Tuesday Nitro Them's flighting words

So normal service is resumed. I woke up on Tuesday with a ridiculous hangover, at 6.30am, feeling like death. Writing up Monday ends up being an exercise in cropping photos, applying the "Transfer" filter, and repeatedly mentioning how drunk I was just to ram home the point.

Breakfast is shit, again, but the sugar perks me up. We don't have to checkout until midday, and eke out every last minute. Somehow my voice is less broken than after 'mania, but singing TWO! MINUTES! TO MIIIIIDDAAAAYYY! isn't my most endearing moment. I read a few reviews of Raw online and get annoyed by them. I also learn that the tourism advert for Puerto Rico, which seemed odd at the time, was actually a segment reintroducing two wrestlers to the roster. Huh.

Outside to wait for our cab and the heat hits us worse than on any previous day, that kind of heat you can smell. Dallas has been sunny and hot every day but today is particularly brutal. The cab driver phones me, but I can't hear him. The Uber app tells me he's going the wrong way, then turns round and goes past the hotel again, until eventually phoning once more from round the corner to apologise for not being a Merc. I guess we'll let it slide.

At the Sheraton it's goodbye from Ian, as he jumps in the next shuttle coach to the airport. He's flying American Airlines on a service 2.5 hours earlier than us, and I'm jealous. However, it does mean that the other three of us have 2.5 hours to kill in, where else, the Draft bar in the hotel. The floor by the entrance is now the only hint of wrestling left in the hotel. Well, that and all the fans still there and drinking before their journeys home.

I get flustered when ordering my first drink and end up duplicating one I've already had this year. It's really fucking annoying that the three beers I've had 2 of haven't actually been that nice. But anyway, I am still yet to exhaust all the choices so drinks two and three are back on track. Untappd awards me one of the worrying "um, perhaps gameifying drinking isn't such a good idea" badges but, well, fuck it.

None of the 12 beers was even a pint.

Dear Bud Light, "The perfect beer for whatever happens" is a big shout and it's really not hard to come up with a "whatever" that could happen and would not make me reach for a bottle of your rat piss. I mean, are hospitals stocked up on it to present to patients who have just received diagnoses of life-threatening conditions? Do the Samaritans answer each call with "just get a Bud Light"?

Anyway. Me and Wooj torture ourselves a bit more by reading several other reviews of Raw or the other events of the weekend and in particular get annoyed by those that slag off the crowd for having the temerity to chant and sing during the matches. I guess we bring a bit too much atmosphere? Pfft. We're all intrigued to have learnt that the crowd was muted or overdubbed during Wrestlemania though; apparently the commentators for Raw just said the crowd tonight would "boo for those who they'd normally cheer, and vice versa". Er, no. We boo who we don't like and cheer (for) those we do.

Eventually we settle up and go to get a shuttle bus, except there's actually no sign of one. Back inside and the machines to buy tickets are only half working and the people using the functioning one are taking forever, so we think screw this and go get a cab - which, in the end, costs the same as 3 people on a shuttle.

On the ride I remember things from previous days I had meant to mention or include, but hadn't. First, this fuck-off panorama of the stadium:

Second, the fact that one of our cab drivers on Monday had told us how Dallas had been trying to improve its image because it wanted to shake off "that JFK debacle". I mean come on, really? It's your major tourist attraction! And, to that end, I'm quite pleased that I failed to do any tourism while here. File it next to "visiting Bali and seeing no beaches".

Numerous things tell us that it's 87 degrees fahrenheit outside. I mean, fuck off with the stupid weather. At the airport the two kiosks refuse to give us boarding passes and don't tell us why, or indeed anything - we're just dumped back to the "pick your airline" page. So we go to a desk where a very friendly woman checks our passports and issues us paper.

The queue to get through security isn't too long. Fast track is empty and the guy says I can use it, but as with the journey out I'm not going to Billy Big Bollock it. This ends up being a mistake, because the one and only x-ray machine in use seems to go out of order and we end up queueing for bloody ages. Had I gone through fast track I could've gone straight through and got the beers in!

Once we are through we take a long wander looking for beer options. There's one of the longest escalators in history up to the top level so we go up there only to discover it's a monorail platform, so go straight back down. But this bodes well for my next scheduled visit to DFW, whenever that is.

Finally we hole up, sitting at the bar of the Irish pub we found. Somehow there are still beers made by Guinness that I'm yet to have this year: Smithwicks, and Guinness Nitro IPA. Untappd gives me another award, this time for drinking beers made by Guinness in the month of March. In April. Um.

Boarding is at gate D15. Gate D10 makes me think it says Gate DIO and I sing Holy Diver. There's loads of people around, apparently including Honky Tonk Man, and boarding is going to be late. As we wait, Wooj struggles for, like, 15 minutes with his Rubik moebius bag strap. There's a twist in it whch just seems completely impossible to untwist and his travails are fucking hilarious. Less so when I say give it here, I'll fix it, and also can't. Stupid bloody impossible strap.

When boarding finally starts I say to the other two, fuck it, I'm gonna use the priority lane and go get the window seat, see you soon. I mean what's the point in having a shiny card if I don't use it at all? I'm hoist by my own fatcat petard of course, because having convinced the other two to let me have the window seat I'm now sat behnd a really loud and annoying kid. Very amusing for Del when he arrives. Gah.

Legroom is much better than on the way out, though, and we start taxiing while half the cabin are still standing up, puttng their bags up top, etc. It's startlng to pretty much everyone. The view from my window is great. Hurrah, photos of planes and the airport and tarmac and Texas and stuff!

Once fully airborne I attempt to learn a lesson from Helen, that high contrast makes for good candidates to use a noir filter and hey presto, the sky turns black.

Vodka and coke arrives, then one of the worst meals I've had on a plane.

The bread is tough and dry. The salad is tasteless. The pasta is slimy and largely tasteless. The crackers are hard. The cheese is like plasticine. The dessert is tasteless. This is bollocks. What's more, I ask for a gin and tonic and they don't have one on the trolley so will bring me one later, and it never arrives. It takes over an hour for the plates to be cleared up. This doesn't happen further up the plane!

In quick succession I see 3 strange planes with black contrails travelling very fast. Military base in Arkansas?

I put on a film whose name and plot I don't recognise, and from the first second I remember the actors, storyline, script, the lot. Black Mass, I have now seen you twice. Afterwards I try and sleep, but it's hard because the kid in front of me has his seat reclined for him which cracks me in the knees. Also the seat is just uncomfortable, and I refuse to recline because I don't think two wrongs make a right. Bleh. I probably get about an hour, on and off.

The moving map display is mesmerising as usual. The animation as it zooms in from globe to local is great. With a couple of hours to go I start on True Detective S2, which I didn't know existed and now plainly need to binge on at some point. The "breakfast" arrives during this and it's just as shit as the dinner.

The weather in the UK is, apparently, cloudy, rainy and 8 celsius. Blissful. We land a bit late, after circlng over glorious southwest london for a while. Just to rub it in, we get off via the front doors which means walking through premium economy, then business, then first class. God, it'd be nice if I could fly BA first class again one of these days.

Created By
Darren Foreman

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