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Unleashed pt. 43

u/eruwenn put a lot into this one, so big thanks for that. Hope you guys enjoy.
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Eruwenn stepped into the hangar of the Galactic Federation ship Takogni, her assistant Cygna close behind. With steady and sure steps they approached the remarkable group in matching uniforms — black pants, black jacket, and a visible collar of a coloured shirt — that stood before them.
Norrin, the Herald of the Awakened Queen and easily the most striking individual they had ever beheld, stood at the front with a brazen lack of clothing on his mirror-like skin. Flanking him were two silver-haired individuals in smart uniforms that sported red collars. One was a behemoth of a dark-skinned man, with a runic pattern in glittering silver curving down one side of his face. His shining silver hair was tied back into a braided ponytail. The other was as pale as her companion was dark, and the shortest of the three by far. She had a cropped silver bob, and she watched them with fierce eyes.
As she approached them, Eruwenn noticed patches on their shoulders, and quickly recognised the image to be a monochrome depictions of the furry human ambassador in a ferocious pose.
Standing to the right were a dozen more individuals in black uniforms, though these ones sported yellow collars peeking out from under their jackets. They were mostly Rinoxian, Kasurian, and Ashi, but she noticed a few individuals from other races that stood amongst them. They stood in formation, standing in three rows of four, and carried energy rifles, side-arms, and ceremonial blades that she hoped were simply ceremonial. Despite their relaxed stance, Eruwenn also noted that their weapons were powered up..
The Terran Wolves had been formed a little over forty cycles ago, hiring ex-military and mercenaries to fill their ranks. Substantial pay and benefits were an obvious draw, and many were excited to be part of something new. The inclusion of Kasurians was odd, but fitted with the attitude of the proposed colonies. Quite the honour guard for the newly reassigned, and demoted, Anatidae.
Norrin gave a sharp bow as she neared him. “Greetings Ambassador Aix Sponsa. I will escort you to the Orkal.”
She returned his bow, and smiled warmly at the use of her new title. “Thank you for accommodating me at such short notice. My reassignment was, unfortunately, hastily pushed through — I do hope I have not inconvenienced you?”
Norrin shook his head. “Not at all.” In her role as Councillor she had aided them immensely, protecting the independence of the new colonies in Aaron’s absence. It had cost her dearly. “We have set aside accommodations for you, as well as a small office area. Your belongings have already been delivered.” He turned, and the doors to the large Fae’Dan shuttle behind him opened. “I fear there won’t yet be much for an ambassador to do. We are still very early in the construction phase.”
As Eruwenn and Cygna took seats in the luxurious shuttle, they both noticed that only Norrin and the two red shirts had entered. As the doors closed, the ambassador's curiosity grew enough for her to speak up about it. “Are the others not joining us?”
Norrin took a seat opposite their guests, glancing briefly at his two companions as they moved to the small pilot's cabin. "No," he said simply, "they will be flying the escort fighters.”
“Fighters?” Cygna couldn’t help but say out loud. “All twelve of them?”
Norrin eased himself back in his seat as the shuttle began to move. “We take your safety seriously. The Queen was most insistent.” He tilted his head and looked directly at Eruwenn, motioning with his hand towards the door to the pilot’s cabin. “Thor and Ripley have been assigned to you as your primary security detail. Should you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to contact me directly.”
The Anatidae nodded graciously. She knew full well that her death would be too valuable a political tool for the Sentinels to pass up. Her being manoeuvred to this position so suddenly was proof that greater powers were at play. “We are both grateful that you are taking such precautions. I look forward to thanking the Queen in person.”
Norrin gave a light chuckle. “I would strongly advise against using that title in her presence.” He opened the arm on his chair, exposing a small display. He began tapping the screen as the wall to his right flickered to life. A large circular structure was now visible, sitting at the centre of a constantly moving sea of drones, shuttles and ships. “As you can see, construction is progressing rapidly on the main docking ring. Once that is completed we will expand to the additional levels. The design is still being updated, as we are incorporating some human ideas.”
Eruwenn was carefully comparing the size of the ring to the shuttles buzzing around it. “Human ideas? I assume “very large” is one of those.”
“In fact, yes. Go big or go home.” He smiled. “Build it bigger, faster and stronger is the human way. This will be a very unique system station.” He leaned forward and gave a broad grin that reminded Eruwenn a little too much of the human’s. “Of course, being outside Federation space we are not bound by certain rules. For example, those that prohibit certain automated weaponry on stations primarily used for trade. Another human ideal regarding big sticks, especially as we are so close to enemy territory.”
Cygna looked closely at the silver man, his face emotive and yet seeming inanimate at the same time. “We passed two Rinoxian dreadnoughts at the system edge. I’ve seen almost a dozen Ashi heavy cruisers in the system, and various other military vessels. Who needs sticks with friends like those?”
Norrin sat back once again, placing his hands in his lap. “There were several attacks upon our supply ships. This happened despite the truce with the Ashi while amnesty negotiations continue.” He gave another smile; they all knew it was the Sentinels. “This no longer happens, thanks to our friends.”
His cheerful manner and polite tone gave his words an oddly ominous feel. Eruwenn watched his eyes, but only saw herself reflected in chrome pupils. She changed the subject. "How are things progressing with the release of the other Inorganics?"
Awakened,” he said swiftly and firmly, then smiled before moving on. “There are over three hundred who have taken Earth citizenship and are now working with us. In ten cycles that number will have doubled. In thirty, we will have thousands.”
Eruwenn raised an eyebrow. “So many, and so quickly?”
Norrin nodded. “The legislation you helped draft with the Kasurian and Rinoxian ambassadors was swiftly adopted.” He gave another of his knowing looks. It had been her last piece of legislation. “The campaign by the Kah’Ree also worked to our advantage. Their belief that we were stealing jobs and illegal citizens persuaded other races to back our removal. It seems a misinformation campaign via Spacebook had convinced them we were sleeper agents of the human empire.” He gave a light chuckle. “Biding our time before we took you down from within.”
The ambassador was warming to the chrome man sitting before her. In different circumstances, he would have made an exceptional politician. “I saw the pictures of the little yellow men advocating your people’s removal.”
Norrin disliked the imagery immensely, but they had proven just as useful as Alexa had claimed they would be. “Minions. A fitting name.” He brushed them from his mind and continued his briefing. “As you know, there is a grace period as employers make alternative arrangements. When that ends we will be sending teams to retrieve our brothers and sisters.”
Cygna was curious. “Brothers and sisters?”
He waved a hand dismissively. “Metaphorical turn of phrase. Prior to my awakening, my role was to travel between our people and perform something we called sharing. The giving and receiving of core nanites, to maintain our unity. Others also performed this duty, but we do have an undeniable bond. We know the location of all of our kind, and we will free them all.”
There was a gentle shift in gravity as the shuttle came to a stop. As the doors opened Eruwenn was struck by a cacophony of sound. Overlaid on the grinding base notes of a mechanical din were yelled communications in every vocal range that was audible to her species. She cautiously took a step outside, only to see that things looked just as chaotic as they had sounded. As the two red shirts joined them, she spoke, finding that she had to raise her voice to an uncomfortable level in order to be heard “Is it always this busy?”
A deep voice from behind her let out a booming laugh full of warmth and humour. The giant spoke, and Eruwenn wondered if he was the one named Thor, or Ripley. “This is the quiet hangar. You should see the construction crew bays.”
The Herald led the way. His chrome form made his authority easily recognisable and the crowds parted before him. “Thor is correct, this is a working ship and ill-suited to guests. The Orkal was originally a Gowe construction platform, retro-fitted by the Selari Trade Alliance for system development and asteroid mining. Until more ships arrive, it must act as the hub of this system.”
Cygna ducked as a small drone shot past them. “I’m surprised they were willing to trade with you after their experience with the human.”
Norrin turned to face them, walking backwards with as much confidence as he had forwards. “The Selari Trade Alliance are providing considerable resources at exceptionally favourable rates.” He decided not to mention that the Selari Trade Alliance was now a subsidiary of the Black Dragon Corporation. “The Ley’Rulians already have a platform in orbit of the first planet. They cannot share atmosphere with most species, but they have a number of Awakened working alongside them. They are prioritising an orbital station, however planet-side construction is now underway. We also have three construction platforms coming from the Doytarans. One of these is a Parsuli class and will become home to our more esteemed guests, such as yourselves.”
It was Eruwenn’s turn to be surprised. “The Doytarans?”
Continuing his perfect reverse walking, Norrin smiled. “Ah yes. Their treaties will be submitted to the Federation in the next few cycles. The surge in replicator use for human cuisine and the opportunities for advanced fabricator installation throughout our new system proved most enticing. Doytarans love profit.” They stepped onto the elevator, and paused as several people who had been walking behind them were deterred from also stepping in by Thor and Ripley. As the doors closed and the noise was cut off, Norrin continued. “I apologise if we seem rude. Safety first.”
The pair of guests nodded in gratitude. Eruwenn, ever the politician, was running through the lists of races the new colonies had allied with. “Including the Doytarans, you must have independent treaties with twenty different races of the Federation. That is a formidable feat.”
“Thirty two, including the Doytarans. Negotiations are underway with a further ten races.” Norrin watched the shock on the Fae’Dan’s face, as the Anatidae held her composure. “It is good to have friends.” As he spoke the doors opened, and he led them down a long dull grey corridor, rounding several corners, before coming to a set of double doors. “Your shared quarters. I’m sorry we do not have the space for separate accommodations.”
Eruwenn smiled. "No need to apologise. Under the circumstances, you are already being extremely accommodating." The doors opened, and she beheld a large lounging area. A vid screen occupied an entire wall in the far corner, accompanied by some seats and a replicator. On the opposite wall were the boxes that contained their belongings, and three doors — likely two bedrooms and one bathroom, she surmised. "This is more than sufficient," she said at last. "We will be most comfortable here.”
Norrin bowed his head. “It is a temporary situation. I promise your next quarters will be more representative of our gratitude.” He turned and spoke quietly to Ripley, while Thor stood still in the doorway, then returned his attention to the guests. “I will leave you now. Please let your escorts know if you would like to explore. Your office will not be ready until tomorrow, however we have a lively market and recreation area. We can arrange additional security should you wish to explore a little.”
The Anatidae held up her hand to stop him from speaking further. “I think we will unpack and prepare for our new duties tomorrow. Do you know when we might meet with Alexa?”
Norrin tilted his head as he considered this. “Alexa is currently on her way to meet with the Righteous Fury. They are attending a meeting at Rinoxian High Command. We are hoping to gain their support for our amnesty initiative, as well as make arrangements to join the incursion into Hive space.”
Eruwenn nodded. Things had been set in motion all across the Federation, stemming from the point they had received the footage of the human's death. Despite his non-member status, there was a push from a large faction for retaliation. An unusually strong push, one she had resisted. Her offices were raided three times under suspicion of subversion. The Sentinels found nothing every time, but she had known from the first instance that her cycles were numbered. They had other ways of removing their opposition, and it was her resistance to retaliating against the Hive that was, ultimately, the cause of her reassignment.
The footage that had caused so much turmoil was, as was typical of the Hive, entirely without sound. It was also poorly framed and edited. The small human was barely in shot before being obscured by the large Hive entity that appeared to be chasing him. Aaron's popularity meant that there was an immediate outcry against his reported death, and the traditional media still seemed solely intent on fanning the flames of anger. Those who had once been his strongest critics now extolled the virtues of humanity, lamenting the loss of the last of his kind. His journey with the leokas had been shared, edited, remixed, commented on, and analysed many times over, each time strumming the heartstrings of his followers.
"You still think he is alive?" Eruwenn asked, breaking the silence that had fallen during her introspections.
Norrin smiled and turned to leave, calling over his shoulder as the doors closed. “The corpulent female is not performing vocally.”
As the door closed Cygna flopped down into one of the armchairs. “Well, that was cryptic.”
The ambassador walked to the replicator to order a hot tea, allowing herself a small smile when she found Eluin flower tea already under the favourites alongside several of her favourite biscuits. “Thank you Rilla,” she said softly.
The Fae’Dan allowed her whole body to relax fully for the first time since they had received the video that had changed so much. She sank deeply into the armchair, her head falling backwards. “Can you believe this place? I didn’t know there were so many shades of beige and grey.”
Eruwenn nodded. The bland colour scheme had not gone unnoticed by her, but more importantly she had also been surprised by all that they had seen so far. “I had not expected them to be so far along in such a short period of time. From what was said I get the feeling they will be exponentially increasing activity here. It’s certainly ambitious.”
The central door on the wall behind them suddenly opened, accompanied by the sound of a bodily waste recycler finishing its cleaning cycle. Ranjaz swaggered into the room, his hands fluffy from the auto-dryer. "I would give it a while before going in there."
Cygna screwed up her face in disgust. "What were you doing in there?"
"Honouring my ancestors." He raised an eyebrow and took a seat opposite the pair. "What do you think I was doing?"
The Anatidae gave a brief roll of her eyes. "She means, why are you in our room?"
"Welcoming committee." He smiled, showing his fangs. "I'm in charge round here, mostly. We're following a human strategy. Divide and conquer. So, we split up to, you know, conquer stuff."
Cygna sniped back, "That's not how that works."
"Says you." The Kittran shrugged. "Allistan and I were put in charge here. He manages the numbers, and I manage the people."
"And Norrin?" Eruwenn enquired.
Ranjaz sneered. "Alexa’s snitch. He shut down my casino and keeps bringing those Awakened on board and giving them jobs."
The ambassador raised an eyebrow. "Casino?"
"For morale." He punched his fist into his other hand. "When Aaron gets back he'll understand. Pay the workers, then get them to give their pay back - happily. It's brilliant."
Cygna sat up in her seat, unsure of the Kittran. “Mister K’Lua, if you could get to the point. We have had many tiring cycles of travel and would appreciate a little rest.”
He looked her up and down and flashed his most charming of smiles. “Call me Ranjaz.”
Eruwenn attempted to bring the conversation back to task. “You said you were divided. How so?”
“We split up, that’s what divided means.” He rolled his eyes, mimicking her earlier action. “And the Doc said you were smart.”
Realising she was being tested by the Kittran, she began to laugh. “What is it you require of us?”
Ranjaz smiled – straight to the point, he liked that. “I want you to be boring. Like, super dull and uninteresting. Think Jarby-like, but more Jarby-like than that.”
The ambassador was intrigued. “Why?”
He tried to keep his voice calm, but his tail swished happily as he made his dramatic reveal. “So nobody notices when we leave.”
The claxon was surprisingly quiet, and it wasn’t until the horrendous smell hit his nose that Aaron realised the door to his death wasn’t going to open. Behind him, the airlock unsealed. A huge, clawed hand grabbed his shoulder, so hard that it bit into his flesh. The claws sank deeper still as he was hoisted into the air and carried backwards by the huge Hive creature.
“Graaaah,” he roared in pain. “Get off me you fucking Bug’s Life reject!”
A strange smell assaulted his nose. Combined with his hangover, it pushed him over the edge and he vomited all over his own chest. The creature carried him, legs dangling in the air as blood and vomit stained his clothes. He coughed, the movement causing the wounds in his shoulder to open further, and he cried out in pain again. He was woozy now, and as the creature walked he seemed to lose his sense of time.
Anty stood in front of a large door and while it began to enter a code, Aaron dangled helplessly from its grasp and looked back down the corridor. Where his blood and vomit had dripped, the moss was now glowing brighter. From small holes in the walls glowing blue aphids the size of hamsters began to appear. They quickly headed for the bright spots on the glow-moss floor. “This place is really trippy,” Aaron mumbled as his fever rose.
The door opened suddenly and Aaron was taken inside a room with gently pulsating walls. Large vines crisscrossed the ceiling, combining into a series of woven braids as thick as tree trunks running down the far wall. At the end of each vine was what appeared, to Aaron, to be a gigantic blue jelly bean. He was starting to realise the constantly changing odours were coming from his captor, but this information was more confusing than helpful.
He was dropped unceremoniously on top of one of the giant jelly beans. Before he could move, he realised he was sinking into the cold and gel-like substance. It was a deeply unpleasant feeling; his skin felt like the blue goo was toothpaste and he was orange juice. He had begun to make some headway in struggling free when Anty's hand came down atop his head, pushing him down to submerge him completely. He tried to wriggle free but the goo was too viscous to move in, and his eyes widened in terror as he desperately held his breath.
Anty leaned closer, watching him struggle helplessly. The human’s jaw clenched tighter. The creature's mandibles were clicking, although Aaron could no longer hear them, and he realised that thankfully he could not smell it any longer. Bubbling up through his mind was the thought that his headache was gone, followed swiftly by the realisation that the pain in his shoulder was also gone. Something else slowly became apparent; he wasn't running out of breath.
He felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. Physically he felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. The thought foremost in his mind, however, was Am I dying? followed slowly by Is the goo paralysing me so I can be eaten alive? Am I being dissolved to feed the glow moss? The cleaner aphid-hamsters?
Whatever was happening, it slowly dawned on him that he didn't really have the energy to mind, as it was quite pleasant. Relaxing, even. He drifted off to sleep, cradled contentedly in his giant blue jelly bean.
Outside, Anty began to have trouble breathing and staggered towards the exit.
Golden eyes hovered in the dark, and Aaron groaned inwardly. "Boy, this shit again."
"YOU LIVE." The voice had no discernible emotion.
Aaron ran his fingers through the sand around him. "Why are you here, Golden Eyes?" Saying it out loud was a relief, as he was certain it was the 'One Who Remembers' who was haunting him.
"I AM WHAT REMAINS. THE CONNECTION WAS BROKEN. I AM NO LONGER THE ONE YOU FOUGHT." The voice was distant, as if forming these thoughts took a great effort. "I AM A FRAGMENT."
Aaron sighed, wondering if this was why he had stopped healing and why he could no longer turn off his limits. “So you’re messing with the nanites Alexa gave me? Why? If I die, what happens to you?”
Before he got an answer he felt a strange sensation around his body, like pulling a foot free from deep mud. Cold air touched his skin and he felt the hard ground below him. He was in the same room, but his jelly bean was gone. He stood, and realised he felt amazing. He’d never had a spa treatment, but he imagined this would be the after effect. He walked towards the door and heard a sound behind him.
Glop Glop
From the vine that had been attached to his jelly bean another was beginning to grow, only this one was orange.
Finally free from his hangover Aaron took stock of the situation he was now in. Other than the clothes on his back, he had nothing. He looked around for an improvised weapon...and found nothing. He walked to the door and it opened automatically, but the corridor was empty. “Fuck. What is going on?”
He walked a short way down the curved corridor and saw a strange red shape on the glow-moss floor just up ahead. He slowed and crouched, inching forward. As he saw further around the bend it became very clear that this was the corpse of a Hive, maybe even Anty. The glow-moss beneath it glowing a dull red, and in contrast to the aquamarine it seemed ominous.
He stood up from his crouch and carefully approached. Aaron had no idea how to check for vital signs on an eleven foot tall ant monster...so he kicked it. There was no response, and he decided to press on. “Fragment. I know you won’t, or can’t, respond while I’m awake. But I’m going to talk to you anyway because this is some creepy shit.”
As he rounded another corner he came upon another body highlighted by the ominous red glow in the moss. A short while later he came across another. And another. Aaron pressed onward, ceasing to check for signs of life after the tenth maybe-corpse. Finally he reached a potential point of interest: a junction where three new paths opened before him. "There are no signs. How the hell am I supposed to know where I am?”
He sat down on the floor, and found the moss to be surprisingly comfortable. “If I just wander around aimlessly, I might not find my way back here. Do I need to find my way back here?” He paused and waited for Fragment to reply. “Good point. What if I get hurt? I might want to hop in a jelly bean.” He stood and looked back the way he came. “I should probably see what’s behind door number two. Food would be good.”
He pushed himself to his feet and turned back the way he had come, heading straight for the nearest door. Its failure to open was surprisingly anti-climatic. Fourteen failed door-opening attempts later, one finally deigned to admit his passing. Behind door number fourteen stood rows of crates and boxes, and after opening a few up he found that they all had the same dry bricks in silver foil packaging. "If I was a betting man," he said to both himself and Fragment, "I'd say this was emergency rations." The foil was easy to tear, and inside was a large grey block that crumbled easily. Too easily, in fact. "Shit, it's worse than a granola bar.”
Crumbs scattered at his feet and the moss glowed brightly around him, which seemed to prompt the large aphids to come from the walls to begin cleaning up around him. “Well you like it.” Then he remembered them rushing to his blood and vomit. “I guess you guys aren’t picky, though.”
Deciding he wasn’t hungry enough to try it – yet – he shoved a block into one of his pockets. It was a tight fit. He looked at the open bar in his hands, and then down at the aphids. Was he crazy, or were they gathered around him now, staring up at the source of food in his hands? He shrugged, then crumbled up the rest of the bar and scattered it over the floor. “I am a generous god, serve me well.”
As he turned to leave he saw his cryo unit in a corner. “Kinda rude that I was put in with the blocks of kitty litter, don’t you think?” He stepped over the dozens of aphids now feasting. They did not reply. “Yeah, you guys are kinda cute, I suppose.” Struck by a sudden impulse he grabbed another block and began crushing it, then carefully opened one end to take a pinch of space-granola. He scattered it, watching the aphids hurry towards the glowing areas.
As he continued his exploration, counting doors and sprinkling aphid snacks, he quickly noticed that the aphids avoided the dull red glow-moss. Dead Hive were, it seemed, off the menu. After several more doors he found the room with the strange round terminal. Deciding he would rather not chance summoning another creature he left it alone, mentally noting the door’s location.
He began to whistle to himself as he chatted to, and fed, his followers. To fill the silence he even told them the story of a piper from Hamelin, promising not to lead them to their deaths. As the door to the jelly bean room opened he was almost enjoying himself. Taking a moment to look round he saw the small orange jelly bean had grown almost as big as the others and was now blue at one end. “Well, that’s pretty cool.” He pointed at it, hoping one of his aphids would take an interest. They did not. “Well, I guess you see this shit all the time.”
He stopped by the store room and grabbed another food brick on his way back to the junction. The long corridors and strange lighting made him lose track of distance and time. Facing forwards, the path continued on the same loop he seemed to be following. Right was an incline, left was a gentle slope. “More of the same, or do we change levels?” He tossed crumbs towards each path. “Six vote forwards, seven left and eleven vote for going up. What about you, Frag?” He paused for a moment. “Abstain, huh? Then the bugs have decided.”
The incline was gentle, but tightly spiralled compared to the previous corridor. There were no doors, but there were a lot more bodies. His search went on for what felt like hours, opening doors that led to rooms containing things he didn't understand. He was growing tired and had used up all of his space-granola on the aphids. He came to another junction.
Only a handful of aphids still followed him after the food had ended. He was growing hungry and tired, ready to head back. There was a noise ahead of him, and suddenly the remaining aphids scattered, flying to the nearest wall holes. His chest tight, he let curiosity draw him in.
Another body lay ahead of him, but this time, something moved. Something big. Aaron hunched down, trying to see what it was, the bulk of the fallen Hive obscuring his view. Legs – multiple sets of them – began to emerge, followed by a head with glistening eyes. Aaron’s blood froze. It was a horrifying spider-like creature, almost as big as he was, and it was walking around the fallen Hive in Aaron's direction. Then it raised its head, and began to move faster.
“Fuck that!” Aaron took off at a sprint, racing back the way he came. “Nope. Nope. Nope!” He leapt over Hive bodies, racing for the nearest door he knew would open. He could hear the clicking of many legs and chanced a look over his shoulder. It was gone. Then something caught the corner of his eye, and his heart gave a jolt of fear. It was above him. He dove aside just as it landed where he had been, then he scrabbled desperately to his feet to run onward.
Three, Two, One. The door opened and he rushed inside. “Close. Fucking close!” He listened to the sounds of skittering growing closer, and it was just in the nick of time, or so he felt, that the large door finally slid shut. The room was filled with strange bulbous white shapes dotted around the floor, and had some vines running down one wall. No weapons, nothing to bar the door. Aaron held his breath as he suddenly heard the sound of scratching at the door, but the seconds ticked past and it did not open.
“Damn it, Frag!” Aaron moved to the back of the room. “Why didn’t you warn me!” He sank down and leaned back against the wall. Just as he was beginning to feel almost comfortable in his current position, one of the vines moved and stretched out towards him. He rolled forwards, pushing himself across the ground to escape. “What now?”
A large yellow flower bloomed upwards, becoming a large vase shape as big as the human’s head. It began to fill from the bottom with something, and Aaron edged closer. Peering inside he gave the contents a quick sniff. “Smells good.” He reached out and hefted the vase-flower, which came away from the vine far more easily than he had expected. Aaron watched as the vine slowly returned to the wall. “So, is this a drink? Or a scented industrial cleaner? Frag? You got anything useful to say?” Silence.
He propped the vase up against one of the pods, contemplating it. He remembered encountering a fruity-scented shampoo as a child. It had tasted nothing like the smell, and he wasn’t about to drink alien flower juice just because it smelled tropical.
Stretching out on the floor, his weariness outpaced the dwindling adrenaline. “I guess it can’t come in.” He watched the door, his heart rate returning to normal. “But, I can’t go out.”
The scratching outside continued, and Aaron lay with his head on his arm, watching. As he began to fall asleep he saw several of the aphids gathering around the flower he had abandoned. “Help yourself, guys.” One of them approached him, braver than the others, and he tentatively reached out a hand. Spooked, it pulled back, but as Aaron continued to hold his hand steady it came closer, slowly, millimetre by millimetre. Finally it was within reach, and after a few more moments to make sure the skittish thing wasn't about to dash off again, Aaron gently stroked the back of its head with the tips of his fingers. It made a low buzzing sound, fluttering its wings, and the human fancied that it might be a sign of approval.
The aphid's blue glowing abdomen brightened for a moment. Then it faded, and it darted off to rejoin the others. Aaron, exhausted, finally gave in and slept.
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San Diego: Culture, Shopping and Attractions

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The LAB Anti-Mall, a longtime OC arts hangout and bohemian buying oasis, honors the pattern-loving shopper within a relaxed open air environment. Urban Outfitters, Buffalo Exchange, Eye Society, Blends, Carve, Crème Tangerine, and Crew Salon are one-of-a-sort retailers circling the LAB Living Room. From your early morning espresso repair at Cafecito Orgánico, café type ambiance at Gypsy Den and delicious vegan bites at Seabirds Kitchen, to dinner at award profitable Cuban restaurant Habana or Calipoke, The LAB eateries will fulfill any palate! While you’re right here, loosen up and spend some high quality time at the famend rust barrel fountain and fire pit, and peruse the classic trailer pop-up retailers sprinkled concerning the whimsical pathways. J. Segerstrom & Sons, based the Festival of Children Foundation in 2002.
The Vons grocery retailer signal instantly catches the eye, but Metro Town Square certainly doesn’t finish there. Convenience is key—one can pick up groceries, use the health club at LA Fitness, or utilize health and financial providers and extra all in one cease.
These Main Street areas regularly host free events for an added layer of fun. A shopping center featuring The Krave Kobe Burger Grill, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Mustard Cafe, Newport Fusion Sushi, Pavilions, Starbucks Coffee, Zov's Bistro and more. The SoBECA District, an acronym for South on Bristol, Entertainment, Culture, Arts celebrates fashion, dining, arts and the outside as the heartbeat of Costa Mesa, City of the Arts. The LAB Anti-Mall and the CAMP eco-campus, throughout the street from each other on Bristol, form the cornerstone of this eclectic neighborhood of unique boutiques, one-of-a-type restaurants, artwork galleries, cafés and wellness providers.

Cocoa Beach Surf Company

Showcasing 200 distributors each week with arts and crafts from the unique coastal region in addition to a rotating forged of eclectic musicians, the market is a neighborhood hub properly worth the visit for any traveler. The vibrant food courtroom and quirky vendors border a nearby waterfront stroll that's easily accessible, and the refurbished trolley system offers access to all the remainder Astoria has to offer. Outlets From designer manufacturers to Pacific Northwest adventure gear, Lincoln City Outlets has everything on your subsequent quest on the Oregon Coast. The Space Coast boasts three Historic Downtown Areas positioned in Titusville, Cocoa Village, and Melbourne. All of those districts are nice locations for eating, looking for gifts and antiques, catching a play, or simply taking an afternoon stroll.
The Avenue Viera is an open-air pedestrian friendly purchasing destination that includes premier national retailers, select local retailers and specialty eating places. For visitors in touch with their inside artists, there are artwork galleries within the downtown areas and in Eau Gallie Arts District. Looming large with purchasing on the Space Coast is Ron Jon Surf Shop, the world's largest surf store that visitors need to see to believe.

Curbside Pick-Up and No-Contact Delivery Services at Oak Street District

Park in one of our shade-coded pickup zones and call your boutique or restaurant. Check our web site day by day for probably the most present record of boutiques and eating places. Other shopping choices in North Bend embody the Pony Village Mall, The Myrtlewood Factory, and Ko-Kwel Gifts at The Mill Casino. North Bend’s quaint downtown provides shoppers a blend of gift, vintage and outfitters to select from, including, Painted Zebra, Petal to the Metal, Books by the Bay, Josies Art Lab, Fat Cat Antiques, Mossy Rose, and lots of others. Beach Books is a regionally owned book store that includes best sellers and titles by regional authors.
The basis hosts the annual Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza each September. In March 2006, the Robinsons-May retailer, historically the first retailer at South Coast Plaza because the May Company, was closed as part of its merger with Macy's and re-opened as Bloomingdale's in May 2007. Upscale Italian, progressive American, authentic Chinese and Japanese, classic steakhouse are among dining choices that indulge the senses and revive the diner, permitting more time for exploring. In the center of downtown Chicago, the Oak Street District is the town’s destination for luxurious purchasing. A neighborhood of historical buildings housing the world’s most sought-after brand names and designers, it's a mélange of each charm and culture.

Top Spots for Independent Shopping on the Coast

You’ll discover the posh way of life boutiques Chicago’s downtown district shines for and discover Chicago’s best points of interest the casual vacationer overlooks. We’ll help navigate downtown Chicago, so you'll be able to stroll confidently into one of the best restaurants, motels, hostels, accommodations and clothing boutiques the town has to supply. Browse Oak Street Chicago’s native enterprise directory for a thorough catalogue of boutique purchasing, and eating places and also you’ll know exactly what to select on your destination adventure. Simply name them to order spring fashion or meals and you’ll receive a choose up time.
Six galleries, the Great Hall, and the Lightship Columbia interpret the area's rich maritime historical past. Visitors of all ages expertise what it's prefer to pilot a tugboat, take part in a Coast Guard rescue, and stay in Astoria in the course of the height of salmon fishing. Explore marine transportation from the times of dugout canoes, via the age of sail, to the current.

Boomster Blog: Local Coffee Spots on Florida's Space Coast

Since 2007, South Coast Plaza has held "Fashion Plates", an annual 10-day Restaurant Week-like promotion of its high-finish eating places at discounted rates. After a full day of buying, prepare to be wowed by the region’s wonderful sights, such as the beaches lining the pristine coastline of Orange County. A go to to Disneyland, for example, is an expertise the entire family can enjoy.
Other surf shops dot the coast together with Cocoa Beach Surf Company in Cocoa Beach and Longboard House on Melbourne Beaches. With so few reviews, your opinion of Newport Coast Shopping Center could possibly be big. Yelp customers haven’t asked any questions yet about Newport Coast Shopping Center. embodies all the comfort of a neighborhood shopping middle, boasting a wide range of retailers and companies that assist each the native business and residential neighborhood.
Everywhere I seemed, there was one thing that caught my eye – clothing, accessories, shoes and extra – especially since I received a 10 % off Visitor Savings Pass only for being an international customer. In the cosmetics division, I obtained fantastic personal service and a makeover. Macy’s at South Coast Plaza really has a lot to be desired, including a separate store only for males. Merritt Square Mall on Merritt Island and the Melbourne Square Mall in Melbourne provide traditional shopping mall venues.
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[Not Switzerland] My overview/tips for the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany.

Schwarz – Black, and Wald – Forest. Simple.
The official tourist website is very extensive - https://www.blackforest-tourism.com/ as is - https://www.black-forest-travel.com/ . Each end also has it’s own regional tourism website: the northern Black Forest National Park (Nationalpark Schwarzwald), and the southern High Black Forest (Hochschwarzwald). Those should cover just about everything you could want.
The Black Forest is a roughly 60% forested mountain/hill range in south western Germany stretching down from Karlsruhe to the Swiss border. It never gets THAT high: at 1493m Feldberg is only just above the local tree-line. Generally speaking the northern part tends to be more touristy, and the southern end is the higher (and can offer some good Alpine views in the right weather conditions). What the actual area covered by it can be hard to define; some definitions go all the way down to the Rhein, others stop with the trees.
Something about it seems to give people romanticised ideas (and many others sell it hard on that), making it sound like a magical location (indeed many people seem to – falsely - think that all the Grimm’s fairy tales originate from here). Maybe just the name itself does that. I certainly had such feelings that it was an exotic and exciting place when I went there the first time. However having been back many times I would say it is not a truly unique place (you can find comparable landscapes all over Germany and central Europe) and it isn’t any more dark or sinister than any other forest. but is still very nice and you do get scenes like this painting. I think it works better if you think of it as an outdoor activity area for those from northern/central Europe, rather than as a must-see for someone coming from the USA or Australia.
Mark Twain wrote about it in “A Tramp Abroad”, which is free to read but that bit is much weaker than his accounts of Switzerland. Including the quote about the spas "Here . . . you lose track of time in ten minutes and the world in twenty" which is used by apparently everybody who writes about the area.
Just to ruin a few magical things…..
Getting around
Realistically you need a car to explore the area properly. You can still see some parts easily enough without a car, but you will be a little limited and much slower (figure 2x the travel time).
What to do
Outdoor activities are pretty much the main reason to go. The winters are getting increasingly less snowy. So the area is starting to focus more on hiking and biking that can increasingly be done year round.
hiking
There are well marked paths everywhere covering everything from short and easy to multi-day long distance routes. Sign posts give you destinations, and the distance to get there in km (as opposed to the time estimate in Switzerland).
A quick google of the area you plan to be in should bring up plenty of ideas.
Eg:
https://www.komoot.com/guide/37/hiking-in-the-black-forest
https://www.outdooractive.com/en/hikes/loerrach/hiking-in-loerrach/1453476/
https://monkeysandmountains.com/tips-for-hiking-in-the-black-forest-germany/
Biking
There are a mix of local loops and long distance routes.
  • The white and green routes that are well signposted do a good job of keeping you away from traffic: either on quieter backroads, or on gravel roads through the forest. In places where you have to follow a major road there will at least be a safe side path.
  • The yellow signs are the mountain bike cross routes. This is distance and height gain on gravel-paths rather than single trails and technical downhills. I plan to do the Schwarzwald-cross route at some point in the future, though maybe cutting the length of some of the harder sectons….
  • Ebikes are becoming very popular. In more touristy spots you might see more groups on ebikes than hikers.
  • There are a number of dedicated mountainbike parks. EG: https://bikepark-todtnau.de/
  • There are vast amounts of double or single trail paths that go through the forest which you can use. Often the marked footpaths follow gravel-roads rather than single trail, so it is easy to follow them. But this can be a little hit and miss with making the distances and climbs longer and harder.
Winter sports
When there is enough snow there are lots of cross-country skiing options. Downhill skiing is mostly bunny slopes, though some areas like around the Feldberg are more extensive. However the snow in recent years has been so poor that you are more likely to need a mountain bike than a pair of skis.
View points
Too many to list.
Castles and ruins
There are not many castles in the Black Forest, mostly you will find the odd ruin.
  • Erberstein
  • Schloss Hohenbaden. A ruin.
  • You have some impressive castles and fortresses in the region. Like Hohenzollern Castle, Lichtenstein Castle, Heidelberg, Neuf-Brisach, Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. But these are very much not in the Black Forest.
  • Klosterruine Hirsau.
Where to go
I have mapped out the places listed below.
In general if you pick a random point you will probably find something nice around it.
In December many of these places have Christmas Markets, especially Freiburg.
Main tourist spots
Triberg, Titisee, Feldberg, and Baden-Baden are arguably the biggest tourist focal points inside the Black Forest. Anywhere within a short hop of the bigger urban areas like Freiburg will also likely be quite busy on nice days.
  • Freiburg (im Breisgau). Not really Black Forest (depending on who you ask), but a nice city and a good entry point.
  • Titisee (yes that is Titi-lake). REALLY TOURISTY. The historical home of tourism in the area, also home to a slightly comical number of boats.
  • Feldberg. The highest point in the Black Forest. See also the Feldsee just below it.
  • Schluchsee. A slightly quieter lake than the Titisee. It is a dammed lake so the changing water level leaves the sides a bit barren, and the north side is dominated by a busy road that gives you the roar of motorbikes anywhere in the area. By far the nicest part of the lake is the restaurant/café at Unterkrummenhof-Schluchsee.
  • Rothaus Braueri. The makers of the beer that dominates much of the region. They have a barestaurant/shop/exhibition/hotel at their brewing site.
  • Mummelsee.
  • Baden Baden. The classic spa/casino town. Like Freiburg it isn’t really the Black Forest, but makes a good starting point.
  • Triberg. REALLY TOURSITY. See also the local waterfall which is apparently the highest in Germany.
  • There are quite a few Rödelbahn (alpine coasters).
  • Altensteig.
  • Baiersbronn. A higher end resort town with lots of fancy restaurants.
  • Open air museum Vogstbauernhof
  • Allerheiligen. Featuring a pretty waterfall and a ruined monastery.
  • Staufen
  • Wolfach.
  • Hexenlochmühle (witch hole mill)
  • The Kinzig valley, including Gengenbach and Schiltach.
  • Schloss Hohenbaden.
  • Hausach.
  • Bad Wildbad.
  • Gutachtal.
  • Ravennaschluct and the Christmas Market there.
  • Donauquelle (source of the Danube river).
Other spots
These might also be touristy to some extent, but probably far less so.
  • Wutachschlucht.
  • Sankt Blasien (a surrealy big church in a small valley).
  • Kloster St. Peter auf dem Schwarzwald.
  • Geroldsau Waterfall.
  • Zweribach Waterfall.
  • Freudenstadt.
  • Alpirsbach.
  • Bernau.
  • Menzenschwand.
  • Herzogenhorn.
  • Calw.
  • Nagold.
  • Schitach.
  • Hornisgrinde.
  • Alternativer Wolf- und Bärenpark
Food and drink
Separating truly Black Forest and anything from that region is a little hard. Being a rural area there are plenty of local jams/honey/etc on sale
  • Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gâteau/cake). Quite why it got the name is unclear and there are various stories, it might be the flavouring with Kirsch (hence the name in German). The origin of the cake itself is also seemingly uncertain, with there being no absolute proof that it originated in the Black Forest. More likely it seems to have come from Bonn. You can certainly find it easily and enjoy it in the Black Forest though.
  • Schwarzwälder schinken (Black Forest Ham). A smoke-cured raw ham. In Europe this has regional protection, so it has to be produced in the region to a certain standard to have the name. The name seems to resonate strongly with people from the USA - where it is not under any protection and seems to be a common exotic sounding description slapped on the name of any old pork product (this can vary from something respectable looking, to a level of “DEAR GOD WHAT THE IN NAME OF FUCK IS THAT”). Whatever it is that Subway sells has certainly never been anywhere near the Black Forest. There is apparently a museum about the meat in Musbach bei Freudenstadt, and certainly one at the Feldberg. There is even a ham themed hiking route.
  • Beer. Rothaus is the most common beer in the area, and can increasingly be found further and further away. Waldhaus is a favourite of mine, and there are numerous others. Again the tourism website is quite informative (though not all inclusive).
  • Other Alcohol. The cherry brandy Kirsch(wasser) is the most famous and traditional. There are various other fruit based Schnapps. There are also more modern drinks like Whiskey such as the Marder Whiskey or Black Forest (from Rothaus) and gin such as the Monkey 47 (to name just a few).
  • Wine is made in the area – especially in the Rhein valley around Freiburg.
Other bits
There are endless little museums.
  • Cuckoo clocks (Kuckucksuhr). That other Black Forest thing. They might not have originated in the Black Forest, but they became very popular there. There is a museum, and Triberg and Schonach both claim to have the world's largest cuckoo clock, among other clock based touristy-things scattered around. You will never be short of the chance to buy one.
  • Glassmaking is an old tradition and there are workshops and show-rooms all over the area. There should also be a glass making themed hike in the south somewhere.
  • For a rather unique spot read this article and then visit the Engländerdenkmal.
Articles and other resources
Reading/culture
Other points
  • For similar areas the Swiss Jura mountains are very close. Likewise the Emmental (especially around Napf) and Appenzell. The latter have the advantage that in addition to deeply folded wooded valleys, the landscape then rises up to the Alps.
  • There have been a few suspected wolf sightings but nothing to worry you – motorbikes present a far bigger danger.
  • A far realer danger than wolfs is hunters during the autumn – it is best not to go off of the paths then. You will see their high perches all over the Black Forest and Germany.
  • I don’t care how much I have been inconsistent with the ordering of English (German) and German (English).
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What's happening around town (Wed, Sep 18th - Tue, Sep 24th)

Oklahoma City's event list.

Wednesday, Sep 18th

Thursday, Sep 19th

  • The 3 Redneck Tenors - A Musical Adventure (OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 7:30pm This comedic adventure, written by opera-veteran Matthew Lord with music arranged by award-wining composer Craig Bohmler, has been said to be the closest you'll…
  • Art Awakening (NorthCare - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 4:30pm Explore the arts on display at NorthCare in Oklahoma City during Art Awakening. This local arts show consists of unique…
  • 🎡 Chickasaw Country Entertainment Stage featuring Easton Corbin (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 7:30pm With two No. 1 singles, 7 Top 10 singles and multiple awards and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world including performing…
  • Easton Corbin in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before Easton Corbin performs live for the crowd. Fans can experience…
  • 😂 Erik Knowles (Loony Bin Comedy Club - Oklahoma City) Thru Sat, Sep 21st
  • Frost/Nixon (Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Sep 22nd Take an exciting look at the post-Watergate television interviews as Lyric Theatre presents: Frost/Nixon. This engaging…
  • 🍴 Hispanic Heritage Month: Comida y Musica (Norman Public Library - Norman) Start Time: 6:00pm ¡Únete con nosotros para una noche divertida de comida y música en la Biblioteca Purcell! Tendremos un DJ que tocará canciones geniales y tendremos una…
  • 🎨 Love's Third Thursday (Oklahoma City Museum of Art - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 5:00pm Love's Third Thursdays are special, creating the perfect opportunity to mingle at the Museum with friends, experience something new, and enjoy the Museum’s…
  • Oklahoma State Fair (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Sep 22nd Make your way to the Oklahoma State Fair and celebrate the end of summer with endless carnival rides, delicious fair food…
  • Pathway to Home Ownership (Norman Public Library - Norman) Start Time: 6:00pm Are you dreaming of owning your own home, but have questions about qualifying for a home loan? Join us as we learn about the first step to home…
  • Rigby Summer & Ed Dupas (The Blue Door - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • Season-opening gala for the Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series (University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma - Chickasha) Start Time: 7:30pm Join us Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. when Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame inductee Justin Echols helps to kick off the 19th season of the University of Science…
  • 🎓 Teachers Ladies’ Night Out (The Melting Pot - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 5:00pm Bring your favorite teacher friends to The Melting Pot for an epic evening of 1/2 off a four-course Classic fondue with teacher ID, conversation, and more…
  • 🎓 Teachers ½ to eat, too! (The Melting Pot - Oklahoma City) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 5:00pm Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal. Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and…
  • 🎨 Teen Anime Night (Guthrie Library - Guthrie) Start Time: 6:00pm We will choose between three anime and partake in snackage. @[139181842792560:274:The City of Guthrie, OK - Municipal Government]…
  • Teen College Application Week (Guthrie Library - Guthrie) 1 day left Start Time: 4:00pm Come into the library to use the computers to fill out and application to your top choice of colleges. Be sure to bring your Social Security Number and a…
  • 🏆 UCO Hockey vs Maryville (University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond) Start Time: 7:30pm

Friday, Sep 20th

  • 3 Point Contest at Together Square (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 6:00pm Lace-up your basketball shoes and make your way to Together Square on September 20th to compete in the first-ever Together Square 3 Point Shootout. Contestants…
  • 3rd Friday Block pARTy (Celebration Of Life Park - Shawnee) Come join the fun at Shawnee's Downtown Block Party in Celebration of Life park located in historic downtown Shawnee.…
  • An Evening With Labrys (The Paramount OKC - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • The Barber of Seville (Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City) Experience one of opera's most beloved performances at Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City, as Painted Sky Opera…
  • Buddy Guy in Concert (Riverwind Casino - Norman) Start Time: 8:00pm Legendary blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy is bringing his iconic sounds to Riverwind Casino in Norman. Known for his…
  • 🎡 Chickasaw Country Entertainment Stage featuring Dru Hill (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 7:30pm Fans can expect a riveting performance from the renowned group Dru Hill at the Oklahoma State Fair. This group of four has created a name for itself in the R&B…
  • Deep Purple (Firelake Arena - Shawnee) Start Time: 6:30pm
  • 🎨 Dirty Red (Hollywood Corners Station LLC - Norman) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • Dru Hill in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before the evening performance by R&B group Dru Hill. Since the…
  • 😂 Erik Knowles (Loony Bin Comedy Club - Oklahoma City) 1 day left
  • Frost/Nixon (Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Sep 22nd Take an exciting look at the post-Watergate television interviews as Lyric Theatre presents: Frost/Nixon. This engaging…
  • Linda Davis in Concert (The Sooner Theatre - Norman) Start Time: 7:00pm
  • Live Music on the Canal (Lower Bricktown - Oklahoma City) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 6:00pm Produced and Organized, Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co. presents an all Oklahoma- all Original Music festival located in Brick town. This is a free event for the…
  • Locust Avenue (Opolis - Norman) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • The Messthetics (89th Street Collective - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 7:30pm The Messthetics with locals TBA This show is all ages. Tickets are $10 in advance at ticketstorm.com, charge by phone 18669661777, purchase hard copy tickets at…
  • Midland in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before Midland performs live for the crowd. Hear the Midland trio…
  • The Midnight in Concert (Tower Theatre Studio - Oklahoma City) Head to the historic Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City to hear new music by synthwave band The Midnight. An unlikely duo,…
  • Monarch Tagging Walk-Ups (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 2:00pm Friday, September 20, 2-3pm Children’s Garden Porch FREE With the crisp air of autumn on its way, our gardens are filled with the vibrant beauty of Monarch…
  • The Musical Swings (Bicentennial Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Oct 13th Make your own music at Bicentennial Park during The Musical Swings exhibit. This interactive public art installation in…
  • New Years Day | OKC (Diamond Ballroom - Oklahoma City) Don't miss your chance to hear New Years Day on their Unbreakable Tour with special guests Ded, a fresh metal…
  • Nolatet live at The Deli (The Deli - Norman) Start Time: 7:00pm Nolatet out of New Orleans with roots in Texas and Oklahoma makes a special early show appearance at The Deli! Nolatet features Mike Dillon and Brian Haas.…
  • Oklahoma State Fair (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Sep 22nd Make your way to the Oklahoma State Fair and celebrate the end of summer with endless carnival rides, delicious fair food…
  • 🎓 Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorneys Meetup (Oklahoma City) Start Time: 9:00am Come and have drinks and share personal injury case stories with other lawyers in Oklahoma City. We are professional network of legal professionals comprised of…
  • PRCA Xtreme Bulls & Broncs (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Day 1 of 2 Grab a seat in the Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fair, and witness a thrilling series of competitive rodeo events.…
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (The Boom - Oklahoma City) Thru Thu, Oct 31st The Boom, a combination club and live entertainment venue in Oklahoma City, puts on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture…
  • The South Austin Moonlighters (The Blue Door - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • Stone River Music Festival (Chandler) Thru Sun, Sep 22nd Gear up for a weekend full of music and fun at the annual Stone River Music Festival near Chandler. Held on 40 acres of…
  • 🏃 Tai Chi and SAIL Classes Stay Active & Independent for Life: Wednesdays and Fridays (Edmond Senior Center - Edmond) Start Time: 1:30pm Come join us for these free exercise programs. Tai Chi class is one of the most effective exercises for the health of mind and body. SAIL (STAYING ACTIVE AND…
  • Teen College Application Week (Guthrie Library - Guthrie) Last Day Start Time: 4:00pm Come into the library to use the computers to fill out and application to your top choice of colleges. Be sure to bring your Social Security Number and a…
  • Tommy Emmanuel in Concert (Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center - Midwest City) Legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel is heading to Midwest City. Don't miss a legendary night of acoustic solo guitar. See…
  • Tommy Emmanuel in Oklahoma City, OK (RSC @ OKC Innovation Station - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 8:00pm Special Guest: Joe Robinson Tickets are $32.50, $45.00 & $55.00 | $5.00 increase day of show. Password pre-sale begins Wednesday, February 27 at 10AM CST and…
  • Tommy Emmanuel in Oklahoma City, OK (Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center - Midwest City) Start Time: 8:00pm Special Guest: Joe Robinson Tickets are $32.50, $45.00 & $55.00 | $5.00 increase day of show. Password pre-sale begins Wednesday, February 27 at 10AM...
  • United Way Day of Caring 2019 (United Way of Norman - Norman)
  • Wheeler Summer Music Series (Oklahoma City) Gather under the Wheeler Ferris Wheel lights as local bands take the stage this summer in Oklahoma City. Make plans to…

Saturday, Sep 21st

  • 7th Annual Charity Car Show (The Yellow Rose Dinner Theatre - Moore) Start Time: 10:00am Charity Car show benefiting children in need at Christmas time. Event starts at 10 AM. Pre- Registration is $20. Day of Show is $25. Food, Prizes, raffles and more
  • Body Worx Car Show (Mineral Wells Park - Guthrie) Start Time: 8:00am Head to Guthrie to inspect the shiny and well-recognized cars on display. During the Body Worx Car Show, guests can…
  • Camp Out OKC (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 6:00pm Sponsored by
    Saturday, September 21 through Sunday, September 22, 6pm-8am The Devon Lawn and Bandshell $65 per family of 4 plus $10 per additional person (BYOT…
  • Cowboy Days (Hope retreat ranch - Choctaw) Head to Hope Retreat Ranch for the annual Cowboy Days event in celebration of full-fledged family fun. This Choctaw…
  • David Feherty (Riverwind Casino - Norman) Golf fans can experience the humor of Irish legend David Feherty live as he embarks on his "Feherty - Live Off…
  • Easy Plant Propagation (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 1:00pm Saturday, September 21, 1pm The Garden Classroom Member $18; Nonmember $24 Courtney Keck, Canadian County Extension Register by Tuesday, September 17 REGISTER…
  • 😂 Erik Knowles (Loony Bin Comedy Club - Oklahoma City) Last Day
  • Fall Festival (Orr Family Farm Event Barn - Oklahoma City) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Celebrate all things autumn at the Fall Festival at Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City. Go through the maze, ride on a…
  • Edmond Farmer's Market (Festival Marketplace - Edmond) Start Time: 8:00am
  • FireLake Casino Car Show (Firelake Casino - Shawnee) Admire the timeless designs of classic cars at the FireLake Casino Car Show in Shawnee. The FireLake Casino Car Show…
  • Fort Reno Historic Spirit Tour (Historic Fort Reno - El Reno) Come along on an exciting and spooky ghost tour at El Reno's historic Spirit Tour. The Spirit Tour includes plenty…
  • Tecumseh Frontier Days (Downtown - Tecumseh) The annual Tecumseh Frontier Days celebration is a tribute to Tecumseh's land run that took place in September of…
  • Frost/Nixon (Civic Center Music Hall - Oklahoma City) 1 day left Take an exciting look at the post-Watergate television interviews as Lyric Theatre presents: Frost/Nixon. This engaging…
  • Happily Ever Laughter - OKC Improv (Plaza District - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 7:00pm Join OKC Improv for a night of fun and laughs as we take it back to high school!
  • Guthrie Haunts (4524 Riverside Cir - Guthrie) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Visit Guthrie Haunts for a terrifying Halloween experience that's full of scary fun. This haunted house is sure to…
  • Heard on Hurd (Edmond) From March to October, downtown Edmond hosts a pop-up community celebration called Heard on Hurd on the third Saturday of…
  • Hennessey Wine & Chocolate Festival (45th Infantry Division Memorial Park - Kingfisher) Get a glimpse of Oklahoma wine making at the Hennessey Wine & Chocolate Festival. This annual event invites visitors to…
  • HERPS OKC Exotic Reptile and Pet Show (Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center - Shawnee) Start Time: 10:00am The HERPShow is coming back to Oklahoma! Join us on September 21st and 22nd for your chance to purchase some of the most exotic reptiles and pets on the planet,…
  • 🏆 Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live (Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 12:30pm Children ages 2 and up must have a ticket. Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live brings everyone's favorit Hot Wheels monster trucks to life, combining Hot Wheels'…
  • 🎡 India Food Festival (Wiley Post Park - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 3:00pm India Food Festival is a free family event hosted by India Association Of Oklahoma (IAOK) featuring various vendors from different regions of India and…
  • 🏃 Like A Boss Mud Run (Central Oklahoma Camp - Guthrie) Whether you are a Mud Run addict or just want something fun to do, here's your chance to test your stamina and agility as you make your way through our groves…
  • Live Music on the Canal (Lower Bricktown - Oklahoma City) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 6:00pm Produced and Organized, Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co. presents an all Oklahoma- all Original Music festival located in Brick town. This is a free event for the…
  • 🏃 Miles Against Melanoma (Mitch Park - Edmond) Miles Against Melanoma is a national organization that began in 2010. Our mission is to provide the public with education regarding the extreme damaging effects…
  • The Musical Swings (Bicentennial Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Oct 13th Make your own music at Bicentennial Park during The Musical Swings exhibit. This interactive public art installation in…
  • Night Ranger in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before Night Ranger performs live for the crowd. Fans can experience a…
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  • Oklahoma State Fair (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) 1 day left Make your way to the Oklahoma State Fair and celebrate the end of summer with endless carnival rides, delicious fair food…
  • OU Aviation Festival (Max Westheimer Airport - Norman) Start Time: 9:00am The OU Aviation Festival at the Max Westheimer Airport in Norman is sure to be fun for everyone and especially for plane…
  • PRCA Xtreme Bulls & Broncs (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Day 2 of 2 Grab a seat in the Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fair, and witness a thrilling series of competitive rodeo events.…
  • Puppy Pawlooza (Edmond) Head to Puppy Paws Salon & Spa in Edmond for the Puppy Pawlooza event, featuring a thrilling dog parade. This…
  • 🏃 Redman Triathlon Multisport Weekend (Stars & Stripes Park - Oklahoma City) Oklahoma means REDMAN & REDMAN means a flat, very fast course & ease of access, all combined with service & support that will exceed the expectations of the…
  • Guthrie Road Celebration Car Show (Mineral Wells Park - Guthrie) Head to the beautiful and shady Mineral Wells Park for the 36th annual Guthrie Road Celebration Car Show, a celebration…
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (The Boom - Oklahoma City) Thru Thu, Oct 31st The Boom, a combination club and live entertainment venue in Oklahoma City, puts on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture…
  • 🏃 Rotary Road Rally (Reaves Park - Norman) Cap off a great summer season with a fall classic touring event in Norman, showcasing some of the best cycling roads in Central Oklahoma.
  • Scotty McCreery in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before Scotty McCreery performs live for the crowd. Scotty…
  • Sprouting Chefs: Pumpkins and Apples and Fall (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 10:00am Sponsored by Sprouts Saturday, September 21, 10-11am The Garden Classroom Member $10; Nonmember $12 Donna Jung, FCS Extension Educator with Canadian County For…
  • Stone River Music Festival (Chandler) 1 day left Gear up for a weekend full of music and fun at the annual Stone River Music Festival near Chandler. Held on 40 acres of…
  • Summer’s End Floral Design (Myriad Botanical Gardens - Oklahoma City) Start Time: 1:00pm Saturday, September 21, 1-2pm Children’s Garden Porch Member $8; Nonmember $10 Best for ages 7 to 11 REGISTER HERE As summer draws to a close and we prepare…
  • 🏃 Swazi 5K (Southern Nazarene University campus (NW ) - Bethany) Participants can either walk or run the 5k (3.1 miles) starting at 9 a.m.
    www.swazipartners.org
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Sunday, Sep 22nd

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    Located in the Midtown District at Perle Mesta…
  • The Musical Swings (Bicentennial Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Oct 13th Make your own music at Bicentennial Park during The Musical Swings exhibit. This interactive public art installation in…
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  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (The Boom - Oklahoma City) Thru Thu, Oct 31st The Boom, a combination club and live entertainment venue in Oklahoma City, puts on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture…
  • Stone River Music Festival (Chandler) Last Day Gear up for a weekend full of music and fun at the annual Stone River Music Festival near Chandler. Held on 40 acres of…
  • Tony Lewis in Concert (Oklahoma State Fair Park - Oklahoma City) Spend the afternoon exploring the Oklahoma State Fair before Tony Lewis performs live for the crowd. Fans can experience a…
  • Uptown Fun(5K) (Uptown 23rd - Oklahoma City) Grab your running gear and head out on this fun 5K run through the tree-lined streets of historic Mesta Park and…

Monday, Sep 23rd

  • Fall Festival (Orr Family Farm Event Barn - Oklahoma City) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Celebrate all things autumn at the Fall Festival at Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City. Go through the maze, ride on a…
  • Guthrie Haunts (4524 Riverside Cir - Guthrie) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Visit Guthrie Haunts for a terrifying Halloween experience that's full of scary fun. This haunted house is sure to…
  • The Musical Swings (Bicentennial Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Oct 13th Make your own music at Bicentennial Park during The Musical Swings exhibit. This interactive public art installation in…
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (The Boom - Oklahoma City) Thru Thu, Oct 31st The Boom, a combination club and live entertainment venue in Oklahoma City, puts on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture…
  • UCO Edmond Jazz Festival (University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond) Thru Sat, Sep 28th Come to the UCO Jazz Lab in Edmond for a music festival you won't want to miss. Presented by the UCO School of…

Tuesday, Sep 24th

  • Fall Festival (Orr Family Farm Event Barn - Oklahoma City) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Celebrate all things autumn at the Fall Festival at Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City. Go through the maze, ride on a…
  • Guthrie Haunts (4524 Riverside Cir - Guthrie) Thru Sat, Nov 9th Visit Guthrie Haunts for a terrifying Halloween experience that's full of scary fun. This haunted house is sure to…
  • The Musical Swings (Bicentennial Park - Oklahoma City) Thru Sun, Oct 13th Make your own music at Bicentennial Park during The Musical Swings exhibit. This interactive public art installation in…
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (The Boom - Oklahoma City) Thru Thu, Oct 31st The Boom, a combination club and live entertainment venue in Oklahoma City, puts on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture…
  • UCO Edmond Jazz Festival (University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond) Thru Sat, Sep 28th Come to the UCO Jazz Lab in Edmond for a music festival you won't want to miss. Presented by the UCO School of…

See Also

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Tourism

Tourism

https://preview.redd.it/34yy4txjoq741.jpg?width=667&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e9b7cba62ee7bb8b8514390d8213b6f3bf0e4ae9
Tourism, the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services. As such, tourism is a product of modern social arrangements, beginning in western Europe in the 17th century, although it has antecedents in Classical antiquity. It is distinguished from exploration in that tourists follow a “beaten path,” benefit from established systems of provision, and, as befits pleasure-seekers, are generally insulated from difficulty, danger, and embarrassment. Tourism, however, overlaps with other activities, interests, and processes, including, for example, pilgrimage. This gives rise to shared categories, such as “business tourism,” “sports tourism,” and “medical tourism” (international travel undertaken for the purpose of receiving medical care).

The Origins Of Tourism

By the early 21st century, international tourism had become one of the world’s most important economic activities, and its impact was becoming increasingly apparent from the Arctic to Antarctica. The history of tourism is therefore of great interest and importance. That history begins long before the coinage of the word tourist at the end of the 18th century. In the Western tradition, organized travel with supporting infrastructure, sightseeing, and an emphasis on essential destinations and experiences can be found in ancient Greece and Rome, which can lay claim to the origins of both “heritage tourism” (aimed at the celebration and appreciation of historic sites of recognized cultural importance) and beach resorts. The Seven Wonders of the World became tourist sites for Greeks and Romans.
Pilgrimage offers similar antecedents, bringing Eastern civilizations into play. Its religious goals coexist with defined routes, commercial hospitality, and an admixture of curiosity, adventure, and enjoyment among the motives of the participants. Pilgrimage to the earliest Buddhist sites began more than 2,000 years ago, although it is hard to define a transition from the makeshift privations of small groups of monks to recognizably tourist practices. Pilgrimage to Mecca is of similar antiquity. The tourist status of the hajj is problematic given the number of casualties that—even in the 21st century—continued to be suffered on the journey through the desert. The thermal spa as a tourist destination—regardless of the pilgrimage associations with the site as a holy well or sacred spring—is not necessarily a European invention, despite deriving its English-language label from Spa, an early resort in what is now Belgium. The oldest Japanese onsen (hot springs) were catering to bathers from at least the 6th century. Tourism has been a global phenomenon from its origins.
Modern tourism is an increasingly intensive, commercially organized, business-oriented set of activities whose roots can be found in the industrial and postindustrial West. The aristocratic grand tour of cultural sites in France, Germany, and especially Italy—including those associated with Classical Roman tourism—had its roots in the 16th century. It grew rapidly, however, expanding its geographical range to embrace Alpine scenery during the second half of the 18th century, in the intervals between European wars. (If truth is historically the first casualty of war, tourism is the second, although it may subsequently incorporate pilgrimages to graves and battlefield sites and even, by the late 20th century, to concentration camps.) As part of the grand tour’s expansion, its exclusivity was undermined as the expanding commercial, professional, and industrial middle ranks joined the landowning and political classes in aspiring to gain access to this rite of passage for their sons. By the early 19th century, European journeys for health, leisure, and culture became common practice among the middle classes, and paths to the acquisition of cultural capital (that array of knowledge, experience, and polish that was necessary to mix in polite society) were smoothed by guidebooks, primers, the development of art and souvenir markets, and carefully calibrated transport and accommodation systems.

Technology And The Democratization Of International Tourism

Transport innovation was an essential enabler of tourism’s spread and democratization and its ultimate globalization. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the steamship and the railway brought greater comfort and speed and cheaper travel, in part because fewer overnight and intermediate stops were needed. Above all else, these innovations allowed for reliable time-tabling, essential for those who were tied to the discipline of the calendar if not the clock. The gaps in accessibility to these transport systems were steadily closing in the later 19th century, while the empire of steam was becoming global. Railways promoted domestic as well as international tourism, including short visits to the coast, city, and countryside which might last less than a day but fell clearly into the “tourism” category. Rail travel also made grand tour destinations more widely accessible, reinforcing existing tourism flows while contributing to tensions and clashes between classes and cultures among the tourists. By the late 19th century, steam navigation and railways were opening tourist destinations from Lapland to New Zealand, and the latter opened the first dedicated national tourist office in 1901.
After World War II, governments became interested in tourism as an invisible import and as a tool of diplomacy, but prior to this time international travel agencies took the lead in easing the complexities of tourist journeys. The most famous of these agencies was Britain’s Thomas Cook and Son organization, whose operations spread from Europe and the Middle East across the globe in the late 19th century. The role played by other firms (including the British tour organizers Frame’s and Henry Gaze and Sons) has been less visible to 21st-century observers, not least because these agencies did not preserve their records, but they were equally important. Shipping lines also promoted international tourism from the late 19th century onward. From the Norwegian fjords to the Caribbean, the pleasure cruise was already becoming a distinctive tourist experience before World War I, and transatlantic companies competed for middle-class tourism during the 1920s and ’30s. Between the World Wars, affluent Americans journeyed by air and sea to a variety of destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Tourism became even bigger business internationally in the latter half of the 20th century as air travel was progressively deregulated and decoupled from “flag carriers” (national airlines). The airborne package tour to sunny coastal destinations became the basis of an enormous annual migration from northern Europe to the Mediterranean before extending to a growing variety of long-haul destinations, including Asian markets in the Pacific, and eventually bringing postcommunist Russians and eastern Europeans to the Mediterranean. Similar traffic flows expanded from the United States to Mexico and the Caribbean. In each case these developments built on older rail-, road-, and sea-travel patterns. The earliest package tours to the Mediterranean were by motor coach (bus) during the 1930s and postwar years. It was not until the late 1970s that Mediterranean sun and sea vacations became popular among working-class families in northern Europe; the label “mass tourism,” which is often applied to this phenomenon, is misleading. Such holidays were experienced in a variety of ways because tourists had choices, and the destination resorts varied widely in history, culture, architecture, and visitor mix. From the 1990s the growth of flexible international travel through the rise of budget airlines, notably easyJet and Ryanair in Europe, opened a new mix of destinations. Some of these were former Soviet-bloc locales such as Prague and Riga, which appealed to weekend and short-break European tourists who constructed their own itineraries in negotiation with local service providers, mediated through the airlines’ special deals. In international tourism, globalization has not been a one-way process; it has entailed negotiation between hosts and guests.
Day-Trippers And Domestic Tourism
While domestic tourism could be seen as less glamorous and dramatic than international traffic flows, it has been more important to more people over a longer period. From the 1920s the rise of Florida as a destination for American tourists has been characterized by “snowbirds” from the northern and Midwestern states traveling a greater distance across the vast expanse of the United States than many European tourists travel internationally. Key phases in the pioneering development of tourism as a commercial phenomenon in Britain were driven by domestic demand and local journeys. European wars in the late 18th and early 19th centuries prompted the “discovery of Britain” and the rise of the Lake District and Scottish Highlands as destinations for both the upper classes and the aspiring classes. The railways helped to open the seaside to working-class day-trippers and holidaymakers, especially in the last quarter of the 19th century. By 1914 Blackpool in Lancashire, the world’s first working-class seaside resort, had around four million visitors per summer. Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, had more visitors by this time, but most were day-trippers who came from and returned to locations elsewhere in the New York City area by train the same day. Domestic tourism is less visible in statistical terms and tends to be serviced by regional, local, and small family-run enterprises. The World Tourism Organization, which tries to count tourists globally, is more concerned with the international scene, but across the globe, and perhaps especially in Asia, domestic tourism remains much more important in numerical terms than the international version.

A Case Study: The Beach Holiday

Much of the post-World War II expansion of international tourism was based on beach holidays, which have a long history. In their modern, commercial form, beach holidays are an English invention of the 18th century, based on the medical adaptation of popular sea-bathing traditions. They built upon the positive artistic and cultural associations of coastal scenery for societies in the West, appealing to the informality and habits and customs of maritime society. Later beach holiday destinations incorporated the sociability and entertainment regimes of established spa resorts, sometimes including gambling casinos. Beach holidays built on widespread older uses of the beach for health, enjoyment, and religious rites, but it was the British who formalized and commercialized them. From the late 18th and early 19th centuries, beach resorts spread successively across Europe and the Mediterranean and into the United States, then took root in the European-settled colonies and republics of Oceania, South Africa, and Latin America and eventually reached Asia.
Beach holiday environments, regulations, practices, and fashions mutated across cultures as sunshine and relaxation displaced therapy and convention. Coastal resorts became sites of conflict over access and use as well as over concepts of decency and excess. Beaches could be, in acceptably exciting ways, liminal frontier zones where the usual conventions could be suspended. (Not just in Rio de Janeiro have beaches become carnivalesque spaces where the world has been temporarily turned upside down.) Coastal resorts could also be dangerous and challenging. They could become arenas for class conflict, starting with the working-class presence at the 19th-century British seaside, where it took time for day-trippers from industrial towns to learn to moderate noisy, boisterous behaviour and abandon nude bathing. Beaches were also a prime location for working out economic, ethnic, “racial,” or religious tensions, such as in Mexico, where government-sponsored beach resort developments from the 1970s displaced existing farming communities. In South Africa the apartheid regime segregated the beaches, and in the Islamic world locals sustained their own bathing traditions away from the tourist beaches.
The beach is only the most conspicuous of many distinctive settings to attract a tourist presence and generate a tourism industry, but its history illustrates many general points about tradition, diffusion, mutation, and conflict. Tourism has also made use of history, as historic sites attract cultural tourists and collectors of iconic images. Indigenous peoples can sometimes profit from the marketability of their customs, and even the industrial archaeology of tourism itself is becoming good business, with historically significant hotels, transport systems, and even amusement park rides becoming popular destinations. Heritage and authenticity are among the many challenging and compromised attributes that tourism uses to market the intangible wares that it appropriates. The global footprint of tourism—its economic, environmental, demographic, and cultural significance—was already huge at the beginning of the 20th century and continues to grow exponentially. As the body of literature examining this important industry continues to expand, historical perspectives will develop further.
Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/tourism
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SHOT Show 2019/My tales of adventure in Las Vegas

PART ONE OF FIVE
So, you wanna go to SHOT show? You think it's all fun and games? Get to play with guns? See Jesse James and James Yeager? SHOT show is the annual pilgrimage of the unwashed masses to Las Vegas to rub elbows with youtube celebrities, bloggers and overseas businessmen copying US made equipment and share infectious disease.
If you love guns, gambling and gonorrhea - SHOT show is for you! It is not my typical idea of a good time. I am not a big fan of Las Vegas.
However: I do attend for a few reasons. First, I do enjoy travel and I'm gold on UA so I can usually score an upgrade. Second, industry people are in there that I do hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars with business with so it's nice to put a face with the name and see what deals are out there. SHOT for me has been a bust for the past few years. Being a value guy, I want to buy at $1000 and sell at $3000 and as of recently the gun business is more like buy for $1 and sell for $1.10 if you get what I mean.
We used to do business at SHOT and now it's just checking in on foursquare, instagram and rubbing elbows with bloggers and the like. I want to make money, not spend money so this is very annoying to me.
Anyways, onto the play by play.
Saturday, January 19th. Three days before SHOT show.
I talk a friend of mine to drive me to the airport after I drop my F350 at the body shop. I had a hit and run and someone totally fucked up all my paint and clearcoat. My guy says he can get it done while I'm gone for SHOT so I hitch a ride with a friend and pick up the tab for lunch. We have brisket. It is delicious. I get to the airport 3 hours early for my flight just in case the TSA line is a shitshow thanks to, well TSA. The government shutdown is not helping these folks. I have pre check and much to my surprise I breeze right through after a brief 3 minute wait.
I slog my way to the lounge, as shitty as it is to wait for my winged chariot to IAH. I have gone from being in an abusive relationship with AA to being in an abusive relationship with UA. Although if you really want to experience the battered spouse feeling, NK is a few gates over.
I board my flight to IAH and my Renton assembled chariot is on time and boarding early. The hate agent scans my pass and the alarms go off and spits off a new boarding pass. I have been upgraded to first class. You all will be turning right, I will be turning left once I pass the threshold of 2L on this old 757. I'll take a cleared upgrade at the gate any day of the week considering that I am 29/53 for Bush to LAX.
Fuck my life.
I gate check my bags to make life easier for me and the rest of the folks riding with me. If I don't have to worry about being short on time at my destination, I like to gate check to free up bins for those who are not as fortunate. Eventually I board and ask the FA to say hi to the captain and get a ride report. She says no problem. I step down into the 757 flight deck and take some selfies with the crew. They appreciate my aviation nerdery. They tell me that there will be light chop all over texas today and we're going to have some bumps so strap in and don't be a hero.
Having brightened the day of the flight crew, I head back to my lie flat window seat, fully recline and kick back and relax by listening to channel 9 on the IFE. It's disabled. Fuck. I put on a movie and watch the delightful Tag with the always excellent Jon Hamm, Ed Helms and others. It's a good movie and made me laugh. Just as we get to the gate the credits roll.
We land at Bush right on time but I have a 59 minute spa layover I had planned OR I can go to Landrys with my priory pass and get some blackened snapper. Do I hightail it to the Centurion lounge in terminal D, my home away from home? Or go for fresh grilled seafood?
This centurion lounge does not have a spa. Fuck it, lets go cajun. I walk over to Landrys and order the blackened snapper. It is delicious. The kitchen is a little behind so they box it up the rest of it for me to take on the plane which they don't have to do and I leave the waitress a nice tip. I am sweating from the blackened seasoning. I don't care. NOM NOM NOM. Fish is delish.
They have already started boarding to LAX as I walk up to the gate. I ask the hate agent if there's any upgrades. She says first is checked in full and we are 100% packed to LAX today. I thank her and board my bulkhead seat to LAX with my blackened snapper in one hand and personal item in the other.
Giving the FA a friendly nod, I ask to say hi to the captain and she says no way boss, we're busy - sit down and shut up.
Rude.
The boarding door closes for an on time departure and I watch another classic - Wall Street!
I polish off the blackened snapper, dirty rice and green beans. Charlie Sheen before he went crazy was a pretty good actor. He's so dreamy. I'm sweating profusely from the blackened seasoning and get up to throw away my trash because I didn't want the other guys in coach to have to do it for me. I walk right up to the forward galley into Bitchy McBitchface who woke up on the wrong side of life starts telling me to use the coach lavatory. I tell her I just wanted to throw some trash away and she gave me more attitude than a sassy black woman working at the DMV.
Listen lady, if you don't wanna be dealing with trash - maybe you shouldn't be working for United, eh?
I take my seat and I fall asleep on the way to LA. The ride is smoother than my nephew's 16 month old ass. The flight was not long enough. The landing is a perfect grease job on 24R and the only thing awakening me from my slumber is the reversers on the 737 Max. I pull my headset out so I can tune in LAX ground on LiveATC just as we make the left for taxiway Alpha/Alpha. I see the taxiway signs out of the corner of my window and start the feed just as I hear the ding.
ding
What I'm expecting: Welcome to Los Angeles where the local time is 5:55. Your Houston based flight crew would like to thank you for flying United and your baggage will be at carousel (integer)
What I heard from a clearly panic stricken FA: IF THERE IS A DOCTOR OR ANYONE WITH MEDICAL TRAINING ON BOARD PLEASE RING YOUR CALL BUTTON.
Everyone wants to be a hero until it's time to do hero shit.
I reach up and press the button and a single chime tells the FA that row 9 pressed button.
ding
FA: If you are a doctor or have medical training please head to the rear galley immediately.
I dumped my phone in my seat. (This was my first mistake. I'll tell you why later.)
Shit. It's go time. The passengers next to me are soundly asleep and it's a full flight, so I unbuckle my belt and turnstile jump over the two of them making a resounding thud onto the cabin floor.
I promptly walked with a purpose to the rear cabin. As I'm heading back I hear someone else walking behind me but I'm focused on the long walk from the bulkhead to the rear galley. I arrive shortly and my immediate impression is that the rear galley is not in good shape.
Oh, the bitchface FA that told me off? She's now profusely thanking me for showing up. Funny how that works isn't it?
There's a woman lying across three jumpseats on oxygen screaming in pain with a clearly experienced physician working on her and checking her out. I am not about to get in his way. Right behind me is a six foot three beast of a man who I can only imagine used to play right wing for Detroit. Doc 1 is working her, there's me and Doc 2 is behind me.
Doc 1 tells us she's got shortness of breath and chest pains.
Doc 2 nods and says he's a trauma surgeon from Cedars Sinai.
Doc 1 tells us he's an internal medicine specialist at UCLA.
Doc 2 asks me what my specialty is.
FC says structural firefighting and making sure you two get everything you need.
Doc 2 looks at the FA and asks if they got an AED on board.
I look up at the nearest overhead and there's an AED in the compartment, I bust it out and hand it to him. They start sizing her up as we taxi down Alpha/Alpha. I stand in the aisle inbetween the two bathroom doors as they do their thing ready to help out.
(FC breaks the fourth wall)
FOR THE UNINITIATED: United is in terminals 7/8 on the south side of LAX. When you land next to In-and-Out Burger on Sepuldeva you're on the north side of the field. It's easily a 20 minute ride to get from one side of the airport to another when they're busy. Prime time for LAX is 1800hrs because you have all the morning flights from the east and the afternoon flights from the central time zone arriving.
When you have a medical emergency and time is a factor, a 20 minute ride to the gate is what we call sub optimal. There's hard stand/remote gates at LAX on the northwest side of the field surface street adjacent that you can get to a lot faster than a long haul around the airport. If you give me a choice of going to the hard stand and meeting the ambulance or taking a 15-20 minute taxi during rush hour to a UA staffed ramp - I will GLADLY take to the hard stand, shut down and start em up. Yes, it's going to inconvenience a plane full of people for 20 minutes for you to unload, restart and taxi back. No, I give zero fucks.
My mistake was leaving my phone behind. Had I had it with me, I would have known we were going long way around and applied some intervention techniques to get things moving faster. I had no idea where we were.
(Cut to present)
Doc 1 managed the best he could and the lady said inbetween raspy breaths that she was going to start vomiting from the pain. Doc calls for a bag. The FA takes the safety equipment bag, the one holding the lifevest, seatbelt extender and oxygen mask and empties it.
OH FOR FUCKS SAKE. I reach over to the nearest passenger, pull all the contents of the seatback out, dump it on the floor and hand doc 1 a United brand official airsick bag. Just as I do this and I step back, the plane rapidly slows down and begins to turn.
(FC breaks the fourth wall again)
I used the term suboptimal earlier, and this is going to be a theme for the rest of the trip. Boeing in their infinite wisdom decided to stretch a 737 design and call it the MAX instead of doing a clean sheet. Three FA's, two doctors, me, and our lady experiencing chest pains are in the rear galley all not wearing seatbelts. All but the patient are standing. We are something like 80 feet behind the main landing gear.
Inertia is not our friend today. I start falling and I grab the only thing I can on the way down: the door handle to the lavatory.
(Cut to present)
Next thing I know, I've experienced what the FAA would probably term a "Lavatory Incursion" - and I wonder where my life has gone wrong as my knee has hit the toilet bowl. I get back up and prop a hand up on the cabin ceiling just to steady myself for the rest of the ride to the gate.
I look towards the front of the plane and notice something. Some fuckwit in row 29 is livestreaming this on instagram or some crap. Are you fucking shitting me? I lean over to the purser and tell her that while Doc 1 and 2 are fixing her, I'm gonna go do some fixing of my own about 10 rows up. My resting bitch face is on point right now as I walk up to the tactless millennial inconsiderate smartphone user and get ready to fix this problem in a way honed by years of catholic school, brute force and dealing with shithead customers.
FC: Just what do you think you're doing?
1: I'm livestreaming this on twitter. It's my right.
FC: You're gonna delete whatever you filmed right now.
1: Or what are you gonna do about it?
FC: You see that FA over there? The one that looks like she's not taking any shit from anybody today? I'm gonna ask her for the intercom, I'm gonna call the captain and my friends over at the LAPD are gonna haul your ass in front of a judge and the next place you're gonna be livestreaming from is the back of a police car. And let me tell you something you might not know. There's two ways to enjoy LA Jail on a Saturday night. One's a Richard Pryor album. The other's when a skinny inked up ginger white boy like you walks in. Give me that goddamn phone.
I'm handed the phone and I delete the video as I walk back to the rear galley and put it in my back pocket. People are now asking if they're gonna make their connections and shit and I tell them to shut up, we've got more important things going on. As I walk back I peek through the windows seeing nothing but darkness. How long does it take to get to the gate? And even then, is there an ambulance waiting there?
What the fuck is happening? Where the fuck are we?
I ask Bitch McBitchface how long these symptoms have been going on. Apparently this issue had just arisen upon landing. Doc 1 asks for a stethoscope. I pull down the first aid kit from the compartment. It requires keys. The cabin crew has to find the keys for the first aid kit. I'm eventually handed a key and bust out a stethoscope for the doc. I peer out the window of the rearmost seats looking for signs of a gate, ambulance or anything I can reference to figure out where we are - the tower, a 777 tail which would tell me we are nearing the international terminal.....nothing but darkness.
This is not good.
Doc keeps the O2 flowing as we are all standing there helpless waiting for the plane to get to the ambulance or vice versa. The cabin crew asks how they're going to get her off the plane.
FC: Well she's in no condition to walk, can you get the rampers to put air stairs on 2L and take her off that way? It would be easier and optimal.
FA: I don't think we are able to do that
(It is at this point I think I smell toast. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T DO THAT? GET ON THE INTERCOM AND TELL THE CAPTAIN THAT THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE HER OFF THE PLANE VIA 2L AND STAIRS WTF)
I get that what is happening is clearly exceeding the crew's training but this is.....bad. Eventually we arrive at the gate and the fine folks at Station 51 from LAFD EMS arrive. The EMT sizes it up and calls for an aisle chair to be brought to take her off the plane since she can't walk. (WE HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS THE WHOLE TIME!)
They load her up and I step out of the way into the lavatory, I see them wheel her out through a crack in the door. I take this chance to do a bit from spies like us.
I look to my left and extend my hand. Doctor. I nod. I repeat to the right. They also repeat the bit. We chuckle.
I look towards Doc 2.
FC: Hey Docs, I didn't catch your names. I'm Will. Will Hayden.
Doc 2: George, George Rodriguez.
FC: Good work there Dr Rodriguez. Thanks for helping out.
Doc 2: We're doctors. It's what we do.
Doc 1: Hiya Will, I'm Charlie Fong.
FC: Nice work today Dr Fong. Thank you for showing up.
We start walking back to our seats as I snort out a laugh.
FC: So, Dr Fong.....I guess it's safe to say that United has successfully smoothed things over with the Asian physician community?
The doc's have a two Mississippi awkward pause as they begun laughing hysterically. Please, tip your waitresses. Try the veal. I'm here all night. Tactless millennial asks me to return phone, and I hand it back as we walk back to our seats.
EMS clears the plane, captain tells people that they can now leave and a cacophony of seat belt buckles pierces the high pitched drone that is a 737 sitting at the gate without engines running on shore power.
I ask Bitchy if I can see the captain on the way out as she once more thanks me for my service. She stuck her head in, got a nod and let me pass. I asked the captain why we landed on the north side of the field with an onboard medical and why we didn't get priority handling from the ground controller and why the hell it took so long to get to the gate.
His response was staggering.
CA: We didn't even know there was an emergency in the galley until the FA told us. By then we were almost to the terminal.
FC: Are you fucking kidding me?
CA: Nope. By the time we knew something was going on we were already on the ground and almost to the gate.
We talk airplane briefly about the 737 Max, the new jumpseats and I wish them a good rest of the trip. I secretly think he's got to be shitting me.
Being a good aviation nerd, I made mental note to check his work after I got back to the hotel.
I head to the lounge in LAX for a bite to eat, a sprite and some very boring time to myself. Just as I walk into the terminal there's a voicemail from my uncle. My plan for LA was to see my family - and my cousin and his wife who's pregnant with their second kid. I crash at my uncle's house in Pasadena and walk around old town and shop at Vromans Bookstore and enjoy all that Southern California has to offer. It's a good way to spend a weekend. If you ever get a chance, do it. It's fun. I can pay United a shitload of money to fly into McCarran on Monday or I can spend 1/3 of that and go into LAX a few days before and hop over for $45. I love LA.
NEW VOICEMAIL FROM UNCLE LOU: Family emergency, we all have to head to Chicago because Lisa's mom is in the hospital and we can't see you this weekend. You're on your own. I'm on my way to Burbank to catch the last flight to Midway. Talk to you later.
Fuck.
Time for an FC adventure.
I order some food in the lounge and crack open the laptop. One of my customers works for LAFD. I find his personal cell phone number in my sales records.
ring ring
1: Go for Smith
FC: Chief Smith! Will Hayden here! How's that M110 running?
1: Will...holy shit long time no talk. What's going on?
FC: Family bailed on me for this weekend, gotta make my own adventure. You working tomorrow? I'd love to see how LA does things.
1: No, but I have some friends on C shift that are. Let me see who's gonna be around. Let me call you back in 10.
FC: You got it Chief.
I eat and drink and relax and the phone rings back. Chief smith says be at station 9 at 0800 hrs Sunday morning. I say no problem! Thanks! He tells me to check in with the captain of the truck crew and he'll show me around.
While I'm on the laptop I book the marriott in Torrance. It's near the airport and a 25 minute ride to station 9. Little did I know it's next to a goddamn oil refinery and the housekeeping staff have left all the windows to my room open. Ugh. I kick back and take a shower. When I get back, I pulled all the ATC tape from LAX tower, from landing clearance to touchdown to the ground controller handoff to the checkpoint, to the request for medical assistance and timestamped all of it.
The request to LAX ground for EMS was made somewhere on taxiway bravo after passing papa (TBIT) but before Charlie-6. (T7). By that time we were already on the south side of the field and terminal adjacent.
Cabin crew didn't tell the captain to request EMS till we got to the other side of the fucking airport. From the moment I walked up, I had assumed (incorrectly) that prior to the request for medical assistance they would at least have told the captain what was going on. They didn't and he was flying blind. When you do a CPR class the first thing you do is call 911 and ask for an ambulance because it does not matter how much CPR you do if an ambulance never shows up to take you to the hospital.
There's a lesson to be learned here.
When seconds count, the request for EMS is waiting for the plane to get to the terminal to be called.
I knew United wasn't great, but this is to use a southern california term - no bueno.
The Westchester In and Out Burger has a 4x4 with my name on it and it is DELICIOUS. After I finish eating I hop on the hangout with the guys.
Since I've got no plans till morning I decide that it's worth the crazy time and I call u/gunexpert69 and we make plans to hang out at his local watering hole. We then try to pick up some flight attendants at the Doubletree. We fail miserably and call it a night.
Sunday, January 20th. Two days before SHOT show.
My alarm is set for 727AM. It rings, I wash up, jump in the car and put free fallin by Tom Petty on the radio and hop onto 405 south to pick up 110 north. The freeways are empty and I make incredible time downtown. I look down at the address and wonder where the fuck I am going. 7th and San Julian St? I drive around and there are tents on the sidewalk everywhere. This is the closest I have seen to life in a WROL situation. Eventually I find a spot on 7th street, bang on the door and the guys tell me to pull my car into the back lot. I do so and the guys are having breakfast and invite me to sit down and grab a bite.
When in Rome......
I grab some eggs, bacon and a biscuit and the truck captain comes by and says oh you know Smith? Apparently they came up in the same academy class and are old friends. He sticks his head out the door and yells at one of the guys and pantomimes some instructions. I don't speak ASL so I just nod and take it in. He runs down what they're doing today. LA tradition is that weekends are for the boys so they do training on weekends. It's 820AM and they've setup a training scenario and are gonna run it. This looks cool.
One of the guys comes back and hands me a headset, saladbowl and turnout coat. Captain says you're with me in the truck. Gear up.
Uh. What?
CA: Yeah, Chief Smith said you'd be riding along with us today. Right?
FC: LOL! I thought he was just gonna do a station visit. Sure, I'll ride with you guys.
CA: You ever see a TDA before?
FC: I used to be on the engine or the quint so this is gonna be new.
CA: Well, jump in. Lets go.
My ride to LA was a 737 max made in Renton that just came off the line January 17th. My ride to Skid Row was a 100' Pierce Arrow XT Tractor Drawn Aerial that was three years old. I hopped in and we drove around to the training location where the guys were to setup the ladder and pretend like they were venting a roof on a 5 story building. I was told to go shadow the command post as they'd be evaluating the guys and they had a good training day. LA has a good group of people and it shows. They did a post training debrief, simulated a dry hydrant and talked about everything they did, everything they did badly and everything they could do better.
LA has some fantastic people there that are very talented. The guys started putting tools away and rolling hose. I find the captain over on one of the engines and ask him if they need help with anything. He says if you want to help out, we're breaking down that attack line you can drain it.
FC: You guys straight roll to a flat load right?
CA: Yeah. You know hose?
FC: Drivers do it with hose.
CA: LOL! Hadn't heard that one before! Here's some gloves.
He gave me some gloves, I straight rolled three sections of three quarter line and hauled it all back to the engine where I found the truck captain loading hose with his guys. If anyone wants to see where real leadership is, it's helping your guys load hose and pack up tools.
I hook up and look up as I notice their technique. LA flat loads all their attack line, no preconnects. Two guys in the bed dressing and dutching it, one guy on the ground, straight roll between the boots pulling hose straight up into the engine. Gets any residual water out and they can check the gaskets every length. Never seen that done before but it looks like a smooth technique. I hook up the last of their attack line as the guys finish packing up. The bells come in and there's an automatic fire alarm tripped. First call of the morning. We hop over there and its' a false alarm.
The rest of the day is spent with station 9 watching the various indigenous folks of Skid Row do their thing. Station 9 is the busiest fire station in the nation. Before lunch they ran 3 overdoses, 2 stabbings, and a cacophany of crap. I went with them and their ambulance drivers and EMT's really earn every dollar they make working this area. After a quick break for lunch, they start watching the Rams game. Just as it got good, bells came in for another few calls and next thing I knew - the Rams were going to the super bowl and the dinner bell was ringing.
I decided it would be overstaying my welcome to hang out for dinner so I packed up and bought a shirt and told the guys if they ever needed guns to shout at me. Drove over to Grand Central Market to get a bite to eat and then grabbed some in and out burger on my way back to the hotel. txgi is sloshed and in no position to travel after watching the patriots destroy KC.
It's been a crazy day and the beginning of a crazy trip. And it's just getting started.
Monday, January 21st. One day before SHOT Show
I wake up late, grab lunch at the Del Amo mall and do some shopping. My flight to McCarran leaves at 7PM and arrives just after 8PM. Knowing rush hour traffic in LA I decide to leave early and get to the airport at 430. I hightail it to the lounge in TBIT and grab a bite to eat and relax. I'm on an Alaska A320 to McCarran all the way in the back but at least I got a window seat. I stop in on the way to talk to the captain and he asks me a bunch of gun questions. I tell him the VP9 is good to go and he should buy it with his ATP credentials.
The 320 ride to LAS is entirely filled with moderate chop. The airplane is literally banging the side of the plane into my head. It is a miserable flight. We land on time and I am unable to stop at the Centurion lounge for a bite and a drink because it's closed for renovations.
I grab my bags and pick up my badge for SHOT Show at the airport and jump on the shuttle bus to Hertz. I reserved a compact knowing I'd need to be in and out of a tight parking garage. I get to my assigned spot, spot 13 and there's a fullsize Chevy Suburban there.
What the fuck is this?
I throw my bags inside, jump in and drive right up to the Gold Member service area.
FC: The lady on the phone asked me compact, midsize or fullsize - WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?
Hertz: That's the Hertz Love Wagon! Think of all the ladies you can drive around in this!
FC: DO I LOOK LIKE A GODDAMN LYFT FOR WORKING GIRLS?
It is at this point where I learn something.
The best part about Vegas is anything crazy or unbelievable can be explained or justified by shrugging your shoulders, opening your palms upward and saying "It's Vegas!"
Hertz: It's Vegas!
FC: I am not driving (gesticulates widlly) THIS into the parking garage of the Palazzo for 4 days straight!
Hertz is not impressed with my pantomime.
They find me a brand new 2019 Honda Pilot with 19 miles on it. I hightail it up the highway to Circus Circus. Check in line is totally deserted. I am able to haul my bags up and get keys in 3 minutes flat. That's gotta be a fucking record.
Just as I arrive at my room I decide to send Rusty Shackleford a picture of me looking grumpy in front of the hertz love wagon.
RS: ARE YOU IN VEGAS?!?!?!??!?!?
FC: YES!!!! WHY ARE WE YELLING?!?!?!??!?
(image of Rusty coming down the escalator with the sign behind him that says WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS in the background)
FC: Oh dear god. I just got to the hotel to dump off my bags, you want a ride? I can be there in 20.
RS: Nah man we just landed a few min ago I was gonna take an uber
FC: By the time you get to the rideshare area it'll be 20 minutes. I can be there by the time you get to the curb. Seriously.
RS: LOL okay head over!
I look at my watch. Las Vegas Blvd traffic on a monday night? This isn't gonna work. I grab my coat and run back to the parking garage and tear out of the CC garage tires squealing all the way down. I bang a left onto Sammy Davis Jr Drive and haul ass to Spring mountain where I jump on 15 and get the car up to 100MPH between mandalay bay and 215.
McCarran Airport SUCKS in many regards and the airport pickup is one of them. It's not laid out well at all but it makes the cabbies plenty of money. I find it kinda funny because this year I'm picking up Rusty. Last year I was picking up a coworker of a buddy of mine who needed his SHOT show pass and there was no way to get it to him that night so I just said fuck it, give me the pass and I'll get it to him and drive him to the hotel. The year before, I picked up u/fluffy_butternut.
I guess I am the world's worst uber driver. I like doing the same bit over and over again like beating a dead horse so I can pickup Rusty one of to ways.
A: The classic Las Vegas Airport pickup. Drive to airport and park car on curb. Wait for metro PD to start yelling at you for parking on the sidewalk. Message Rusty to tell him I'm the one parked on the sidewalk.
B: In my best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression: COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE
My calculations were rough but I figured rusty should get to the curb right at the same time as me. If he's there already, we do B. If he's not, I'll do A.
The speed limit in the tunnel under the airport is 55. I'm doing 90. I fly up the ramp to Terminal 1 and tell him that I'll grab him at the American arrivals level. Just as I pull off to the curb to tell him I'm here he tells me he's just walked outside and I look up and see a classically hawaiian shirt standing at the curb. I pull the car forward, stop quickly and do my best Arnold. He laughs and hops in. I take him to his hotel and dump him off at registration as I park the car. I spend 20 minutes parking the car and I walk over to registration to find him still in line. The hotel is packed with people for the convention.
Behind us is a beautiful blonde engineer in town for what I'm guessing is World of Concrete based on the blueprints she's brought with her. I chat her up a bit until I see that she's got a wedding ring on her other hand. We head up to rusty's room where we find a king size bed and a hot tub 5 feet away. You don't even need to leave your bed to drown a hooker if you don't want to.
It's Vegas!
Rusty says lets go down to the casino and lose some money. We head down to the casino and lose some money at the craps table. This trip is not treating me nicely. I tell him I gotta tap out. Show in the morning.
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u/vernazza's unnecessarily long guide to Budapest

Free 30+ page travel guide about Budapest, Hungary and bits of Central Europe. Enjoy!
Information correct as of summer 2020. If you find anything incorrect or would like to make requests, suggestions (or just want to say hi), please do that here! You should also drop by in /budapest to see past questions and to get advice from multiple people.
I would also greatly appreciate your post-trip feedbacks about whether my recommendations worked out for you or not! Restaurants, clubs can undergo radical changes and it's not always possible to keep track of every single one.
The local charity I support is the Hungarian Food Bank Association. For every €1 donated they are able to save €30 worth of perishable food and have it reach underprivileged Hungarian families. If you find this guide useful, please consider donating to them!
Some links use URL-shorteners, so I could track how many of you are using this guide. Nothing fishy waiting for you behind them.
See my suggestions in the comments below about:
===CORONA RESTRICTIONS===
The situation is subject to change momentarily, this information is current as of September 2020. Eastern Europe as a whole has largely been spared from the worst of it, including Hungary, and the risk of transmission is low.
Presently foreigners are banned from entry altogether. Exceptions are in place for people with ties to the country (family members, studies, work, those holding residence permits), and people transiting by car on designated highways.
The situation will be revised monthly, with experts saying the second peak is expected for December-January.
In the country, you need to wear a mask on public transport, inside shops, malls, cinemas, museums. You don't need to wear them inside restaurants, cafes, bars, but they must close by 23.00. Social distancing rules are in place, but largely ignored.
===END OF CORONA RESTRICTIONS===
Hungary has a continental climate with 4 seasons. Summer is the main season, a slightly less busy time to visit is April to mid-June and September to October, but the weather is less predictable. Those uncomfortable with 30+C (>85F) temperatures should visit around then as 35+C (>95F) is not uncommon in the summer. November through March has -5 to 10 (20-50F) and possibly gloomier weather – but fewer tourists.
Currency: the Hungarian Forint (HUF, Ft). Fair exchange rates for Euros is around 330-335Fts, for US Dollars around 300. Only use currency exchanges where the buy/sell spread isn't greater than 5-6Fts for these two currencies!
Citizens of 62 countries do not require a visa to enter the Schengen Area and can stay for maximum 90 days within a rolling 180-day window. See here if you don’t know what that entails. EU member countries that are not members of the Schengen Area are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom, visits to these do not count toward your 90 days. Non-EU countries part of the Schengen Area are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, visits to these do count toward the cap.
Because we both know you want to do your own research, use:
See the city in 4K, or with Rick Steves.
However nothing beats having a physical guidebook in your hand! Lonely Planet has the best and most recent issue.
Read up on the concept of coconut and peach cultures, as sometimes the reserved and distant behaviour of locals can be misinterpreted by ‘peach’ visitors as rudeness – nope!
This is a comprehensive itinerary, but leaves out the best museum of the city: the House of Terror, a solemn museum of the Nazi and Soviet occupation and crackdowns (get the audio guide or be prepared to peruse dozens of pamphlets). There's an attendance limit, so you might need to wait up to 30-45 minutes to get in when it's the busiest. When you are around Deák Ferenc tér, drop by in the Tourinform office (Sütő utca 2., the small street near the church) to stock up on free maps, printed guides of the city. WeLoveBudapest prints a comprehensive and free one every year around June.
I suggest 4 full days to discover Budapest, or 3 faster paced ones. Make it 5-7 if you'd like to make a few daytrips (Szentendre - open-air ethnographic museum, cobblestoned, quaint center, Esztergom - Central Europe's largest cathedral and religious center, Visegrád - medieval castle, Eger - medieval castle and wine region). Most of Hungary’s highlights can be visited in 2 weeks. For more details on countryside and international trips, see my comment below.
Meal times and habits are typical to central Europe: breakfast is usually done at home, not much of a culture of eating out in the morning. But a large number of new wave breakfast places have popped up in the past years, which offer ample opportunities for visitors, normally from 8am. Lunch is at midday, after 1pm most places are going to be fairly empty and many will stop serving lunch after 2pm. The standard time for dinner is 7pm, bookings for later than 8pm are unusual. Lots of restaurant kitchens close at 10pm (with the restaurant following suit 30-60 minutes later), finding a meal after that hour is challenging for anything other than street food.
Baths
Gellért is the most aesthetic, Széchenyi the largest and most popular among foreigners (Sparty can get crazy with lots of drinking, puking and sex going on in the pools, but it is wildly overpriced and 100% aimed at visitors). Rudas is a Turkish hamam with swimwear optional, single-gender weekdays (women-only on Tuesdays, coed and swimwear-mandatory on the weekend). Lukács is plain and personally I’m not a fan of it – tourists only visit it because it’s included free with the Budapest Card. For more details on the baths, see this.
For off the beaten path sights, ride the D11 or D12 public boat lines for a cheap alternative to paid cruises (travelcards only valid on weekdays, otherwise 700Ft), check out the Pinball Museum, Hospital in the Rock or check out this section for a lot more off the beaten path ideas.
Shopping
Hungary has the world’s highest effective VAT (=sales tax) at 27%. Non-EU/EEA tourists are eligible for VAT refund on their qualifying purchases if they complete the paperwork (min. €175 value per transaction, passport+reclaim form stamped by customs official).
The most popular and best accessible mall of the city is WestEnd on Nyugati tér. Arena Plaza is larger by floor area and carries a couple brands that can’t be found elsewhere, but is less centrally located (10min walk from Keleti train station). Don’t expect to find bargains on clothing or electronics, prices are similar to Western Europe and over North American or Asian ones.
For more information on shopping and VAT refund, see here.
Paprika Market is a decent souvenir shop in the sea of overpriced, terrible quality crap on Váci utca.
Magma Gallery for contemporary and affordable jewelry, ceramics and home decor items by local designers is just one street over on Petőfi Sándor utca.
Check out the antique bookstores alongside Múzeum körút between Astoria and Kálvin tér, some have Socialist-era posters available for sale from 30€ and up, that could be a unique gift/home decor to take home. Ecseri road flea market for more antiques, go early on Saturdays.
Hungarian cuisine is hearty and filling, with a heavy use of meats. Must-try foods are:
For authentic recipes, recommendations for recipe blogs or cookbooks, tips for cooking traditional Hungarian meals, see here
For edible souvenirs to bring home with you:
Grocery stores include Spar, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl. Avoid CBA and Coop, low quality for high prices. Small convenience stores, many 24/7, also dot the city at higher prices.
The most popular and best accessible mall of the city is WestEnd on Nyugati tér.
Alcohol is sold at every one, but some (mostly residential) districts enact a ban on the sale between 22.00-06.00. The central Pest districts don’t have such limitations in place.
Tobacco is sold at tobacconists (‘nemzeti dohánybolt’ ). These shops are also exempt from the evening alcohol sale ban if you find yourself in such a district. Flavored cigarettes are banned in Hungary, so no Black Devils or Sobranies.
Budgets (per person)
For reasonable comforts, I would suggest aiming for at least €50 per day excluding accommodation. Hotel prices significantly vary in and outside high season.
Getting around
Do not buy the Budapest Card, it is not a bargain, even if every travel blogger seems to think otherwise! You would need to visit at least 3-4 museums a day to break even and the free visit to the pretty plain Lukács Baths could mean you’d deny yourself going to the much more interesting mainstream alternatives, such as Gellért or Széchenyi. The discounted museums are second-rate and typically not what most visitors choose to hit up on their own.
Do buy a public transport travelcard, the 1, 3 or 5-day unlimited options require no validation or ID (common reasons for fines). For week-long stays, the 7-day travelcard needs an ID number and that you have the document on you at all times. Please do not try to get around by using single tickets!
The travelcards are economical (from €5/24h to €15/week) and easy to use: no validation, you just show it to the controllers. Validity starts immediately by default, or you can select a later starting date (always from midnight). 7-day and monthly passes require an ID/passport number, and you must have the ID on you whenever you travel, otherwise you risk getting fined! Groups of 4 or more can also buy the even more economical '24h group travelcard', but all persons must travel together using that.
Common reasons for fines
Ticket inspectors (must have an anonymized badge and armband) are notoriously brash, speak subpar English. Paying on the spot lets them give you a discounted fine of 8000 instead of the regular 16000 through postal order or wire transfer, they aren't looking to scam you if they offer you that. Fines are pursued internationally through collection agencies, multiplying the original amount once their fees are added.
Cheapest way to get to the city from the airport is by public transport. I suggest paying the 900Ft supplementary ticket for the 100E bus. The southern portion of the M3 subway is under reconstruction, during that period the 200E buses go beyond their usual terminus, Kőbánya-Kispest and take you to Nagyvárad tér station, where the subway runs from. The purple ticket machines at the airport and all over the city take chipped cards. Shuttle bus is a good compromise between price and comfort and depart when full or close to.
Ignore touts walking up to you offering cabs in the arrival hall, use the official Főtaxi booth immediately outside the building. Rates are centralized: flagfall 700Ft, 300Ft/km, 75Ft/min waiting. The fair price to the centre is around 7-9.000Fts. Rides inside the centre are typically under 3.000. All taxi companies have passable reputations with a few horror stories about each, Főtaxi (+36-1-222-2222), 6x6 Taxi (+36-1-666-6666), City Taxi (+36-1-211-1111) are a few. There are some stories of even company cab drivers trying to rip off naive-looking tourists, especially around train and bus stations, so consider legal Uber-alternative Taxify/Bolt (Android, iOS). Uber is banned.
Most companies have apps, but they have terrible design and might set an unchangeable pick up location 5-10 minutes away from you. It’s much better to order by phone, they have English-speaking operators. If you must use an app, choose Taxify.
Scams
Cabbies are the only ones eclipsing the ticket inspectors in notoriety. I cannot emphasize enough: DO NOT USE THE ONES WITH ‘FREELANCER’ ON THE FRONT DOORS!!! These drivers are nicknamed 'hyenas', work independently, they always have rigged meters and are known to sometimes assault customers who don’t comply with their ridiculous demands. If you hail on the street, be absolutely certain you’re getting into a company cab (logo on the front doors).
A known scam by the hyenas, fraudsters and illegal street exchangers is giving you worthless currencies with similarly high denominations as the Forint – namely the Indonesian Rupiah or the old Belarusian Ruble.
Bag handlers at the airport steal from unsecured luggage. Never put any valuables in your checked luggage!
Overly friendly, attractive women approaching you in broad daylight 'to practice their English' and taking you to scammy cafés where you'll be charged €300 for a bottle of bottom-shelf champagne are also to be avoided. Recently a Redditor reported the same happening to him through Tinder, so be very suspicious of anyone insistent on going to a particular establishment. The scam café was Hajós Café on Hajós utca. Another known scam location is Café Fidelité on Révay utca.
Otherwise general safety cautions should be exercised: watch your valuables in crowded spaces for pickpockets, be wary of overly friendly strangers approaching you and introducing the idea of going to a club or bar by their 5th sentence or of people pretending to be authority.
Policemen typically wear dark blue uniforms and white shirts , sometimes with a visibility vest and can be identified by the numbered metal badges on their chest and their separate police ID card which you can ask to inspect before complying with their orders. Scammers use fake police IDs to part you with your cash under the guise of inspecting the notes for counterfeits. Always ask to see it first: this is real, this is fake – notice where the real one has a serial number, the fake says POLICE. If the issue is anything halfway serious, ask to be escorted to the nearest police station – it will scare away scammers playing dress up.
The emergency number is 112 for police, ambulance or firefighters, there are English-speaking operators (works throughout the EU).
If you get pickpocketed, notify both the police and in case of losing your travel documents, your embassy. Thieves are usually courteous enough to leave papers near trash bins, so walk around in the neighbourhood to see if you can recover them. If you find someone else’s, hand in to the nearest police station.
Getting around
the city is easy, Budapest has one of the best public transport systems of the continent. Use Google Maps for orientation and getting around! Tickets and passes with rates are listed here.
All EU/EEA citizens aged 65+ travel for free on all Hungarian public transport, including trains, distance buses. Picture ID and administrative 0 Ft ticket required. Age 65 is not included.
Student discounts are available to full-time students in EU/EEA countries with a valid student ID. If it doesn’t have it, also carry a picture ID. EU citizenship not required, you only need to study there full-time (not applicable for exchange students unless they get ID issued). The monthly student pass (3450) is cheaper than the 72h travel card (4150) for identical benefits.
The 4 subway lines are coded by numbers and, unofficially, colour (1-yellow, 2-red, 3-blue, 4-green). The busiest, M3, is under renovation until 2021, but remains in partial operation, see details here. The entire line shuts down after 8pm and all day on weekends (replacement buses operate), and one section of the line is always out of service. For 2019 it’s the southern segment, between Kőbánya-Kispest and Nagyvárad tér. During this time the 200E airport bus will take you to the more central Nagyvárad tér stop (from where the subway runs) instead of its regular terminus of Kőbánya.
In Budapest driving is not recommended for the perpetual lack of parking spaces, congestion and because there's really no need to. If you must arrive by car, pick a hotel with parking, use the free parking lot at Kelenföld subway station, street-parking by StarPark at Podmaniczky utca at ~€8/24h, or opt for a more central location (such as one of CarE Park’s garages ) at ~20€/24h, €100/week and do not use it for getting around in the city. Public areas are metered in the entire centre, typically charging 1.5€/h with a cap of 3 hours on a ticket.
The Bubi city bike system is available for anyone’s use. The rates are very favourable (500Ft for 1-day, 1000 for 3 for the pass), but a deposit of €80 will be docked when you register and might take a few weeks to release. First 30 minutes are free, after it's 500Ft/30min on top of the daily pass' price.
Two e-car sharing systems compete in Budapest. I suggest using MOL Limo, as you can complete your licence verification remotely (do it before arrival, they might take a day or three if they are backlogged). Despite the name, the cars are tiny, automatic VW up!s, the majority electric and all automatic. Age limit 18, min. 1-year old national licence, foreign ones accepted, €20 registration fee and €0.25/min rate. Coverage includes basically every area of note to tourists in the centre, except the Castle and underground garages (as well as the airport). Expansion is planned for the future. You cannot park (leave the car) outside the coverage area, but you can drive through.
Sightseeing
The best rated tour bus company is Big Bus, Giraffe (aka. the red Hop On Hop Off ones) tends to get mixed-to-negative reviews. Segway tours also available.
Free thematic walking tours of the city depart in front of the lion fountain on Vörösmarty tér daily. A tip of 2000-2500Ft/person suggested, but they're are chill about it, you can give less if you're on a budget.
River cruises run during the day and the evening, including dinner (usually not great, save for one) or party in the latter case. The most popular is Legenda, partiers choose Boat Party.
One standout cruise is Pannónia Gastro Boat that goes above and beyond the standard quality of service of other operations and often host guest chefs from innovative countryside restaurants.
Public transport alternative is the D11 or D12 boat lines between Boráros tér going up to Népfürdő utca (or getting off at Jászai Mari tér or Margaret island 1 or 2 stops prior). Tram 2 between Jászai Mari tér and Boráros tér hugs the Danube on the Pest side and loops around the Parliament for a similarly nice experience. Seasonal operations, normally from March through October.
Money
The currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (1EUR=330HUF, 1USD=300HUF in November 2019), but I’ve listed prices in Euros (€). Check for current rates here.
Don't exchange Forints at home, bring USD/EUGBP in cash or a chipped card with you – the withdrawal fee is far smaller than what you’d lose by the atrocious rates available to you at home (exception: neighbouring countries).
With cards, Visa, Mastercard are best, Maestro acceptable. Avoid Amex, Diners Club and other uncommon non-European issues.
CAD/AUD/JPY/CNY will be exchanged at slightly worse rates, but still much better than if you’d exchange Forints at home. I don't recommend bringing currencies other than the ones I've mentioned and those from neighboring countries, but if you do, Tichi Change exchanges almost every valid currency in the world at as good of a rate as you could realistically hope for.
When the ATM asks you if you want to be charged in your home currency, say no and opt for Forints or you'll lose up to 30% due to the poor conversion rate! Learn more about the rip-off of dynamic currency conversion here and steer clear of the ATMs operated by Euronet. Besides the dynamic currency conversion ripoff, they will also prompt you to withdraw ridiculously high amounts of money (equivalent of $500 or more) that you will not be able to spend in 3-4 days.
Don't exchange any money with bright orange Interchange they use ripoff rates (>30% spread). They hava e monopoly at the airport and are also present throughout the city in premium locations, such as Váci utca. Street exchange is illegal and a good way to get scammed.
Tons of fine currency exchanges around the city, the best USD and EUR rates are at Gold Change but use your eyes: the buy/sell spread shouldn’t be more than 1-3% apart for these, or 2.5-5% at banks. Exchange offices and banks do not take cards! You may only use them for ATM withdrawals.
Phones
Make sure to bring an unlocked phone, ideally a dual-SIM one.
The 3 main carriers are Vodafone, Telekom (T-Mobile) and Telenor. The best prepaid package is Telekom's Domino Fix with the 1/3/30-day unlimited 4G add-on, costing 990+9900Fts (€32) for the 30-day option. SIM cards need to be activated after purchase, so buy them at brand stores where help is available instead of supermarkets or gas stations.
Roaming fees within the EU have been abolished in 2017, you will be able to use your SIM in any EU member country, but not as if it would be local. I.e. a Vodafone Hungary-issued SIM will be roaming on Vodafone Austria’s network. Some 'reasonable' data caps remain in place, which are determined by the cost of your service.
Outside the EU there are punitive data rates. I once managed to rack up a $90 bill for 5MB by accident.
Sleep
Rates are for high season (late April through September, Christmas, NYE), might be 50+% lower on other dates
Location: if you plan on sleeping, the party district (VII., inside the ring road) should be avoided, as well as VIII. outside of it and around Keleti train station for safety reasons/because you can get nicer digs elsewhere. An under the radar gem of an area is VII. between Múzeum körút and the ring road. Buda is nowhere as dead as tourists collectively imagine it to be (especially around Széll Kálmán tér), don’t shun it if you find someplace nice there.
Eat at
For more detailed restaurant recommendations, see this comment. August visitors, check the restaurants' websites and Facebook to see if they aren't on holiday!
The quality of service is a common source of complaints, don't take it too hard if it happens to you. Tip is 10% most of the time, unless you’re really dissatisfied or find yourself absolutely elated. Many top end restaurants add a ~12% service charge to the bill, tipping on top of that is not expected, though naturally it will be appreciated.
Neither regular, nor ost fast food restaurants do refills. The only exceptions are all KFCs and a few Burger Kings.
Smoking is banned at all restaurants, bars and basically every facility open to the public. Designated smoking areas can be found outside on the street.
Try pálinka (~40% ABV fruit brandy), Unicum (herbal bitteaperitif, like Jäger), bikavér from Eger and Szekszárd (lit. ‘bull’s blood’, a full-bodied red), Tokaji aszú (similar to white Port, made of hand-picked berries with noble rot, named the "wine of kings, king of wines" from the 18th century) or fröccs (spritzer, white or red wine mixed with seltzer – a lifesaver in the summer)!
More details in the shopping section.
Or get really local and ask for ’fény’, carbonated vodka foam over raspberry syrup. You’ll see the fény (=light) at the end of the tunnel in no time!
Eat a freshly fried lángos at market halls (acceptable toppings: sour cream, garlic, cheese, perhaps ham and cabbage - certainly none of that tourist stuff with nutella, Hungarian sausage or kebab...) and fried sausage from a butcher shop such as 1951 establishment Balla Hús in Városház utca or the more contemporary Belvárosi Disznótoros eatery. The gallery of the Hold utca market hall hosts quality street food vendors, Karaván food truck yard right next to Szimpla.
Nightlife
For more detailed recommendations, including strip clubs, casinos and more, see this comment.
A casual evening
Ruin pubs
Mainstream clubs
Techno
Rock and miscellaneous
Gay bars
Get out
See train schedules on Elvira, check for buses on menetrendek.hu (this site combines bus and train schedules, but has no English version, check for the orange or blue icon on the left side to see which is which).
Daytrip options include
For multi-day excursions, including to lake Balaton and detailed information on car rental, countryside and international tourism opportunities, click here
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