Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting to Portland/Vegan Travel

Almost as punishment, the east coast’s parting gift to us was such ludicrous traffic that we ultimately missed our 9:30am flight. The next flight wasn’t until 6:00pm and we weren’t risking leaving the premises in between. So, one vegan and one vegetarian spent the day in Newark International Airport.

Once we had everything under control it was time for drinks. We found the swankiest place we could find, Caliente Cab Co. Apparently a franchise, I'd been only to the tasty, albeit not so vegan friendly fast-food americanized mexican restaurant in NYC. In EWK it's much, much worse. First, our drinks were hideous, sweet messes of ice, sugar, and the cheapest alcohol in existence. I barely drink and I knew these $14 cups were filled with junk. But, after missing the flight, having to pan our first day's itinerary, and looking at eight more hours in the airport, they did the trick. Then, we were told that we could not have the "made to order" guacamole without cilantro because it was not made to order that day. Okaaay.

The shopping in the terminal was sad. There was a Lacoste store, but it was the size of my bathroom and had about 9 shirts for sale. Everything else caused us to remark, "You can get that at Loehmann's", so we quickly tired of expecting an EWK Marshall's, or something of that ilk.

Eventually we decided my poorly tolerant body needed some coffee to counter the effects of the "alcohol", so we dipped into a Starbucks. With all of my requests (soy, no whip, no foam, extra hot) and my lingering drunkedness, I neglected to request decaf. Between the sugar and the caffeine I'm surprised my heart didn't pop right out of my ribcage. To add insult to self-injury, would you believe that they are some kind of "non-branded" establishment that does not honor the "free soy milk with registered giftcard"? What is that about? It said Starbucks, it looked like Starbucks, and they served Starbucks. Give me my 30 cents back!

And finally it was time to board. Of course we ordered the vegetarian, non-dairy meal option months in advance (vegan is no longer an option). But, true to Continental form, when they got to us they shrugged and said, “We had four vegetarian meals and we’ve already handed them out”, simultaneously thrusting carnie garbage in our faces as though our food choices depend solely upon the whim of the free offerings. So, what exactly is the deal? It doesn’t matter what you order as long as you’re at the end of the plane that they start serving meals from and declare your vegetarian craving? I say you should have to prove it. Because once the stink of the microwaved turkey dogs started wafting through the cabin I’ll bet it was the first four passengers that suddenly claimed vegetarian-ness. Even the kid sitting next to me munching on a combination of Swedish Fish and bona-fide beef jerky couldn’t choke down the turkey dog. Really? Worse than beef jerky? Might be time to stop bragging about how you still serve complimentary “meals” at mealtime, Continental.

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