Lady, can you please shut the F*ck up?

Lady, can you please shut the F*ck up?

Lady, can you please shut the F*ck up?

Travelling is not always pretty. The worst aspect of travelling for us is dealing with humanity. Case in point: our recent 13 hours getting from Prague to Padova (Italy). Some uncensored thoughts along the way…

Lady, can you please shut the fuck up? We’ve been on the train 2 hrs and you haven’t stopped talking once, whether it’s to talk to your husband who’s reading the newspaper (and who doesn’t seem to have the balls to tell you to shut up) or to talk to yourself as you’re flipping through a book, pulling out an orange, or fiddling with your phone. How can anybody talk non-stop, what can you possibly be talking about? For once I’m actually thankful that I don’t understand German because I’d actually have to think about what you’re saying instead of just being annoyed by the non-stop background noise…

That guy over there looks messed up. Must be in his early 20s. He’s slouching in his seat with his legs splayed out in the aisle. Everyone is giving him dirty looks.

That other guy looks like a terrorist if I ever saw one. Just looking at his face reminds me of CNN describing suspects in the latest terrorist attack.

Those 2 girls across the aisle won’t stop eating and they’re always talking with their mouths full. Is that what kids do today? The one on the right just shoved the remaining third of her banana in her mouth and I can see mushy banana in her mouth as she’s talking. The one on the left keeps reaching into her bag and pulling out cheese doodles. She makes loud sucking noises as she eats.

Lissette is leaning over, wants to show me something on her phone. “Does she ever shut up?” it says. Ha, exactly what I’ve been thinking.

FUCK! Yes, I actually said that out loud because messed up guy fell into me as he stumbled down the aisle going to the bathroom. He’s definitely on something, I had to give him a bit of a shove to straighten him up. He mumbled something, I think he apologized. Get your act together man.

 Angry Birds 2 is really boring. I’m playing it on my phone to distract myself but it’s so boring. I wish I could just get the original version…


 I guess I was asleep. The girl on across the aisle from me on the left is eating something smelly. It’s something on a piece of bread, I think bologna. It’s smelling up the whole train.

That lady hasn’t stopped talking. Her husband looks like he’s sleeping but she’s still talking while fiddling around with a piece of paper. She’s writing stuff, looks like doodles or weird hieroglyphics. Once in a while she’ll look at me. I can’t figure out why her husband is with her, he looks like a banker type and he’s got an expensive jacket. He looks normal. She looks like a crazy hoarder type that spends her time talking to cats. She’s still talking.

I don’t see the guy who looks like a terrorist anymore.

HA! A cute kid just came up to Lissette and gave her a big smile. I know that makes her happy. Those crazy sunglasses she wears makes her look like a bee. It always attracts the kids.

I can’t believe it. The girl across the aisle is making herself another sandwich. She’s pulling out a couple of pieces of sliced meat from her bag. Definitely bologna. Fuck it, next time I’m bringing my hard boiled eggs on the train. Lissette always tells me I can’t bring hard boiled eggs in public places because they smell like fart. I don’t care, I’m not going to waste them anymore. I’m going to tell her I’m going to bring my hard boiled eggs next time and that I don’t care what she says. She’s listening to her music right now and I don’t want to bug her, but when she stops I’ll tell her that next time I’m bringing my hard boiled eggs and that’s all there is to it.

The girl across the aisle just started coughing, her face turning red. She choked on her food. She’s doing that thing people do when they chock on food, pounding her chest like that’s going to do anything. She’ll be ok though which is good because I don’t know how to do the heimlich. That’s what happens when you fill up your fat mouth and talk at the same time. She sure has a lot of zits on her chin.

Crazy talking lady took out an Italian translation book and she’s flipping through it while also looking at a message on her phone. She seems to be translating it, I can hear Italian words in her monologue. It reminds me if when I was a kid working in the public library, this crazy guy would come in every day and read to himself out loud without realizing it. Sometime he would laugh a crazy laugh if he read something funny. She’s not far off.

Lissette leans in and asks me if we can trade places. She’s had it with crazy talking lady. Won’t be so bad, I’d rather sit next to her than look across at her. I tell Lissette that I’m bringing my hard boiled eggs on the train next time. And durian for dessert. She nods her head in agreement. I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to do something you should go all the way.

I’m sitting across from where I was, next to crazy lady. I now have a whole bunch of other people to look at.

There’s a family with 3 young children including a little girl who can’t be much over 6 months. She’s got really big cheeks.

There’s a guy with slicked-back hair wearing a black leather jacket over a t-shirt, wearing jeans and clunky black shoes. Looks like Fonzie from Happy Days. He must be Italian.

I think someone just farted. Maybe it’s the baby’s diaper. If I have to fart and someone calls me on it I’ll just blame the baby.

I can’t believe this woman next to me. She’s stops her low mumbling to say something loud to her husband who’s sleeping. Let the man sleep. God I wish she could shut the fuck up for 2 minutes. He isn’t responding.

Crazy lady just sneezed without covering her face. Urgg.

Whenever the baby cries the husband gets up and walks up and down the aisle with it and she stops. Then he sits down and you see the change in the baby, a little scowl at first, her face turning red before she starts crying again. And he gets up again and she stops. Why do babies do that?

Zit face is eating nuts now.

We did 6 hours Prague to Munich and have now been on this train for 4 hours. Only 2 more hours until we get to Verona. This seems to be taking forever.

Crazy lady is looking at the train schedule and muttering something. Husband has his eyes closed and still has his head leaning against the side of the window. I don’t think he’s asleep though. I think he’s faking.

That husband is doing everything with the baby and the two kids. I haven’t even seen the woman move, all I see is the back of her head. He’s going up and down the aisle with the baby while also giving the other kids snacks.

 Whether Crazy woman’s husband was awake or not doesn’t matter. He’s awake now and Crazy Lady is pointing to things on the train schedule and asking him questions in German. She’s agitated, like it’s his fault or something. He has the classic “I don’t know, I don’t care” look on his face. It’s obviously something trivial. I know he’s holding it in but that his insides are screaming “WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!” I know the signs. But he’s too far gone, he swallows it up. I suddenly feel a wave of empathy for him.


Related: Are we all just photo-clicking monkeys? What’s travel about?


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  1. I am a flight attendant-I’m at work RIGHT now! ….Waiting for a plane—I think all of the same people are around me RIGHT NOW! Grrrrrrrrr! I say- Bring the EGGs next time!

  2. Just found this post. Love it Frank. Hey, it happens in France too. Paris to Biarritz (7 hours). Two women talking non-stop, both at the same time (no idea how they understood each other) and a guy who looked like one of the husbands, staring into nothingness, letting loose a very controlled “sigh and slight eye roll” every now and then. On the floor next to me, is this young mother with her little child. She changed the diapers right there (with accompanying smell). Then within a few minute the entire carriage erupted with the noise of plastic packed lunches being brought out, strings pulled and all of them had this deal which cooks the food in the pack. 20 different dishes with all the aromas (following the diaper change),

    I looked at my meager egg salad sandwich and decided to give it a miss.

  3. I got anxious and claustrophobic just reading this! Not sure how you managed to keep your cool through that. As for the baby, I’m not sure why they’re like that. Our three month old is generally happy, but sometimes the only thing to keep her that way is to be constantly moving. Maybe they’re just bored.

    1. You know what? I think you’re right Katrina about babies getting bored 🙂
      We’re usually ok on trains, harder on planes. I think it had also to do with the configuration of the seats and having to look across at people. Hate that.

  4. I’m not sure why my comments (both of them disappeared) 🙁 . I thought it was because l agreed with Spanky regarding the eggs 🙂 . Please don’t punish all of us..haha! What amazes me usually are the people that speak loudly on the phone the whole ride. The last guy talked for over 2 hours..from Madrid to Sevilla. Who has that much to say? Love the rant… 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s a given – happens all the time to us as well! I guess people chose public transport to catch up on calling loved ones 🙂

  5. LOL that’s so funny! But that’s the beauty of traveling isn’t it? Otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to remember 🙂 Last time I was on the plane from Istanbul to Dublin, nearly 5 hours (after 10 hour overnight flight from South Africa), there were around 15 babies around me crying non-stop. But the worst ever trip I took was from Paris to Toulouse. The toilet on the bus broke and the urine flooded the baggage hold. Thanks God I had only a small bag on board with me, not in the luggage hold. But my friends weren’t that lucky. Imagine the feeling of taking out your bags soaked with piss! We complained to the company and at least we got some compensation. But it didn’t erase the memory…

  6. Take enough planes, trains or coaches and sooner or later s*** will hit the fan. I feel your pain. A few weeks ago I was riding on public transport at about 5 pm and I could smell something real bad. Removing my headphones, I turned around to find a drunk teenager sitting behind me throwing up. This sick (there was a lot) then proceeded to travel all the way to the front of the bus. The smell was disgusting; the situation was disgusting and I will admit a lost my cool and did bust out a few swear words.

  7. Do you feel better now? 🙂 There’s always a nutter to piss you off on public transport, but it sounds like you got your entire monthly quota in a single day, bad luck! Next time you wield your durian and show them who’s boss. Now that’s a post I’d love to read. I think these situations bring out the worst of us, and that’s no bad thing, it’s good to clear out the system now and again. I’m normally a butter-wouldn’t-melt kinda girl but just sometimes, like you, I’ve had enough. My lowest point was yelling at an elderly lady and calling her a ‘f*cking wh*re’ (don’t know quite where that came from, her dog was only peeing on our flowers!). And last month in Brazil I got pissed off by a middle aged woman sitting next to us in the airport in Rio (yeah, the one without the sexy voice announcements!) and she was being a bit bonkers, staring at me and touching my bags. I muttered something rude, only for hubbie to tell me to shut up. I hadn’t realised she was blind!

    1. Oh my, that’s pretty hardcore Heather. “F* cking Wh*re”? What a pottie mouth 🙂 Don’t let me get you upset. Crazy lady touching your legs? Was she Brazilian? That sounds wacko.
      I want you on my side when the shit hits the fan.

      1. Yeah, I’m not pleased with myself for that, and still hide when I see the women (from my village, the shame!) walking down the street. So embarrassed, it’s not language I even knew I knew! But to be fair, I didn’t plant my lavender for dogs to piss all over! 🙂

    2. Just reread that because I thought it was weird that she was touching your legs. Your bags, ok, makes more sense. Got it 🙂

  8. OMG ROFL – only because I feel and understand your pain COMPLETELY. I wish I could be a jackass and tell people to shut their mouth, but unfortunately I don’t like making a scene. Some people have no concept of “other people” who have to deal with this stupidity. Good job not holding back ahahah.

  9. Good read Frank. It reminds me of a time when we were on a China Southern flight from Urumqi to Guangzhou that got diverted and grounded at Guilin airport for two hours due to bad weather. We were the only two western passengers on the flight, you can guess where the rest were from! Stereotype doesn’t even begin to describe it. I nearly got in two punch ups (why do people need to pull down hard on the back of your chair on a flight when they want to get up?), my eardrums were shot to pieces and the whole cabin stunk of every type of food product imaginable (how did they get it through security?). There is a saying in China that the Chinese will eat anything with wings except for an aeroplane (*). Believe me, it’s spot on!

    (*) And anything with four legs except for a table.

    1. I’ve heard that exact expression before. Oh, it must have been hell, I encountered a bunch of mainland Chinese when transiting in Hong Kong and had a small taste of all you are describing!

  10. LOVE this article!! You made me laugh so hard, it was comic relief at the end of a dreadful day! You tell it like it is and write things that others are afraid to say. Keep on telling it like it is!! Meanwhile, German lady is still somewhere, talking…

  11. This post is too funny! You know you’ve reached your breaking point when you are looking to blame your farts on an innocent little baby. 🙂
    Mr. Tipples and I always seem to get the seats on the plane in front of the incessant talkers. I’m with you – what the f*** are they talking about? Who can possibly talk that much? Sometimes I can hear them even with my headphones in. Drives me insane. You didn’t mention one of my biggest pet peeves – people who take their shoes off and wave their feet all over the place. I don’t care if they smell or not – I don’t want your feet anywhere in my vicinity nor do I even want to see them. Don’t get me started on people who go into airplane toilets without shoes. Makes me want to puke.

    1. Oh YES, walking around in socks is the most disgusting thing. Then they probably jump in bed with the same socks on.

  12. I’m a huge fan of the “quiet cars” we have on the Northeast corridor in the U.S. and seek them out anywhere else I can find them. And I don’t hesitate to shush people who are violating the quiet. After all, I’m there for quiet, not popularity! I’m considering inventing a new product The Silent Tongue Taser that ideally can be deployed by a fixed stare at the mouth of a non-stop talker. It would freeze their tongue for the duration of the journey so they couldn’t make another sound. I’m still working out a few technical details but perhaps it isn’t too soon to start a GoFundMe page?

    1. That’s a good one!
      On the other hand, we could attach electrodes to her tongue and use that energy to make her mouth an electric generating device. Sure, she might be uncomfortable with electrodes stuck to her tongue but done right she might be able to power a laptop for a couple of hours 🙂

  13. What’s the difference between americans and non americans? You can hear them before you see them.

    But seriously though the Chinese are the loudest and rudest. No concept of personal space or consideration for others.

    1. The Koreans also bad, we saw a lot in Cambodia as well as Croatia (there’s a popular Korean reality show set there and it’s resulted in the country being popular with Koreans).

  14. Hahaha… entertaining to us readers, a horror story in person. At least you guys only had to listen to her for a train ride, her poor husband! I imagine he fakes a lot of naps. It’s sad that so many people do not have common respect for others and those of us who do, have too much and won’t say anything to offend them.

    1. Yes, Lissette mentioned that she saw him squint his eyes open to look outside while taking his nap…it’s pretty bad when you have to fake a nap. Poor guy, hope we never see his face in the news.

  15. That gave me a great laugh this morning. I dare you to take durian on the train. You know what, she still wouldn’t shut the f*** up. It is interesting though to watch fellow travellers, and to conjure up stories about them. PS, what does a terrorist look like? Now I want to to read about your final 2 hours.

    1. Thanks Paula, glad you got a laugh. You want me to get into racial profiling? How about Middle Eastern looking with an angry look in his eyes? I’ll take a photo next time 😉

  16. Frank! OMG we feel your pain. Early in our RTW, I wrote a similar article about how I have lost my faith (and fondness) for humanity. I can agree with EVERY SINGLE BLEEPING point you made. Sometimes I feel like I travel with dagger eyes aimed at everyone. I don’t want to feel this way, but people have totally lost all common courtesy. I almost got into a fight with some young girl on a train in Italy that decided that the whole car wanted to hear her annoying ass punk music. I mean really? (Italy was kinda bad like this with these annoyances, not sure why?) All I know is that when all is said and done, Harry and I MUST find a huge piece of property and not have a neighbor for at least a mile in every which direction. We find these days that we are happiest in quiet, off the beaten path places where we can find peace & solitude! Just reading this article made me shake!

    1. Totally agree in every respect.
      You’re younger than I am Audrey, but I remember travelling as a teenager and it was quite an honor getting on a plane for a long-haul flight. People would dress nice, be polite, stewardesses were well considered and you’d get free booze and good food. It have some really fond memories including a UTA flight from Paris to Lusaka where I was fed filet mignon and red wine (in economy).
      Now its a glorified bus service, service is nasty, travellers think only of themselves and their comfort. I think it’s actually a reflection of society in general these days.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

  17. 2mg Xanax and a triple Stoli anything + drool rag and your a happy traveler!!! I used to fly LAX to BKK a lot and that was my routine, worked great if I was with Cathay Pacific or EVA since they hub out of Hong Kong and Taipei. The LAX to hub flight time was >12 hours. On one trip I booked with ANA and they hub out of Narita. That’s only a short 8-9 hour hop from LA and I was trying to negotiate finding my through a new Airport looking for my connecting flights gate whilst still completely fucked up on booze and benzodiazepines! Note to self, need at least 10 hours to sober up before interacting with airport security and staff 😉
    Also being a long time traveler to and from Asia, talk about annoying ass people! By far Chinese travelers FROM CHINA are the crudest, nastiest most inconsiderate slobs I’ve ever observed! And I’m not generalizing here, I know many Chinese nationals living here in the states, Thailand, and Singapore, but the Chinese from China are very different. Talk about speaking, eating and generally doing all things loud, clearing their throat and spitting or blowing their nose while at a dining room table…I could go on and on, I feel your pain mate!

    1. Oh Ron, I totally know about the mainland Chinese. They ARE horrible. They also have this fabulous talent for horking the phlegm from their upper nasal cavity down through their sinuses and into their mouths where they can let loose with the most disgustingly yellow snot imaginable. If that sounds disgusting it’s only surpassed when you’re there in person having it happen in front of you. Totally, totally agree.
      HA, you make me laugh with your drug and booze tales. Really funny and a bit crazy, but completely understandable. Like Patti said, train is one thing, a plane ride another. Thanks so much for sharing that 🙂

    2. The mainland Chinese in Hong Kong are the nastiest! They push and shove when they are not getting to the front of the line fast. Last time in HK, my family members started pushing back and they didn’t like it. Then the Chinese started jabbering in Mandarin, and we started calling them every expletive we could think of. They figured out what we had just said and then they shut up.

      1. Oh yes, you are right. Same happened to us many years ago in HK. They’re also snorting and spitting everywhere. I have no interest in going to mainland China.
        South Koreans not much better, no courtesy as travellers.

  18. Oh wow- this made me laugh! As someone who enjoys peace and quiet, loud talkers really get on my nerves. I always wonder what makes them think that everyone wants to hear their conversation? Maybe they don’t even notice, or maybe they just don’t care. In this day and age, I think it’s the latter. At least in Japan we didn’t have to worry about this- everyone is so quiet on the trains! 🙂

  19. Hi Frank,
    My G-d, not just funny but so, so real. Patty already mentioned similar experience, but I can tell you two of mine. 2007 myself and my husband set across a mother and her two daughters. They looked identical with cheeks like watermelon and as the train just pulled out, here came the food, loads of it. They didn’t just take out their prepared food, but proceeded to take a whole salami and start slicing. That salami was gone between Firenze and Rome. We looked at each other and wanted so much to laugh but we couldn’t. Another English speaking couple set across the aisle and incredulous while trying hard to hold back their laughs. Finally, they gave in and burst into a roar. Do you think it mattered? nope! the mother and daughters just couldn’t stop….they were Italians (not just Germans). Here is the other one. Way back in 1976, I am alone on a night train from Firenze to Zurich, the train was packed and I didn’t know I should buy 1st class ticket. Here I am in my early 20’s not as sure what to do, stuck sitting surrounded by chearing/loud Italians. Here came out …again salamis and bread….a whole spread….and wine to boot. I couldn’t speak Italian and they couldn’t speak English but I understood one word: Mangi or Mangiare. Still remember, I was hungry and young and who cared about attitude, so I joined in the fun. Thereafter I looked for the train conductor, paid extra and he moved me to a sleeping car. It was a great train ride to Zurich.
    So here is my take: I will hate it today and I feel your pain too, it is a cultural thing I guess….I forgot, they also started to sing. Like you already said ” traveling is not always pretty”. KEEP TRACKING.
    Sara Y.

    1. Those are great stories Sara 🙂 . Yeah, I can see that – the Italians with their wine, bread and salami. Actually sounds like fun, especially if invited to join in. So next time they just have to offer me some wine and I’ll be happy 🙂

  20. Hilarious, your post made my day 🙂

    In the UK most long-distance trains have so called “quiet coach” and whenever I need to take a longer train travel, I book a ticket in one of these coaches. Funny how many people don’t seem to understand its purpose and get into a quiet coach with babies, or constantly talk on their mobiles or to each other or, worst of all for me, listen to music on their headphones, but it’s so loud the entire coach can hear it.

    However, I must admit, I’m one of these people who constantly stuff their faces on a long train or car journey – though I’m trying to avoid very smelly food items in these situations (including, unfortunately, my beloved hard boiled eggs…).

    1. HA! Hard boiled eggs for you too! They are good to eat on a long trip..
      Your story reminds me of something I did once in Switzerland. We got in the coach and I was telling Lissette where I wanted to sit and proceeded to dump my bag when this lady does a big “SHHHHH” to me and points to a quiet coach sign. I hadn’t seen it. Well, she ended up doing that to everyone that got in (she was one of those ladies who probably liked to boss everyone around) and by the end she got so frustrated because a few people were rustling their newspapers that she took her stuff and went to another coach…some people just get too crazy.
      So there’s different extremes 🙂

  21. Ha! Ha! Ha! Frank, this was just too damn funny because it is SO true! We’ve all been there but at least it’s better on a train than a plane because on a plane there really is no escaping it. I’m remembering a length of train travel (I think crossing Germany) when we were in one of those open type cabins with 6 seats (3 and 3 facing each other). One woman talked loudly and incessantly, in German, while another young woman sneezed and hacked and coughed until she turned red in the face. We finally gave up our seats and wandered the train until we found others. Talking incessantly is 1 thing, having germs sprayed in your air space is another. I do have to agree with Lissette though about the hard boiled eggs. 🙂 Thanks for the laugh, Frank, but I did feel your pain!

    1. You are so right about the germs. You know Patti, when you travel you just realize that people have no damn manners. I listened to Lissette, I agreed with her. But it was too much and I figured if someone can eat bologna in my face all train long then fuck it, I’m going to eat my hard boiled eggs. Common courtesy? Doesn’t exist anymore.
      I think we all experience this one time or another, right Patti?
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      1. Right! And sometimes you really (really) do want to just say, “Shut Up Already!” 🙂 I shared this on my blog’s FB page and readers loved it!

        1. Thanks for sharing Patti 🙂 I think people like it because it’s honest and not politically correct. People get sick of political correctness and being told what they should say or think.

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