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Egg Waffles
By Feaster from NW

I found some rather disturbingly flavored
gas emanating from each of mydigestive orifices

Well, you have to eat breakfast right? What better place to do that than at the venerable Waffle House, an empire of breakfast restaurants spread throughout the East Coast and South, but whose corporate headquarters has somehow effectively shunned the West Coast market. Having lived within 100 miles of the Pacific Ocean my whole life, I fell in love with the Waffle House rather late in life, while traveling for work through the South and East Coast. Having discovered my own personal breakfast paradise, I would take every available opportunity to sit at their counter and stare hungrily at the sizzling grill before me, short order cook slaving to keep up with the volumes of orders, waiting my turn to be breast fed my own warm share of the Waffle House Nectar. What could beat a southern-style diner environment with scrambled eggs, soft bacon, and a waffle, prepared right in front of your eyes? No sooner does the food leave the grill than it touches your drooling lips. Mmmmmm. A form of perfection.

Believe me, I look forward to a Waffle House breakfast at every opportunity, even after the wicked story of fate that follows. Even so, this experience has permanently altered my breakfast eating habits, and I think you'll see why:

Well, so then, I sat down one lovely warm Georgia morning to another breakfast at the House. I couldn't wait. I remember some small talk with the short order cook, a thirty year old man or so. His demeanor and cooking skills raised no suspicions. However, when the meal arrived, I noted that the scrambled eggs looked a bit undercooked. I don't really prefer my eggs in that manner, half of the reason being concerns about health risks, but when they arrived that way, I always managed to rationalize in my memories the many times I've seen my friends order their eggs 'over easy,' which is essentially raw embryo. They never got sick, so why bother sending eggs like this back? Paranoia, right? I was about to find out otherwise. Yes, I ate all the eggs, and everything else on the plate, and after that, I wouldn't be surprised if I got kicked out of the restaurant that morning for licking the enamel off the plate.

So I have a long drive ahead of me that day, like ten hours worth. At about 2:00 pm, I felt that something was wrong, I didn't know what, but I knew something bad was happening. Shortly thereafter, I found somerather disturbingly flavored gas emanating from each of my digestive orifices (top and bottom), and both brands of gas I had never experienced before, each declaring a differing (thankfully) but decidedly pungent sulfuric tinge. Oh. My. Gosh. What is happening? By 7:00 pm, I knew something was horribly, horribly wrong. Adding to stomach discomfort and the horrible sulfuric gaseous emissions, I had a headache, and my legs were killing me. They were completely sore in a numb sort of way and it was getting worse. All I could do was find a place to crash out, and I hit the sack very early. I called my boss and told him I was really sick, and told him I wasn't going to make my appointment, and that he'd have to find someone else. Luckily, a substitute was available, so I was left to suffer, at the very least, without the added guilt of screwing up a job. I laid down at probably around 8:00 pm, and tried to sleep. My legs were so sickeningly numb, that the only remedy I could find to distract myself from that was to repeatedly kick my legs. All I could do was try to sleep, kicking my legs, waking up only to drink water, pee, and kick my legs some more. This went on for 36 hours. I slept that night, all through the next day, and all the next night until around 9:00 am, and to say it again; waking only to pee, drink voluminous amounts of water, and kick my legs like a freak until I could go back to sleep. Oh, it was horrible.

You knew it was coming. Needless to say, the final morning, I had to go to the bathroom. Yes, it was our old pal, the exalted Number Two, and the result was none other than an output of epic volume and proportionate salmonella-infested-colon horror. I know that I know... that I know that the substance could easily have been bottled up and injected into chemical warfare artillery aerosol warheads, and wiped out legions of unsuspecting Enemies of America. The rest of the day I was mostly functional, but still in a sort of a state of shock from having to endure all that.

If I h ad it to do over again, I would still have eaten the Waffle House that morning, salmonella and all; that's how tasty their breakfasts are. Rather, I would have just checked myself into a hospital at the onset of symptoms to ride out the experience in a medically induced coma.

Imaginations aside, the way it went down, the whole experience was awful. I mean world-class awful.

The End.

Morals of the story:

  1. Always eat at Waffle House. Always!
  2. Never eat an under-cooked egg. Never!

Wedding Party in Maine
By Terry Masen, Hoboken, New Jersey

Our nightmare was about to begin --- the owner had rented the quarry house for a wedding reception

I was working on Wall Street and desperately needed a break. My wife had read about a former quarry house in Camden, Maine, that had been refurbished into an 'intimate' bed and breakfast. It sounded like it was just what the doctor had ordered. With a three-day weekend around the corner, we managed to make a reservation. After a late afternoon departure, we found the structure in the dark, nestled at the end of a dirt road, just a stone's throw from the ocean. It seemed to fit the bill. We were in such a good mood that we didn’t even mind when we found that there was only one bathroom on the second floor. Nothing was going to ruin our retreat. It was going to be three days of reading by the fire in the B&B’s great room, idyllic walks on the beach and hearty shore meals, as advertised in the brochure.

We took an early morning stroll along water's edge, then opted to luxuriate with late morning naps. Suddenly, we were awakened by the noisy sound of some sort of caravan. Peeking out the window, we saw at least 20 vehicles, led by a limousine, heading down the dirt road. Our nightmare was about to begin –-- the owner had rented the quarry house for a wedding reception. Looks like the reading by the fire would have to wait. We bolted for our car to kill some time at nearby town, but couldn’t move due to the now seemingly endless line of reception vehicles still arriving. Finally, after serving as a makeshift parking attendant, I was able to get a few drivers to pull over into a field, and we finally made it out.

We hung out in the town as long as we could, then decided to see if the party was finally over. To our horror, it was going in full swing. Music was blasting. The newlyweds were in their early 20s, and entire groups were taking shots of tequila. There was even a guy vomiting in the bushes. I desperately tried to find the owners to complain, but they were nowhere to be found. When I returned to the great room, I found some drunken frat boy actually hitting on my wife. This is crazy, we both thought, let’s just bolt out of here. So what if we paid the next night in advance. We grabbed our gear and headed to the car. The owners then appeared and demanded to know why we were leaving. We explained the obvious. What do you care, the woman asked, you weren’t even here. When I stepped back into the building to retrieve our final piece of luggage, the frat boy whom I had chastised for flirting with my wife took a swing at me. His friends held him back. I couldn’t wait to get back to the relative tranquility and civility of the pit on Wall Street.

Words of advice: the Internet is great, but always try to interview your hosts before booking a room at a bed and breakfast.

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

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Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

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Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

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