Finding Nemo

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top 10 Best (and Horribly Bad) Ways to Travel

Luxury Train: nothing beats falling asleep in a cloud of fluffy clickety-clack white noise
The following is my ranking of preferred modes of travel, from delight to outright terror, based upon personal experience:
1)      Deluxe sleeper train. I love you. Take me back. I won't leave you again this time. I promise. Why are you leaving the station, baby?  ... wait !!

Etihad: where skin-deep beauty still matters
 2)      First class flight on Middle Eastern oil-rich vanity airline (yes, I mean Emirates. Oh my god. I love Emirates. Etihad, close 2nd place. But you're no Emirates.)

3)      Crappy overflowing train where the toilets are holes in the floor and the only place to sit in between cars with legs dangling over the side. (Any train is a good train in my book.)

Still better than a camel
4)      Commercial flight in 3rd world country where the airplane is 60 years old and the wings nearly flap and flop all the way to the tarmac during takeoff and landing. (Looking at you, 1-2-Go in Indonesia. What, you can’t even count to 3? No wonder your planes are death-traps.)

Meh. Still better than murderous camel.
5)      Back of moped in Asian country where traffic signs and lights exist only for comedic purposes

6)      Tuk-tuk, squeezed between highly explosive gas canisters.

Actual picture I took riding in legendary bangkok traffic on explosives-filled Tuk-Tuk
7)      Atop a sexually aroused elephant

Northern Thailand atop the 5-legged elephant. The 5th leg was not what you really want to see in decent company
8) Aboard a spooked horse that is about to run off a cliff. This happened to me several times in Mongolia. But... it's still better than ...

9) Clinging onto a smelly murderous camel in the middle of the desert
Camels are just really weird. Really, really odd. Like, stranger than your weird uncle.

And finally, my all-time least favorite way to travel ...

10) Buses: the unholy spawn of the Devil.

I took this pic 20 hours into a very traumatizing bus ride in Mongolia. I still have nightmares
I have gone on and on and on about the horrors of bus travel. So it was
depressing to find out that the only reliable route from St Pete to Riga was via coach. But little did I know that the route was serviced but what I am pretty sure is the greatest bus line in the whole world. The Lux Express, servicing the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).

I can't believe it's a bus
Yes, it has plush bucket seats with leg-room. Yes it has plenty of room below and above for luggage. Yes, it has an onboard toilet, that is clean. With good soft toilet paper. Clean towels. And soap. And an attendant who shines your shoes. OK, that last part isn't true.
But here are the kickers... every seat has a video movie gaming console! And, the grand finale: a working self-service espresso / cappuccino machine on-board!!!
It was the greatest bus experience of my life. For once, I was ensconced in luxury, drinking fresh espresso, able to lean back, watch movies, and not once worry about my bladder.
I will miss the Lux Express. Truly the only great bus experience I have ever had.
Elon Musk, looking at you buddy. Can you bring awesome buses to America? Please. For the love of God. Please .........