Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Luftanza Airlines: How Beverley Hills Chihuahua Wrecked Both My Cognitive And Immune Systems

Wow. What an amazing title for a blog, right?

So full of intrigue - so cloaked in mystery - and with just the right amount of "What in the world is Dan talking about?" to hold your interest.

Here we go again with the backstory:

2 months ago when I left for Europe at the beginning of my outreach, we were scheduled to depart for Madrid, with a transfer both from Los Angeles, and Munich to said destination. Needless to say, it meant a whole lotta flying.

Despite not having any food in my stomach, I felt rather nauseous upon arriving at the airport, which, I've realized, seems to preclude most of my flights. I always get a bit nervous when it comes to flying, and with the idea that I would be flying for nearly an entire day made me want to crawl into a ball and wrench my eyes closed. I did exactly that, but it was when I was actually on the plane. (So it sort of defeated the purpose, I guess.)

Now it must be noted that I had absolutely nothing in my stomach at this time, because I figured that if I was going to throw up, then having SOMETHING to throw up wouldn't be the best idea. I guess I was trying to use logistical psychology on myself in thinking that if I didn't eat, I wouldn't throw up.

(Logistical psychology isn't even a word, by the way. I just thought it sounded cool.)

So there I was - sitting at 36,000 feet and staring at the back of my seat in a sort of haze - a mixture of airsickness and recycled-air overdose. I was scrolling through the movie selections, and I made a horrific discovery.

(Oh, and as a side note - Luftanza is a German airline, which travels internationally. As with most international flights, the back of the seat in front of you has a television screen on it, where you can watch tv shows, movies, and clips of various other programs. Just so you know)

...now where was I? Oh yeah. The horrific discovery. Not sure how that could have slipped my mind.

I came to the horrific realization that my horrific discovery was even more horrific than I originally horrifically thought it to be.


I had seen every single one of the movies on selection, except one.


The name strikes fear into my heart even now.

For you at home - let me find an overview of the story via my good old buddy IMDB.com:

"A pampered Beverly Hills chihuahua named Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) who, while on vacation in Mexico with her owner Viv's (Jamie Lee Curtis) niece, Rachel (Piper Perabo), gets lost and must rely on her friends to help her get back home before she is caught by a dognapper who wants to ransom her. In the meantime, Papi (voiced by George Lopez), a male chihuahua who is in love with her is in pursuit of her. Papi's master (Manolo Cardona), a handsome young gardener for Viv, slowly develops a romantic interest in Rachel. Chloe befriends a lonely German Shepherd (voiced by Andy Garcia) who travels with her to protect her from the evil Doberman (voiced by Edward James Olmos) who wants to return her and her diamond collar to the dognapper."

Dude. Seriously.

Madness must have compelled me, because I picked that, and settled-in (or 'settled-in' as much as I could in a cramped airplane) to watch the movie - if only to kill 2 hours off of my 11+ hour flight.

(As the movie began, I also took a Sudafed, a vitamin-C tablet, and a nasal decongestant, because I was suffering through a very bad cold and the recycled air was probably impairing my judgment. But I assure you that what happened next was by no means a chemical reaction, but something entirely more sinister.)

I began to watch.

(Ill try my best to give a point-by-point retelling of this.)

Chloe is a little white dog that has booties on that prances around a super-rich person's palace-like home while Drew Barrymore acts as the voice of the little white dog.

A typical scene: Chloe and several other dogs that are all dressed up and super-pampered looking are sitting on lounge chairs (one little dog to each huge chair, naturally) wearing little tiny doggy sunglasses and completely ignoring the tiny little umbrella drinks next to then that the props department spent such a long time making.

Poor prop guys.

Anyway, the dirty and rascally dog that pines after Chloe shows up and dives into the pool, upsetting the other dog's delicate routine of sitting in one spot for a long time. After much exasperation on the part of the pampered-lot, they storm off in a huff leaving poor lovable rascally dog alone in the pool.


Now Chloe gets lost and rascally-dog runs off to save her while Paris-Hilton-lookalike-lady and scruffy-yet-handsome-owner-of-the-rascally-dog also run off to find Chloe and they somehow get to Mexico and then Chloe meets some Hispanic dogs of whom one is voiced by that one guy who played the servant to Edmond Dantes in the movie "The Count of Monte Cristo" which is super stereotypical but sadly expected in a movie like this and then another big dog meets Chloe who wants to eat her I think because he is a huge black Pit bull who snarls a lot and then they run away while the Paris-Hilton-lookalike and Hunky-rascally-dog-owner start to crush hardcore on each other and embrace that radical and dangerous dream that despite the obstacles that face them that love may blossom even in the bleakest of circumstances and maybe also that opposites attract or something because these two people are seriously like the worst people for each other even though the Manly-gardener-guy kinda reminds me of a guy I used to work at Lowe's with and that job was hard as hell sometimes so this guy can't be all bad but this girl is totally the biggest airhead I've ever seen in a move and despite the fact that the character may have been written for her to be an airhead the girl playing her either does a great job or a terrible job depending on how you look at it................


I suddenly became aware of an incredibly acute desire to vomit.

It was as if my nausea had been waiting patiently outside the door of my consciousness, then somehow became aware of what I was watching and took it upon......itself?......to football-tackle my stomach.

...man I write weird things sometimes. But stay with me.

I stood from my seat, and walked briskly down the darkened corridor of the plane (they had turned the lights off so that people could attempt to sleep) and headed for the bathroom.

Now Luftanza is such a prestigious airline that they have a stairway down from the passenger level to the bathrooms, with 8 bathrooms on the lower level. Kinda nice, actually.

I stumbled down the stairs and by the grace of God, one of the seven bathrooms was unoccupied. As I walked in and locked the door, my stomach decided that the time for mere protest was over and that action was now required.

I threw up for a few minutes (ew) and flushed the toilet. Now I don't know if you're aware of this, but if you have just thrown up, your stomach muscles are crazy sore, and you feel...actually pretty darn good considering how you felt a few minutes prior. This at least was my experience.

I felt so good in fact, that I closed the lid of the toilet, and rested my head upon it for a few seconds, relishing in the newfound comfort of not wanting to puke.

An hour later, I woke up.

Three thoughts went in my head at the same time:

1. I just slept in a cramped airplane bathroom.
2. That was a really bad movie.
3. This is going to make an awesome story.

All this happened, and I hadn't even gotten to Europe yet.

More stories to come, friends.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Car-lag + bullet train-lag + jet-lag = Severe loss of coordination

Hi everyone! Its good to be back in The Good Ole' United States of America (TM) !

Also, I am very super-tired. I have jet and it fly for 27 hours. I make talk with broken english when having jetlag. We drive much time.

(Also I felt like typing like this so that the headache you get from trying to figure out what I'm saying will make you sleepy enough to sympathize with me.)

Did it work?

Ok then.

So - I'm back in Kona! Hooray!

The trip back was very interesting to say the least, and I honestly feel a lot like James Bond or Jason Bourne because I was in 5 countries in a week. (Starting in Switzerland, we drove back through France to Spain, then hopped on a flight to Frankfurt in Germany, then connected to another flight back to the US.
So: Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, US. in less than 5 days.

Awesome. Tiringly awesome.

It was definitely a long trip in many ways - we drove from Lausanne in Switzerland to Vezenobres in France (Roughly a 7 hour trip), then we rested for the night. From there, we drove down into Barcelona and met up with the team there, and rested again. ( 5 hour drive). We then took a bullet train from Barcelona to Madrid (4 hours) then slept at the Madrid airport in order to catch our 6 am flight. We flew from Madrid to Frankfurt (3 hours), then from Frankfurt to San Francisco (11 hours - ugh). Then we flew from SFO to Kona (6 hours), and collapsed under the weight of both our exhaustion, and our folly of ignoring our exhaustion.

So to summarize:

I drove a lot and flew a lot. A whole lot.

But I have chocolate. Oh, what chocolate do I have.

The chocolate is coming, dear friends - it is coming.

Hold fast, for the day will soon come when you can totally eat some of this Swiss chocolate that I got in Switzerland.

It is written, and so it shall be.

Now to bed for making not sleepy anymore.

Love you guys


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Typing on a European Keyboard

Wooooo Boy. It has been a while since Ive updated this blog of mine - simply because Ive been bouncing around Europe at an exponential rate. While Ive been travelling, I have encountered one major problem: The keyboards.

The keyboards here are entirely different from what I have used all of my life, and make typing a letter such as this one relatively difficult.

Ok. let me try to type normally, and Ill see what the damage is. Ready?

This is ,e typing on q stqndqrd keyboqrd; one thqt hqs qll of the keys in the right plqces qnd not scqttered qround like so,eone smqshed the keyboqrd zith q hq,,er qnd then put it bqck together zith mqsking tqpe qnd glue;

Also, look at this: §

Wow. § is a cool symbol. So is this one: ç - and this one: µ

I dont even know what this one is: ø

Anyway, back to the blog.

Despite my extremely limited internet access here in Spain and France, I am having a great time. I have learned so much about myself and God its crazy. In fact, I plan to sit in my room and zone out for a month or two when I return to let everything sink in.

And oh boy, is there a lot that has happened. Lots to sink in.

I cant possibly write all that has happened, and it just so happens that I am low on time, so this blog will be relatively short. I just wanted to update you all on my situation, and to tell you that I cant wait to see all of you again. I could talk your ears off about Europe, God, and tiny dogs. Actually, I will talk your ears off when I get back, if you will let me.

I know all about Crepes and Chocolat and nummy yum-yums like that.

I will try my best to bring some of those yum-yums back with me, though they must survive being in the presence of two little boys, 21 starving YWAMmers, and several flights before they reach you.

Have faith - I believe that French Chocolat should be spread amongst the masses - or more specifically, my friends.

Also, be prepared to look at several thousand pictures when I return. Literally.

(Im at 2000 and counting)

I love you all, and I will see you in the earliest days of June!

Au Revoir!

§ ç à µ ù £ ø!