Are you serious? This is more than exciting. This is more than awesome. More than amazing. As our kids phrase it: This is the shit.
Better than the space tours?
You can’t compare. And truthfully, I don’t see the attraction in that space stuff. First, squeezing into a very uncomfortable, untrendy spacesuit and then, cramping into that capsule and hanging out with a bunch of Russians or whoever. Sure, you get some nice views through those tiny windows and you can brag about spending 20 million dollars on a whim, but it’s never appealed to us.
Musk, Branson and the others are offering much cheaper alternatives.
Yeah, for two hundred and fifty grand they’ll shoot you up fifty miles and sign your official space cadet diploma. Tell me there’s not a sucker born every minute.
But you’ve gone on some pretty wayout, expensive adventures yourselves.
Just to put things straight, we don’t go on adventures. And we’re not adventurers. Anybody who calls themselves an adventurer is an idiot. A nincompoop. Look at all the crap going on in the world – all the misery. To go around chasing made-up goals, creating artificially dangerous situations for yourself? Everest without oxygen in flip-flops and all that kind of crap. . . Jesus! You know if you need kicks why not go out and put your life on the line helping somebody who is in real danger? Someone who is actually starving because they have no food, somebody who is really freezing or drowning or whatever. If you want big time thrills go fight against the terrorists. Adventurers are imbeciles.
But you guys have been on quite a few disaster tours yourselves?
That’s completely different. Many years ago when we took our first trip of that sort – It was Haiti – we went in the same group as that actor, Sean Penn. We weren’t there to ogle at dead bodies or endanger our own lives by getting crushed by crumbling buildings. We were there to participate. We were there to get an understanding of the situation. We were also pumping dollars into an economy that badly needed them.
The Jogging in Darfur trip?
Well, they chose a really stupid name for that tour, didn’t they? They shouldn’t have called it that. Even if we did do some short runs in the desert, that was only a small part of the package. We weren’t there to gawk at misery. We were there to experience the real world close up and first hand. You don’t get that from watching cable news.
Listen, can we talk about what you came here to talk about? This new trip is so much bigger than anything we’ve done before.
I agree. This one is mind boggling. But as you well know there is an issue here with authenticity. How can you be sure it’s the real thing? Many people are scoffing at this.
Let them scoff. We’ve done our research and we’ve been to the meetings and met with the scientists who have made it possible. They’re very brilliant people, those scientists. Cream of the crop. We’re convinced. We’ve seen all the proof we need. I can’t give you any details now because we’ve signed some very stringent NDAs, but this is for real and it’s undoubtedly the ultimate tourist experience ever, or the penultimate if you will, only they haven’t figured that other one out yet.
There has been a lot of publicity about the patent battles. Some people think you shouldn’t be able to patent something of this nature.
Not my problem. Billions of dollars of scientific research has gone into this. People have to protect their investments. Face it – that’s the way our free world economies work. First come, first serve, and then lock it down, baby.
Nevertheless there are several competing tour organizers. How did you chose?
We’ve looked at them all. We’ve compared what they have to offer.
And apparently those offerings are quite different.
This is true. There is a lot to see and you can’t do it all in one trip. Some say go with Arda Viraf Tours, others like Club Sheol. Then there’s Bardo Thodol Lines, Jahannam Cruises . . . they all have different things to offer, but we chose the Alighieri Company. We feel Alighieri’s itinerary best suited our lifestyle and our interests.
How do you prepare for such a unique voyage? For example, how do you pack?
Well, actually packing is a no-brainer. We’re allowed one bag plus a carry-on and you only take light, casual clothing, which makes sense as It can get very hot and there won’t be any dress-up events or formal dinners. Unfortunately they give us virtually no free time to get out and explore on our own, you know, wander off the beaten path. They claim it’s a liability issue. ‘Your safety is our primary concern, yada, yada, yada.’ We’ve heard that one before.
But no pictures?
Right. And that no-camera rule is a total bummer, even if it’s SOP for all the tour companies. It was almost a deal breaker for us because half the joy in travel is capturing those precious, unique moments and sharing them with friends and loved ones back home. It’s those images that keep the fun and excitement alive forever. Think of all the great experiences in life that have faded into oblivion simply because no one happened to have a camera handy. Think of the poor slobs in this country that go to such great trouble to visit Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon or wherever and forget their cameras. A few weeks later it’s like they had never been there.
And you have always had cameras with you.
Big time. We’ve photographed most of the truly amazing places on the planet. We’ve nailed it, my friend – everywhere. Look at that grand piano over there. There are so many pictures of us in front of famous monuments and natural wonders on that Steinway, Les can’t be bothered to lift the lid when entertaining guests.
You’ll just have to make mental notes on this trip I guess.
Don’t worry. We will. Next time we meet we’ll give you the full-monty lowdown on everything.
Well, thank you for your time and congratulations on being able to go on such a fantastic journey.
Hey, you know a couple of days ago a guy backed his car into the Tesla when we were out doing some last-minute shopping and I – politely, of course – told him to be more careful. You know what he said?
No, what did he say?
He said, ‘Go to hell, Motherfucker!’.
That’s so rude.
Well, you should have seen his face when I answered him: ‘You must be clairvoyant, Buddy. Cause that’s exactly where we’re heading.’