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"The World I've seen: A Collection of Writing about my Trips."

By Kermit Santos.

From November 29th to December 20th, 2000, I embarked on my first business trip. I was to visit Morocco and Spain for a span of three weeks. I flew from Dulles International Airport at 7:30 at night to Paris, France. A nine hour trip! Horrible, I tell you, horrible. Just being stuck atop your ass for 9 hours is a pain cause your cheeks get numb... You know What cheeks I'm talking about. The troubles started even before I left Dulles. First, the plane got delayed for about half an hour. According to the flight crew, there were communication problems.

From April 23rd to the 28th, I visited the West coast on a business trip with my current supervisor, Jim. The first part of the trip was three days in Seattle. I call it "The City that goes to bed early". We arrived at noon, Pacific Time, and did all the things done when arriving at the airport. After that, we took a shuttle bus to downtown Seattle. I was pretty amazed at the look of the place. A bunch of buildings on a bunch of hills and a bunch of highway. The two things that were impressive are the skyline and the Boeing manufacturing facility. You can almost say that Seattle runs on Boeing... and Microsoft... and Starbucks.

But never trust a fast food restaurant that's not where you live. At first we are at some deli near the hotel at around 2 o'clock. Then at around 6 p.m., I decided to go out and grab a bite to eat for dinner. I noticed at that time that almost every single establisment closed at 6:30. "What the fuck is wrong with this place? They go to bed with the chickens." After walking about six blocks, I saw a Wendy's restaurant. I walked a bit more and decided to go back. I stopped at the Wendy's and got two JR. Bacon Cheeseburgers and an order of Chili, Cheese and Chips. My horrible memory failed me, as I have had horrible experiences with processed cheese. After awhile, the processed cheese kicked in... DIAHRREA!!! I suddenly became the Hershey's Sample Distributor on the Pacific Northwest. It was so bad that I missed the symposium I was attending with my boss. Those three days were really shitty. So here's a piece of advice. Do not eat fast food when going to another place unless you're pretty sure about. Stick with the local food.

After our stay in Seattle, we flew out on Thursday to Portland. I didn't get to see a lot of it, but I have to say that there are huge ass bridges there. In less than 2 minutes, I saw about 6 bridges that are when put end to end you can cross the Missisippi. While looking for a company, we decided to have to Vietnamiese food. In order to keep my tummy happy, we had something called "Pha'". It's a soup with lots of noodles and chicken and bean sprouts. Really tasty stuff, especially when recovering from ... DIAHRREA!!! We only spent about half a day there to then fly down to Sacramento, CA. From there we drove to Auburn. It's what you can call Quiet Town, USA. The word "Midwest" comes to mind when I speak of Auburn. It's kind of a pit stop for people heading into Nevada, since Reno is a couple of hours away in car. Oh, I forgot to mention. Since my supervisor has so many car rental upgrades, we rented a Mustang convertible!!! My reaction is "Fuck Yeah!!". I'm planning to get a car in the future and this was my chance to test drive this beauty. This car wants to run by itself when it comes to acceleration, so no wonder they call it Mustang. This car IS (bolden and underline 'IS') a wild horse. But she was a mare when under my control. After hour business was completed, we drove to Chico, which is about two hours away, to visit his son. This was truly an enjoyable driving experience. We got to Chico State U. and the hunt began. After six hours, we did not find his son and we drove back to Auburn. We got to the hotel at 12:00 midnight to catch a 9 o'clock flight. So we would wake up at around 4:30 to get set, drive down to Sacramanento and fly to Los Angeles for our flight home. Turns out I had to wake up Jim and tell him to get ready. We left at 6:30 and the real hunt began...

The thing with northen California is that it's mostly grassland and farmland. We found our way to the airport and decided to get some gas for the rental car return. If you return a rented car with less than a full tank, the company will charge you $4.50 a gallon for fuel the car. So we decided to go about looking for a gas station. We asked an old guy in the airport and we drove to this "gas station". Turns out the gas station was there, but the pumps were being upgraded, so no gas was being dispensed. Then we asked for mre directions and found (get this) an ACE Hardware store that serves gas. LOL. What's funnier is that it was also closed. We drive about three more miles and decided to get on the interstate to find a gas station. After eight miles, our search was over. We pumped gas and had something to eat. Jim looked at the watch and we only had 30 minutes to catch the flight. The drive to the airport was ten minutes and that only left 20 minutes to return the car and check bags and fly out. We were able to make in time since the flight actually left later then we thought. Then, the home strech. We arrived at LAX and found out that United had an earlier flight to Dulles. Then Jim went into Suave Mode and was able to move us to and 11:10 A.M. flight.

One of the lessons learned that the best plane to fly in is a 777. Those are the best. If you are stuck in a 737, try to get in the first group of seats, from rows 4 to 8. Best seats in this shit ass plane. Also, when going to a new place, enjoy the local food, not that junk food you can get at home. You can eat in those places when you get back.