Archive for November, 2010

Next Instalment Delboy does de World Part 11

November 22, 2010

Hello again my fans.  It’s me again.  The story continues.

I woke at around 10.30 a bit worse for wear.  This travelling can knock you for six.  I got out of the Queen Size bed and did the usual SSS.  Now that’s out of the way, we can continue our saga.  In the exorbitant price of $225 per night for this hotel that resembles a flea bitten prison block, I paid $20 for breakfast.  I walked along the corridor and found the room that breakfast was being served in.  Breakfast consisted of bagels, jam and muffins.  There were two coffee machines that served up some sort of hot stuff they apparently called coffee.  ‘$20 for this’ I thought.  They’re definitely having a laugh!!!   I would have been better off going next door to have the $4.99 special. I took the elevator (lift) down to the lobby (reception) and walked through a sea of bodies.  I’m beginning to think that this hotel doubles up for one of the platforms at Penn Station.  Out side was just as busy.  I’m going back to my room for a bit I thought to myself.  Getting back to the elevators (lifts) proved to be quite a challenge.  I had to show my key card twice the hotel security before I reached the elevators (lifts) where I was confronted by the biggest black man I have ever seen.  He must have weighed 200 kilos.  His jacket looked ridicules on him.  The sleeves ended half way up his arms and the front of the jacket was open because it couldn’t do up, revelling an enormous belly that any English dart player would be proud of.  His trousers could have easily been used as a parachute if he ever fell out of an aeroplane provided of course that the plane could take off first.  ‘Key card’ he demanded in a squeaky high pitched voice.  How is it that great big men have such high pitched feminine voices?    I showed him the card and he nodded.  I smiled and nodded back to him. ‘It looks like the diet is going extremely well?’ I said.  I got the feeling that the sum total of his vocabulary amounted to ‘key Card’ as he just looked straight through me.    Back in my room I decided to check out of this palace.  I phoned down to the lobby (reception) and asked for them to send up a Christian to collect my luggage.  The young lady on the other end of the phone told me that Christian was not on duty but Earnest would be there in about 20 minutes.  I am now convinced that you have to be very lucky if you find someone in the United States who actually listens to you when you speak to them.  As I had nothing to do but wait for Earnest to turn up, I settled myself in an old but comfortable arm chair and turned the TV on.  After 15 minutes of being glued to the box I had a revelation.  American television doesn’t show programmes anymore.  They show adverts interspersed with programmes.  These programmes last for three minutes followed by seven minutes of adverts.  Earnest turned up after 30 minutes worth of adverts and we both went down in the elevator (lift) past fatso, who’s voice now sounded like it could break glass.  At the lobby (reception) the line (queue) to check in and out looked like an invading army.  ‘I don’t do lines (queues).’ I told Earnest handing him a five dollar bill.  Next thing I knew I was at the check out desk.  Amazing what a few dollars can do!!  I paid the $225 plus tax, mustn’t forget the tax must we?  ‘I’m meeting a ship here at the port at around 3 this afternoon’ I told Ricardo the Hispanic desk clerk.  ‘I need to store my bags for about three hours.’  ‘No problem sir. That will be $4 per bag’ he said quite nonchalantly.  ‘You’re kidding?’  ‘You’re going to charge me $12 to store my baggage for a couple of hours’ I asked in jaw dropping amazement.   ‘Yes sir, we do’ was his casual reply.  ‘Sir’ I said politely. ‘I’ve been all over the world, and this is the first time ever that a hotel has asked me for money to store bags.’  ‘That’s our policy sir.’  I handed him the $12 and received three tickets. Before leaving I asked the him if it would be appropriate to make a recommendation. ‘Of course you may sir.’ He said with a smile. ‘We always welcome all our guest’s comments.’  ‘Well’ I said ‘Not only have you missed a trick by not charging for bed the bugs, I strongly suggest that you change the name of your hotel from the Hotel Pennsylvania to the Hotel Transylvania because you’re all a load of blood suckers!!’ I turned and walked out before I got arrested.  I hope that they don’t take exception to my constructive suggestion by setting fire to my luggage.                                

Outside I was still seething.  I needed to calm down. I walked a couple of blocks and noticed a sign above Bennies Deli announcing ‘chicken soup that your mother made.’  That’s just what I need.  A plate of good old fashioned Jewish penicillin.  I still had a couple of hours to kill before I could board the ship that would take me down to Rio.  Macys was only two blocks away so I checked out the store.  All it did was reinforced my hatred for shopping.   I took a slow walk back to pick up my $12 baggage.  After a 15 minute wait they turned up and thankfully Ricardo & Co didn’t destroy it.  Outside I found a tiddlywink cab driver who said he was from Ding Dong Ping Pong somewhere in South East China took me to the port where my baggage was immediately taken by the Silver Sea staff.  Well I thought. This all looks promising.  I handed my boarding papers to the desk and had my photo taken and told to follow the signs to board.  A few steps along and I got a glimpse of ‘The Silver Whisper’ my new home for the next 26 days. 

Well that’s enough for you to get on with.  I’ll fill you in on the next part what life is like on a luxury cruise liner.  Keep an eye out for the next thrilling instalment of ‘Delboy does de World.’  



Delboy does de World Part 11

November 19, 2010

Chapter 1.  The Schlep Begins 

Just when you thought it was safe to open up your computer the virus called Delboy of W1 appears to bite your bum!!!  Yes my avid and loyal fans, it’s me again, off off and away oi vay, and this time I’ve got six months of travel to bore you with.  At this point you have a choice; either delete my name from your files or read on and get to know a few places on the planet that you don’t know.  This time you’re fearless and intrepid traveller is going by boat, planes, trains, buses and cabs.  Yes folks, it’s the big one again but as the Chinese say ‘A journey of a thousand miles will start with one step’.  Well it only took 38 steps down the stairs of my flats to fall arse over tit carrying my luggage.  Good start, I thought to myself.  I managed to get out onto the street without killing myself which gave me hope that I might even make it to Heathrow.

Being the mean git that I am I took the underground to the airport using the old bastards pass the Mayor gave me.  An hour later I struggled into terminal five; I threw my bags onto a trolley and presented myself to the BA desk.  So far so good, something must go wrong soon I pondered.  I didn’t have to wait long either.  ‘You’re only allowed to check in one bag sir’.  Said the BA clerk with a smile.  ‘I’m sorry’ I replied. ‘I thought I booked with British Airways and not Ryan Air’.  ‘The excess baggage charge will be £40’ he said.  ‘Don’t have much of a choice really do I?’  I said.  ‘No sir, not if you want to fly with your entire luggage’.  ‘Window or isle seat sir?’ he enquired.  ‘I’d like a seat near the black box’ I said.  ‘They always find the black box’!  That sort of went right over his head because he simply told me to go to another desk to pay and they will issue the boarding pass.

No point in getting pissed about the excess baggage.  I’ve had to pack for time on the ships and time off for good behaviour.  As I was quite early I thought I’ll go to the Priority Lounge away from the plebs.  I went to the BA Executive lounge and asked where I might find the lounge that accepted my card. ‘Nowhere in terminal five’ said the pretty lady behind the desk. ‘It’s only for British Airways card holders’.  At this point I proudly presented my British Airways Executive card and gave it to her.  ‘This is a blue card sir’ she said.  ‘Yes’ I replied.  ‘The clue is in the colour’.  ‘To get into this lounge you have to have silver or gold card, or if you have booked business class you can enter’.  Was her feeble explanation.  ‘I’m travelling cattle class’ I told her. ‘To bad’ she said, and turned to greet the next customer.  This is getting better by the minute I thought and made my way to the gate.  Sitting with the poor people can’t be that bad I thought?  I’ve had to do it practically all my life and why change the habits of a lifetime?

BA115 took off on time heading west for JFK New York.  Two films, two meals and a nap latter the trolley dolly announced we were about to land.  I looked out of the window and the whole of New York was ablaze with lights twinkling all over the city.  It’s quite a sight to behold.  We landed safely and after 20 minutes of driving the plane into our parking bay we all exited  with the usual ‘Thank you for flying BA, good night and god bless, keep well, have a nice day.’  The walk to the customs hall felt like a 25 mile hike.  I waited in line until called to go forward.  I suddenly had a bad feeling.  What if they think I’m Osama bin Stratton?  My holiday could be a very short one.  I wonder if it’s worth claiming asylum from Cameron & Co.  The immigration officer was a woman; her badge said her name was Maria Sanchez.  I presented my passport to her, she studied it for a few moments and asked me to look into the camera and asked to take my finger prints.  ‘How long will you be in the United States ?’ She asked.  ‘About 18 hours’ I replied.  ‘In transit’ she enquired.  ‘Sort of’ I said ’I’m meeting a cruise ship’  ‘Wow’ says she. ‘You much be a rich man.’  I looked at her squarely in the face and said.  ‘I have been extremely lucky in my life Maria.  I was very fortunate enough to have married a fabulously wealthy woman.  Well she must have been wealthy the way she used to spend my money along with everyone else’s’.  Maria gave a shriek of laughter and said ‘Mr Stratton, that’s the best one I’ve heard this year.  You’re a very funny man’.  I looked at her over the top of my specs and said.  ‘Maria, if you think that’s funny, you really need to get out more’.  ‘I must tell you something immigration officer Sanchez.’ I said.  ‘I’ve been to several countries around the world over the years and this one is defiantly a first for me’  ‘What is?’ she enquired.  ‘It’s the first time in my life that I’ve come across an immigration officer with a sense of humour’.  This time she gave the biggest of smiles and said ‘You have a great time in the United States and a great cruise sir’.  Next was customs.  A miserable bastard looked at me, then my bags and back to me and waved me through without saying a word.  I made it I thought to myself.  I’m here!!  I collected my suit case and the forty quid bag, and loaded them onto a $5 trolley.

The next hurdle is how to get to the Hotel Pennsylvania in down town Manhattan .  I walked out of the terminal building thinking cab, train or bus.  All that dissolved when facing me was a large bill board in English, Spanish and Arabic announcing the all singing and dancing shuttle to Manhattan for $15.  This is getting better I thought.  ‘I’m going to the hotel Pennsylvania ‘I told the young man dishing out the tickets.  ‘No problem Sir.  We go all the way to Penn Station and the driver will drop you outside your hotel’.  I boarded the bus and after waiting to fill up the people carrier off we went.  The drive into Manhattan took about 40 minutes and we all had to get out at Grand Central Station.  The driver told us to walk up to the next block and another van would take us the rest of the way.  20 minutes later we all loaded into van number two and the driver dropped me outside my hotel.  From the outside it looks immense.  The street is filled with thousands of people milling around.  It’s Penn Train Station I thought to myself.  No wonder it’s busy.  Well if it was busy outside that was nothing compared to the inside of the hotel?  The queue to check in seemed to disappear round the corner by the restaurant.  You needed a pair of binoculars to see the end of it.  Eventually I check in and was given a room on the 17th floor.  Breakfast I am told is on my floor in room 1710.  On closer inspection I can see that this hotel is the same as it was when the Germans started shooting in then First World War.  It looked like I was in a black and white movie.  The walls were grey and the carpet was as old as me.  Anyway the key opened my door and an enormous bed greeted me.  Hello Delboy it said.  I dropped the bags and fell into the bed undressing while lying down.  With the time difference it was now five in the morning and I was completely knackered.  I could have used the word xxxxxx to describe how I felt but it could be construed as vulgar and inappropriate.So enddeth the first day!!

Stay tuned or not so tuned for the next thrilling instalment of Delboy does de World.          

(Copyright D. Stratton – If you would like to Email Derek on his travels please send your request and email details and message and it will be passed onto Derek on his world tour)