Posts from the ‘Funny signs’ Category
On a visit to Cancun Blonde and Brunette were luxuriating for a free week at the Westin, courtesy of our Starwood Amex points. We had both been to Cancun previously and wanted to see some places we hadn’t seen before and revisit some favorites. Buses are cheap and easy for getting around in Cancun but to do any exploring away from the resort area, it’s necessary to rent a car. We arranged with the hotel to have one delivered to us.
The Westin has a gate that must be raised by an attendant in order for cars to enter or exit. This will deter even the most sophisticated drug cartels or terrorists so there’s no arguing with the soundness of the approach.
Upon delivery of the car Blonde agreed to be the first to drive. As is generally the case with rentals outside of the U.S., the car had a stick shift. Both B&B learned to drive on stick shifts so, theoretically, are able to do so even these many years later. Theoretically Congress works for their constituents, Mitt Romney didn’t actually want to be president at all and Donald Trump’s hair is a natural growth. And theoretically Brunette remembered how to drive a stick.
The driving duo exited semi-smoothly as Blonde is the man when it comes to driving and could get underway with minimal hopping or stalling. After a trip to Akumal Blonde announced that it was Brunette’s turn to drive back to the Westin. After massive giggling, car hopping, jumping and leaping we got to the highway and Brunette found her mojo. No stops, no hills, no traffic, no problem.
As the Westin is at the far southern end of the hotels it is the first one you encounter when returning from Akumal. Brunette has many useful skills but navigation is not among them. As the hotel suddenly appeared Blonde called out “turn right, this is our entrance”! Brunette twisted the wheel but couldn’t make the turn and and also downshift so we jumped into the driveway like cartoon characters. The gate attendant’s pupils dilated to the size of hubcaps and he pushed the button to make the gate fly up – no questions asked.
We had the exhilaration that comes from cheating death and were, of course, giggling as we tried to feign being cool by promptly driving into a lot reserved for the property’s vehicles. Brunette then had to find reverse and hop, skip and jump our way out of the lot as amused workers looked on. Somehow we managed to land in front of the fascinated, brave valet at the door. He was all too happy to take the keys away from us.
Not a pair to learn much from our mistakes, each day Blonde drove out and Brunette drove back. And each day the driveway to the Westin jumped out at Brunette without warning. She always panicked, jerked the wheel and flung the car in the general direction of the hotel. The gate was thrown into the air without the attendant caring if we were bringing in a shipment of Uzis, homicidal gorillas or Charlie Sheen.
Try this, it may save you some time waiting for those pesky gates to open. It certainly did for us.
(It was a shame that the gate attendant developed PTSD but that surely was a coincidence and his lawsuit will be dismissed – we hope.)
Sophisticated world travelers, such as B&B, understand that toilets in other countries may not meet Generally Accepted American Snob Standards (GAASS, hmmm.. sounds suspiciously similar to something that can make a lot of noise in a toilet.) If you are one of the ten or so people who watched Saturday Night Live circa 2007 you may recall Nuni and Noony, characters portrayed by Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. Nuni and Noony were art dealers who lived in a very futuristic home and, although supposedly very sophisticated, could not accomplish any ordinary simple tasks or pronounce anything correctly. B&B were Nuni and Noony when it came to using restrooms in Tuscany.
If the rest room locked we either couldn’t figure out how to lock it or how to unlock it. All across Tuscany people could hear one giggling woman in a ladies room making extensive fiddling with the lock and doorknob noises while another woman sat giggling helplessly at each jiggling sound. The first to successfully use the facilities tried to explain to her sister, Nuni or Noony, how to enter and exit but the information rarely translated to better results.
Locks (or the frequent lack thereof) were not even the most difficult aspect of toilet usage. Some toilets flushed with a handle, some by pulling a chain and, most horrifying, the “Ottoman” toilet that didn’t involve flushing at all (see non-graphic photos). Many toilets in Tuscany included a hose attached to the wall. WTF? Are you supposed to take a shower afterwards? Wash your bum? What did you do that toilet paper couldn’t eradicate?
Virtually all restrooms had a string you could pull to summon help. Help for what that you would welcome the intervention of a waiter called away from his two-hour smoke break? ”Mi scusi, è il mio asino pulito? ” (“Excuse me, is my bum clean”?) Would you even trust the waiter’s answer? What if he blew smoke up your ass? (See smoke break comment.)
It’s only fair to say that, on more than one occasion, Blonde pulled the alarm string. She always hurriedly exited the restroom intending to tell the staff that there wasn’t a problem or need for intervention only to find that absolutely no one had noticed or responded. In other words, she kept forgetting it was Italy.
A consistent issue was the need to milk the soap dispenser. If you’re accustomed to a dispenser where you push a button and soap emerges, then you’re very spoiled. In Tuscany most often there was a plastic soap teat descending from some dilapidated holder. If you wanted soap you had to simulate milking a goat. (We decided it was a goat as surely a cow would have more teaticity and would squirt milk. It’s well-known that goats squirt hand soap.)
Assuming that the soap could be milked, the next issue was drying your hands. For the most part this meant using your clothing. The next most prevalent option was a filthy towel hanging on the wall. This towel had not been laundered since the last time Italy led the world in worker productivity. Occasionally there would be a hand blower that would discreetly, and ineffectually, weakly whisper on your dripping hand.
Adding to this list of potential issues was figuring out how (or if) the toilet could be flushed or the water encouraged to flow into the sink. Options ranged from pushing a handle, pulling a chain, stepping on a pedal and/or praying. Nuni and Noony, in our consistently perplexed states, chose to believe that we could prevent, or at least seriously delay, Alzheimer’s by building new neural pathways every time we had to pee and wash our hands.
Ultimately B&B came up with a rating system for the restrooms of Tuscany. Although it’s our intellectual property we generously authorize you to use it:
- 4 stars is if the restroom has soap dispensers that do not require handling their teats, toilets that flush successfully on the first try , a door that locks and can be unlocked without the services of a locksmith or alerting non-existent medical authorities and a clean towel or enthusiastic hand blower to dry your hands.
- 3 star restrooms have only three of the above-mentioned components and we’ll let you guess about two, one and no star facilities.
Our best advice before you travel to Tuscany is to learn to milk a goat’s teat, remember to do a trial flush before you need it for serious purposes, carry handwipe thingies and take a no-nonsense door stopper with you. Alternatively, don’t have any liquids or roughage for the duration of your trip to Tuscany.
B&B saw this saucy, tempting party bus for rent along the main drag in Willemstad, Curacao. At first we imagined that the poles themselves danced or that people of Polish descent were the dancers, but then we finally got it. The sign; not the bus.
Wonder if that air conditioning unit affects the gas mileage? How can we get invited to a party in this bus? Is there enough sanitizing gel on earth to even consider such a possibility? Many things to ponder.
Note new maturity level on this blog: Naughty comments re “main drag” and “coming” attractions were not made. They will be later – just too dopey to produce them at the moment so decided to blame it on maturity.
Blonde just made a run to Whole Foods and was quite shocked to see this product on their shelves. She saw it and her brain read “Panty Pest Traps”. Wow – great idea but don’t you usually wants pests out of your panties, not trapped in them? (Although it’s happened more than once.) Then she saw that it was about keeping moths out of your panties and thought it was being marketed specifically to her and was insulting, although disturbingly insightful.
Oh wait, it says “pantry”, not “panty”.
One day B&B stopped in Lucca for lunch, found a lovely restaurant with an outdoor patio, sat down and were given this menu. We, particularly Blonde, started to laugh until we were crying when we read the menu. Remember: The waiter was not amused. He was even less amused to have the menu be photographed . Can’t please everyone!
Remember: This is not an etiquette or maturity blog.
When B&B went to Western Cape National Park in South Africa we saw this sign, sans baboon. Seconds later a man, loosely holding a sandwich bag, came out of the cafe. The baboon swooped in, stole the sandwich and then went to eat it under the sign. Now that’s an interactive advertising display!