a decent time for everyone to go home, relax and get ready for the next day, but when you’re an underage study abroad student FUCK NO, IT’S TOO EARLY TO STOP DRINKING! So what does one do when the bell is rung and the barman yells out “last call”?
Head to Jubilee Gardens, of course.
Back when I was drinking there, it was called “Millennium Park.” I think they’ve since renamed it because of all the trashy things my mates and I used to do there – the new website touts it as “a new green landmark for London.” Yeah. Okay. There is nothing green about London except for maybe mushy peas. Anyway, it was dubbed Millennium Park because it is the space is situated below the world-reknowned London Eye, built to commemorate the new Millennium. You know – that big-ass ferris wheel with cool space-pod-looking things which help tourists see London’s landscape in exchange for raping their wallets.
Jubilee Gardens is close to King’s College, where I studied. It’s the perfect place to loiter about with a couple of beer cans, maybe some boxed wine, or a plastic 2 Liter bottle of Strongbow Cider, and get drunk off your ass for cheap. No cops will bother you here, in fact, they are pretty nonexistent. And everyone keeps to themselves really, which is nice, because I don’t like being mugged.
There are three types of people who hang out at Jubilee Gardens: 1) drug addicts who just want to shoot up, 2) horny couples who apparently don’t own an flat where they can have sex, and 3) my drunken asshole friends. We used to play a very naughty game; the third group would try and sit “uncomfortably close” to the other two groups, inching over every so often until we were almost on top of a heroin needle or engaging in group sex. We just wanted to see how close those other two groups of people would let us get before moving away in pursuit of their “hobbies.”
You don’t have to visit Jubilee Gardens at night to get sloppy though. Just go during the daytime, when families bring their children to the park to play games, or old people come to sit in the sun. Since there are no “open container” laws in London, feel free to pop a wine cork into the air and chug as much vino as your heart desires. No one will stop you otherwise, and when you get too drunk to go home, just take a nap in the park.
All the homeless people do it.
- Trash-Meter: 1 out of 10 during the day because hey, it’s a public park, but 10 out of 10 at night, especially in the summer (10 being pretty fucking trashy).
- Alcohol Intake: Casual. I mean it’s easy to get really drunk when you bring your own stuff, but once that runs out, you’re screwed.
- Chance of getting laid: Quite good, actually. You don’t even have to be a prostitute to do so, just be really horny and find a friend.
- Final verdict: I say “HERE HERE!” to any place that will let me get smashed outside in nature. The ambiance of the London Eye just adds to the awesomeness of your intoxicated and/or oversexed state at Jubilee Gardens.
Between Belvedere Road and Westminster Bridge Road, London
Neighborhoods: South Bank, near Waterloo Station
New York City
Sure, I live here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t act like a fucking tourist in my own town. I rang in 2012 in style at a friend’s apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, one of the sketchiest areas populated by hipsters east of Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. There were also multiple sessions of karaoke in Koreatown, pole dance classes in Harlem, and general bar crawling throughout Manhattan – you know, things 20somethings do to feel like they are young again but fuck man, we’re getting old. The convenience of living in NYC is that even when I don’t get a chance to travel, I can still feel like I’m a part of the world.
My boyfriend and I wanted to take a vacation somewhere and try out an all-inclusive resort. I scored a sick-ass deal through TravelZoo for a rooftop penthouse with a private plunge pool at the Marival Residencies. It’s the most expensive vacation I’ve ever taken but it was totally worth it. Skinny-dipping at night, imbibing in top-shelf liquor at breakfast, sunning at the private VIP beach club and having a fridge fully stocked with Corona’s at all times – Puerto Vallarta is the place to go when you want to feel classy but also want to get wasted in the best of ways.
Why the fuck did it take me four years to return to the city I went to college in? Aside from being the ultimate Southern college party town, Charleston is friggin’ gorgeous and everyone should go there because it’s sweet as fuck. I had my fair share of party throw-downs while there but not too many bar experiences, since I graduated early and never had a fake ID (what was I THINKING?!?!). So I went wild this time around, with the two friends of mine who have yet to move to Brooklyn. It was so awesome to show my driver’s license, being served a drink and not be escorted out of the bar for assuming someone else’s identity.
Icelanders don’t typically drink during the week because alcohol here is expensive has hellllllll. It’s so expensive that, as a cute, young female, you can’t even rely on the kindness of a creepy gentleman to buy you drinks – it’s not really the custom there. Luckily, the Duty Free store at the airport was able to provide us with some nice pregame bottles of booze at heavily discounted prices (even cheaper than in the USA). We were able to experience the weekend rúntur, the one day when everyone goes out and gets shitfaced about town. Mostly underage 15-year olds with fake IDs but hey, partying has no age barrier.
It’s been a good year to get trashy, and 2013 is just around the corner. Here’s to the times when travel gets a little “kinky.” Rock on, folks!
Every year my friends and I participate in something called the “Santa Sushi Sake Spectacular” (SSSS). For the past five years, about 20-30 people show up at this one, lonely sushi restaurant in Rockville Centre, NY with one goal in mind – to get waaaaaasssssttteeeeddd.
The first year of this tradition happened innocently enough. A group of our friends decided to celebrate the holidays with some sushi, sake, gift exchanging and laughs. It turned out to be a four hour shit-show where everyone blacked out and forgot the entire night. Somehow however, they knew they had a good time. I’m guessing this is because someone wasn’t as blacked out as the rest and lived to tell the tale.
So now we go back with the same goal in mind. Eat sushi, drink sake, rehash old times and get all warm and fuzzy inside before Christmas day. We invite like, a million people but you never really know who’s going to show up – and that’s half of the fun. Kids I haven’t seen since middle school, guys I’ve had one-night stands with who are now corporate bankers (damn, missed the boat on that one), drunken douchebags and girls who think they are better than everyone else, but fuck that shit we’re all lushes at the SSSS.
The shenanigans occur at Harusaki, a sleepy sushi joint 364 days out of the year but when we show up for the SSSS, the place gets ROCKIN. They usually can’t accommodate everyone at the same time but most people stop by in waves, to say “What’s up, I haven’t called you in seven years but hey, Merry Christmas” take a shot and leave. The sushi is damn good and they have a great sake variety but mostly we go there for sentimental reasons. Like that one time Joe puked for an hour in the bathroom and came right back to drink some more.
- Trash-Meter: 5 out of 10 normally, but on SSSS it’s a full blown 10 (10 being pretty fucking trashy).
- Alcohol Intake: Overly excessive. The sake keeps coming even if you don’t ask for it. Hot sake is the best.
- Chance of getting laid: If you’re not spewing vomit by the time you’re done, SSSS is known for post-sushi hook-ups in the parking lot.
- Final verdict: What’s more Christmas-like than gorging yourself on Japanese cuisine? Join us on December 22 if you dare (and especially if the world doesn’t end because this night will most likely be the end of the world as we know it).
282 Merrick Road, Rockville Centre NY 11570
Neighborhoods: Suburban Long Island. Short walk from the Rockville Centre train station.
Happy holidays everyone! If you’re like me, you’ve left your holiday shopping until the last minute. For the rest of this week, I’ll showcase my top gift picks for travelers of all types. Happy shopping!
-Moleskine Passions Travel Journal: Make sure you record all of your precious shenanigans in this nifty travel journal, customized for your own trip. There’s even fun stickers so you can categorize your trashy travels! Write down the best places to get drunk, your favorite drug den, the best Frenchman you ever slept with…the possibilities are endless.
-Rum Runners: Cruise-goers swear by these compact flasks to sneak on alcohol to ships with outrageous bar prices. Apparently, they are undetectable by the X-ray scanners but they can even be used to sneak in alcohol to concerts, clubs…basically anywhere you don’t want to pay for alcohol but still want to get smashed. They roll up small when you’ve finished your drink and can be stuffed into a pocket, or refilled so the fun can continue.
-F1 Flyin’ Drunk Tag: This is self-explanatory. If you aren’t flying drunk, you’re not REALLY flying at all.
-TWELVEWAYS Multifunctional Dress: I love this product even when I’m sober, but let’s face it ladies – wearing the same outfit on your walk of shame home from that crazy one-night-stand is uncomfortable and seedy. With a Twelveways dress however, you can make the same material look and feel totally different. You’ve transformed from a Euro-slut to a stylish and travel-savvy gal who’s impressive wardrobe warrants another romp in the hay, complete with a new outfit the next time.
-Tieks foldable ballet flats: A night of disco dancing and bar hopping in stiletto heels takes a toll on the trashy traveler’s tootsies. Behold, the stylish and compact Tieks ballet flat system, which are super comfortable and come in a plethora of colors and styles to make any inebriated adventure a customizable one.
-Condoms: Duh! Play it safe, especially while abroad, and always stash a couple of rubbers in your bag or pocket, “just in case.” New York City has an awesome campaign where at select venues you can get condoms for free, advocating for safe sex in the city.