This week, we talk about travel misadventures (times when travel goes wrong)! This episode has a lot of storytelling. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything - do your best to follow along and get the main idea. If you’re confused, the transcript and guide are there to support you.
Paige: You’re listening to Coffee with Gringos, I’m Paige Sutherland
Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Welcome back! Today, we’re going to tell some stories about trips gone wrong. Throughout the episode, listen for travel and airport vocabulary, connecting words, and common storytelling phrases. Remember, if you get lost, you can find the transcript and vocabulary guide for this episode on our website.
Paige: Okay, so as you can imagine, Mariah and I travel a bunch. We live in Chile, and prior to Chile, we’ve travelled probably all over the world.
Mariah: Yeah, it’s something that we really enjoy, and we both make it a priority in our life because it’s fun! It’s a fantastic way of understanding other cultures, trying new foods, having fantastic experiences you could never imagine. But, we also know that travel is not always glamorous.
Paige: It is not always a walk in the park.
Mariah: Absolutely not.
Paige: You have these amazing memories like you said - the food, the culture, the sights, the experiences. But there are also some bumps along the way.
Mariah: That’s definitely true.
Paige: So, this episode, we’re gonna talk about those bumps. So, Mariah what is your most painful travel story?
Mariah: My most painful travel story? Which one should I choose? Uh, okay. So, I’m going to tell you a travel story that’s about a trip home. I think we all know that after a long trip, you want the trip home to go quickly.
Mariah: You’re tired. You’re ready to be back to your bed and your routine.
Paige: The fun is over!
Mariah: Right, the fun is over, and you just want to get home. So, my worst trip home was on the way home from Italy. I took a bus really, really early in the morning to Rome. So, I woke up at 4 in the morning, I took the 5 AM bus. I got to Rome at 8 AM, and I realized that my flight was delayed because of a mechanical problem with the plane.
Paige: So you’re already checked in, you’re ready to board the plane, and they said, “nope, it’s delayed.”
Mariah: Exactly, exactly. But, we eventually boarded the plane. About 30 minutes into the plane ride, I look behind me, and the old woman in the seat behind me looks like she is sleeping very deeply.
Paige: Not in a good sense?
Mariah: No. She looks like she she’s struggling. She looked dead.
Paige: So she needs medical attention?
Mariah: She needed medical attention. And I got the flight attendant’s attention, and I said, “Ma’am, I think this woman needs help.” And she looks very worried. And she says, “Is anybody a doctor?!”
Paige: That is like a movie.
Mariah: It was exactly like a movie. And I’m just thinking… “I’m so tired, please don’t let this woman behind me be dead. Please don’t let this happen to me.” And all of a sudden, like a superhero in a movie, this man comes walking down the aisle, not really walking, more like jogging down the aisle of the plane.
Paige: Was music playing? The breeze?
Mariah: Oh yeah, the breeze blowing his hair. And he’s wearing, scrubs. Scrubs are the medical uniform, right?
Paige: So, he was ready for this moment?
Mariah: He was ready for this moment. And he says, “Hello, I’m Warren, I’m a cardiologist.” I could not believe there was actually a cardiologist on the plane. So, he tended to the nice woman behind me. He made sure she was okay. Thank goodness, she had just fainted. So she was not dead. She had just fainted.
Paige: That would have ruined your trip.
Mariah: It would have ruined my trip, absolutely. But, just two hours later, the baby next to me, across the aisle, had a seizure. And, of course, the parents are freaking out. Everybody around us is very alarmed. Warren comes running down the aisle to save the day, takes care of the baby. The baby had a serious fever that caused the seizure. The baby recovers, but of course cries the entire rest of the flight. And so, when I arrived in New York, I was exhausted, just emotionally exhausted and praying that nobody else had an emergency. But as I had worried, we arrived in New York late, and I had to sprint to my next flight. And I actually didn’t know that the terminals at JFK airport were connected by a shuttle - like a train. And so I left the terminal and ran with all of my baggage to the other terminal, and I made it with minutes to spare. It was so stressful, and I was very, very happy to be home.
Paige: So you just made your layover* within minutes.
Mariah: Yeah, exactly. I basically didn’t have a layover, right? Nobody likes layovers, right? Ideally, a layover is short, but…
Paige: You like to breathe, maybe get food, maybe use the restroom.
Mariah: Right, let’s just say that I didn’t want to be sprinting for my flight during my layover, but in the end, it worked out alright. I arrived to Minnesota, and hey, at least it’s a good story. Okay Paige, it’s your turn, tell me about your wildest travel experience.
Paige: So, like you started with, I have several I think, but I’ll narrow this one down to trains.
Paige: So this story was very memorable because it was the first trip that my mother has ever done that involved being out of the country. She’s one of those who was born and raised in the same town and lives very close to that town, so travelling outside the US…
Mariah: It was a new experience for her!
Paige: It was a very new experience for her, so I took the reigns and planned the entire trip. We were going to Spain.
Mariah: Okay, fantastic.
Paige: So, we were starting in Barcelona and going all the way around in a circle and ending in Madrid. And so, it was towards the end of our trip, so we were kind of tired and we were taking an overnight train from Madrid to Barcelona.
Mariah: Awesome, I love overnight trains!
Paige: It’s perfect! You just get to sleep, relax, you wake up, and you’re at your destination. This trip, not so much. So, we arrive at the train, we our ticket, we board the train. It’s about 10:30 at night in Madrid, and the train starts movin’, we go through a few stops, and the guy goes around (the conductor) and asks for our tickets.
Mariah: Of course.
Paige: And I’m all organized, I get my ticket out, I’m like: “Here you go, sir.” And we’re in Spain, and at this point in my life, my spanish is not very great, and he knows zero English, so he’s speaking to me in Spanish, and I know “boleta”, I give him the ticket. And he goes, “no.” And I was like, “Que?”
Paige: And he’s like, “no, no ticket.” And I grab it back, and I’m confused, and I say: “No, this is the ticket! Madrid to Barcelona!” And he goes: “Wrong day.” And I look at this calendar, and I notice that I bought the ticket for the wrong day of travel!
Paige: It was almost unreal. I mean I bought these tickets months in advance, so I must have just mixed the days up. I bought it for yesterday, so this train that I bought the ticket for already happened.
Mariah: Right, you bought it for the day before.
Paige: So, he goes: “No, wrong ticket. You have to get off the train.” And my mom looks at me. I look at my sister. We’re in this panic. It’s right now about 11:30 at night, we have no idea where we are in Spain, we can’t communicate with the conductor because he speaks Spanish, and again, I knew very little Spanish at the time. And so, I tried to figure out how we could stay on the train and get to our destination.
Mariah: How do you solve this?!
Paige: And so, he was very adamant: “No ticket, get off the train!” And so, I was like, “Is there any way we could stay?!” And he said: “Only way is if you buy a new ticket.” And I say: “Okay, we’ll buy a new ticket.” And he said: “200 Euro.”
Mariah: That’s so much money!
Paige: Which is a lot of money…
Mariah: That’s more than 100,000 Chilean pesos.
Paige: Exactly. It’s way too much, and we’d already spent a lot of money buying the tickets in the first place, and we never used the tickets because we never made the train yesterday. So, we were like: “Can we just use this ticket instead?!” Nope. New ticket. 200 Euro. And so we just said, “Okay.” So, I give him my credit card, and he goes: “Nope, cash only.”
Paige: And we all, the three of us look at each other and just try to collect all of our coins and all of our euros just to see if we have enough, and we were about 70 euros short. So nowhere near 200 Euros.
Mariah: No chance.
Paige: No way. So he’s like, “Nope, not enough. You have to get off the train.” And it’s the middle of the night, none of our cell phones work because we’re in Spain, we don’t know Spanish very well, we’re basically very afraid.
Mariah: Of course!
Paige: My mom starts crying. It’s this dramatic situation, and the conductor just goes, “okay”, and walks away. And so we’re like, “okay” we can stay? We don’t know, so we’re supposed to sleep on this overnight train, but we’re on edge because every stop we think we’re getting kicked off.
Mariah: Oh my gosh.
Paige: We get to Bacelona. None of us slept. We were exhausted and spent that whole day in Barcelona sleeping in our hotel room.
Mariah: God, I can believe that. Oh my gosh.
Paige: It was a nightmare, but now every time I buy tickets, I’m very sure of the exact day that I need the ticket for.
Mariah: Yes, I can imagine. Yeah, I think that for better or for worse, those travel horror stories teach us important lessons.
Paige: As my mom said, you don’t always want to learn the hard way, but sometimes it’s the only way to learn.
Mariah: That’s a very good mom thing to say.
Paige: Yeah, exactly. So, as you can see, me and Mariah have travelled the world, we’ve been to so many countries and have amazing travel stories, but…
Mariah: It doesn’t always go as planned. Absolutely not.
Paige: So the past few episodes, we’ve been talking a lot about travelling.
Paige: But, we know that a lot of our audience also has to work and so, next episode, Coffee with Gringos is moving the conversation to the workplace. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Paige: Coffee with Gringos was brought to you by Dynamic English, where you can learn English, where you can learn English, simply by using it. If you’re interested in taking classes or just want to learn more - go to our website at dynamicenglish.cl. Thanks for listening!
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
A bunch (noun) - A lot, very much
Example: Mariah and I travel a bunch.
Prior (adjective) - Previously, before
Example: Prior to Chile, we travelled around the world.
Glamorous (adjective) - Attractive, elegant
Example: We know that travel is not always glamorous.
A walk in the park (idiom) - a relaxed and easy experience
Example: Travel isn’t always a walk in the park.
There are bumps along the way (idiom) - when you encounter obstacles or difficulties during a journey
Example: Travelling isn’t always easy. Sometimes, there are bumps along the way!
To wake up (phrasal verb) - to become awake in the morning
Example: I woke up at 4 AM in the morning.
Delayed (past tense, past participle of delay): to be late
Example: My flight was delayed.
To check in (phrasal verb) - to get your ticket and check your bags
Example: It’s a good idea to check in for your flight at least two hours early.
To board (verb) - to get on the plane
Example: After a long delay, we finally boarded the plane.
Aisle (noun) - a passage between sections of seats
Example: The cardiologist ran down the aisle of the plane like a superhero in a movie.
Jog (verb) - to run at a slow space
Example: The cardiologist jogged down the aisle of the plane to help the old woman.
Scrubs (noun) - the uniform that medical professionals wear
Example: I couldn’t believe that the cardiologist on the plane was actually wearing scrubs!
To tend (verb) - to take care of
Example: The cardiologist tended to the sick woman on the plane.
To faint (verb) - to lose consciousness
Example: The old woman on the plane wasn’t dead, she had just fainted.
Seizure (noun) - a sudden attack of illness, usually epileptic
Example: It was terrible, the baby across the aisle had a seizure during the flight.
To freak out (phrasal verb, slang) - to panic, become extremely agitated and concerned
Example: When the baby had a seizure, his parents freaked out.
Alarmed (adjective) - disturbed and worried
Example: Everybody around me was very alarmed when the baby had a seizure.
Exhausted (adjective) - completely tired
Example: When I arrived to New York, I was completely exhausted.
Sprint (verb) - to run extremely fast
Example: As I had worried, we arrived in New York late, and I had to sprint to my next flight.
Terminal (noun) - the part of the airport where people get on or off planes
Example: I actually didn’t know that the terminals at JFK airport were connected by a shuttle.
Shuttle (noun) - a form of transport that travels regularly between two places, often a bus or train
Example: The terminals at the airport are connected by a shuttle.
Layover (noun) - when you have to stop somewhere and take another plane, also called a stopover
Example: My layover in New York was very short because my plane arrived so late.
Narrow down (phrasal verb) - to reduce the number of possibilities or choices
Example: I have a lot of wild travel stories, but I’ll narrow it down to a story about trains!
Take the reins (idiom) - to take control
Example: It was my mom’s first time travelling outside of the United States, so I took the reigns and planned the whole trip.
Baggage (noun) - the bags you carry when you travel
Example: I had to carry all of my heavy baggage as I ran between terminals.
Overnight train (noun) - a train trip that goes through the night, there are usually places to sleep
Example: We were taking an overnight train from Madrid to Barcelona.
In advance (phrase) - before the deadline, early
Example: I bought these tickets months in advance.
Mix up (phrasal verb) - to confuse
Example: When I bought the tickets, I mixed the days up.
Get off (phrasal verb) - to leave a train, boat, plane, or buss
Example: The conductor said that we needed to get off the train because our tickets were for the wrong day.
Adamant (adjective) - insistent, refusing to change one’s mind
Example: The conductor was adamant that we needed to get off the train.
Oh my gosh. (slang) - an exclamation, another way of saying “oh my god”
Example: Oh my gosh, what a crazy story!