5th May 2008 – A Day in Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid Photo

It’s fair to say that this day was something of a write-off. I used the Internet in the tiny library in the morning and then sat in the sun writing some postcards. That was about all I could manage after the previous night…

Let’s start at the beginning. We went to a sports bar by the lake where we had a couple of beers and some food. Bar food in America usually consists of a large burger smothered in some sort of really fatty sauce or dressing, and a huge portion of fries. This was no different. It always tastes great but you do wonder what sort of long term damage you are doing to your body. Short answer: a lot.

The place was run by a Yugoslav guy who was pretty amenable, but it was absolutely dead and we are guys who like a bit of action. I’ve got a degree in computing for Christ’s sake. So we moved on to another bar further down the main street – Zig Zag’s Pub.

In this lovely establishment we drank a skinful of beer and a few complimentary super-strong shots of some berry-flavoured nastiness from the barmaid. In between drinking, we got down to the serious business of playing pool, firstly between ourselves, but later against some fat, goatee-bearded guy called Kelly, who wore his baseball cap back-to-front.

I realise that I didn’t need to go into quite so much descriptive detail about the guy. I could have just said he was American. I don’t recall much else about Kelly other than the fact that he liked some Bulgarian heavy metal band, was pretty obnoxious, far too over-confident and – true to form – shit at pool. Again, American.

We also played a few games against another guy, who surprisingly turned out to be pretty decent (he still lost), and we chatted to an old fellow who was sitting at the bar. He had lived in Lake Placid all of his life and enjoyed fishing. His day job was working as a kitchen hand, cleaning plates. That’s right, Mass and I only mingle with the top echelon of society.

The barmaid was very friendly and entertaining, and I think we spoke to several other people too over the course of the night, but the names and faces in my mind have blurred into one big, loud, ignorant guy called something like Buddy.

One person I do recall clearly, who turned up later in the night, was a really hot girl called Jazmin, who sat down at the bar next to me and we got talking. Originally from NYC, but now living in Connecticut, Jazmin was apparently in town for some convention and told me she had a Jacuzzi in her hotel room.  Now this sounded interesting.

Unfortunately, before I had a chance to discover much more, she was dragged out of the pub by her “boss” (pimp?): a fat, loud and exceptionally unpleasant man, who was very drunk … pretty much like me really, except that I’m not fat.

As previously mentioned, all I managed to do after this heavy session was to sit by the picturesque lake and soak up the sunshine, nursing the mother of all hangovers. Incredibly, Mass was worse. At some point between leaving the pub and getting into the hotel (a distance of no more than half a mile on a straight road), he got stopped by the police and threatened with arrest! He had no idea how he got back to the room.

The only thing I do know is that Mass should consider changing his name to Mess. It had been a long time since I’d seen him like that, and furthermore, his farts were absolutely unbearable in the morning. I’ve never met anyone who can fart like him. They fill me with a mix of fear, disgust and sheer awe.

Later in the day, while Mass still lay in bed at the hotel, I felt my appetite had returned enough to contemplate some food. I headed to the local Quiznos and bought a beef sub.

Quiznos is a franchised fast food chain specialising in subs. Incredibly there are 4,000 located throughout the States. To my horror, I was served by Kelly, still looking resplendent in his backwards baseball cap.

That guy’s got real job prospects.


Finally Mass surfaced and we decided that he’d like to take a scenic flight over the Adirondacks. If there’s anything that can get Mass off his deathbed, it’s planes. If planes didn’t exist, Mass would be the world’s unhappiest man.

$70 seemed a pretty reasonable price for the two of us and we were treated to some spectacular scenery. We saw the highest peak in New York State and some hikers up on the mountains, a few lakes and even buffalo.

Mass sat up front in the co-pilot seat talking shop with the pilot, whilst I sat in the back getting ready to throw up. Unfortunately I was still feeling a little worse for wear and the bumpy flight convinced me that my Quiznos sub was about to make an unwelcome reappearance.

Mark Jackman is one half of the Jackman Brothers, who have written a trilogy of humour books set in the fictional town of Old Liston. He has also written a number of travel diaries, including the Mass and Peahead series about his road trips through America with his buddy Mass.