June 2007


International Travel

As most of you are aware, I travel some—and for the last few weeks I haven’t really traveled more than a few miles from where I am sleeping.

Today I made a big trip to a far away foreign land: Bloomington’s Westside.

I was over there because the car I am driving needed an oil change and the Honda dealership is on the Westside. Before crossing to the Westside I made sure to lock my car doors and keep my gun nearby in case I needed to defend myself from the unsavory types.

Before I left, I made sure that I knew the exchange rate: 1 Eastside US Dollar happened to equal 1 Westside US Dollar today, so all was good—and by using my credit card I could protect myself against unexpected currency variation.

As I arrived a bit early, I decided to stop by a Kroger grocery store: it had the same logo as the Kroger stores elsewhere in Bloomington—but since we know the Chinese like to make cheap knock-off drugs containing poisons, I entered the story wary of its goods. The Coca-Cola department had all the right brands of Coke with proper packaging with what looked like authentic trademarked goods as opposed to the pirate goods that claim to be Coke but is actually Pepsi re-packaged. I decided to risk it and I bought several 12 packs of Coca-Cola products for my upcoming Canada Day celebration. The cashier processed my goods and I paid for them, leaving with the canned beverages and a slight discomfort that the transaction had been too easy.

From there I went to the Honda Dealership, which reminded me of my time in Johannesburg: I was able to drive directly into the facility, bypassing any of the shifty characters who might have tried to carjack me in the parking lot. Once inside the building, the employees quickly changed the oil: I remained inside the facility listening to my iPod whilst staring out at the passing people. I felt lucky: I was inside an enormous air conditioned facility. The shiftless masses outside were suffering in the heat and humidity that characterizes Bloomington’s Westside.

After 40 minutes (despite the promised 30 minutes), the car was returned to my possession. I got back in it, locked the doors, and then exited the facility.

It was a long trip back: due to incredibly dense traffic, it took me thirty minutes to drive from the Westside to Fourth Street and locate a parking spot. I was happy to be back in the city center, ready to join a heterosexual friend in lunch at one of the street’s many famous restaurants.

This was not the most dangerous land I’ve ever visited and I would return to it again, but only if I could avoid all the traffic.

Tomorrow: Another Adventure, Further Afield.

3 comments to International Travel

  • Ed

    Your a brave man TQE. Had you ventured farther down Whitehall Pike you would have seen the carnage. It looks like a war zone. Trees stripped of limbs stand like giant sentinals guarding the highway and ready to fall on any Eastside Bloke who tries to wander into the jaws of Bunger Road. Airport Road, so called because it is named to lure the unwary, is criss-crossed with dozers and machinery ready to grind all Eastsiders into sawdust. Yes, you were taking your life into your hands, TQE. It is a good thing you stayed out of the WestSide Old Navy store because..well just consider yourself lucky to be alive. Enough said.

  • J

    Clever, which is why I read your blog. Actually, it’s sort of like a piece I’ve been working on.

  • @ed: I will have to stay away from Whitehall Pike. Although in the past I have survived the Monroe County Fair.

    @j: danke! I look forward to your piece.