Queen Mary Ship Revisited

Today’s episode “Queen Mary Ship Revisited” is on  iTunes/Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastLibsynPocket CastStitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Today we talk about Kris’ family overnight stay on The Queen Mary with her daughters for her birthday! If you listened to our April 8, 2019 “Ahoy There Queen Mary!” episode, you’ll know Kym and her fiancé stayed in the Eisenhower Suite. While Kym had no overt experiences with ghosts, she did feel a heightened sense of awareness of the presence of certain, ah, energies in the historic room. So Kris and Kym compare notes as Kris recounts their adventures, starting with the Aquarium of the Pacific, eating a great lunch at Louisiana Charlie’s in Shoreline Village, and finally checking into – and “sleeping” overnight on – the legendary Queen Mary ship. So. Exciting. And yes. There was a ghost sighting.

But FIRST! Shoutout to Venture Pal daypack! A few episodes ago Kym shared about her awesome daypack that she uses when she takes her dogs for walks in our local regional park. So her gift to Kris was…TADA!…a Venture Pal daypack to use for her trip! Kris was really excited to see how much she could pack in the nifty backpack, and, let’s just say all the essentials fit: toiletries, night clothes, shoes, change of clothes, and coffee pot. Yes. Because Kris also listened to “Ahoy There Queen Mary!” (ahem) she already knew her stateroom didn’t come with a coffee pot. The Venture Pal daypack had more than enough space for everything she needed. Many thanks to Kym for the awesome birthday present. If you’re interested in buying one for yourself, check out all the lovely colors to choose from here.

Everything that Kris fit into her Venture Pal backpack (cat not included). Photo courtesy of Kris Core.

First stop was Aquarium of the Pacific (discounted tickets highly recommended!) where Kris and the girls pet rays, fed Lorakeets, squeed at the otters, and Hayley made a new friend in the tank walkthrough.

Once checked into the Queen Mary, Kris and the kids walked the stateroom hallway alllll the way down to room A171. If you view the Queen Mary Hotel website, all the photos show staterooms with inviting wood paneled walls, built-ins and all the vintage ship vibes you could ask for. Unfortunately, the “family room” A171 – which was quite large with two queen beds – doesn’t resemble those photos in the least. Those paneled rooms probably cost about a hundred bucks more a night, so ‘s’all good. It did come with two working portholes with a drop-dead gorgeous view of Long Beach city and harbor. While the room was quite in need of TLC (and more outlets), it wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t a true 1930’s stateroom on the Queen Mary experience, but the beds were passable and the bathroom was cute. The ghost lady was nice too.

The day was spent exploring the ship, and pretty much every door Kris came across, she tried to open. And if it opened, Kris went in, snoo…checking out wherever they were (the most favorite spot was the Verandah Grill event room. We aren’t sure they were supposed to be in there, but hey, THE DOOR WAS UNLOCKED!). Even spending all afternoon walking around the mid-renovation decks (and getting lost more than once), they still weren’t able to see everything there was to see. Probably the creepiest point on their self-guided exploration was the Isolation Ward. And the best part of their adventure? Watching the sunset together. Absolutely beautiful.

Probably the most enticing part of staying on The Queen Mary is the history. There is no other hotel in the world with the legendary stories that The Queen Mary has. Originally a luxury cruise ship, she then transformed into the fastest World War II troop ship ever (the enemies could never get her in range to shoot her down), back to a luxury liner, and then as a tourist attraction in Long Beach harbor since the late 60’s. For a great recap of her history and some really poignant personal stories, a must-see on the ship is the film in the small viewing room on the Promenade Deck between the shops and the Observation Lounge. Bring kleenex. And a sweater. There’s a lot of goodness in that documentary and worth sitting for the entire thing (though it is on a loop, so you can go back any time). Also worth checking out is the ship model gallery and The Shipyard room which houses the world’s largest Lego® model of the Queen Mary. Complete with tiny Lego® passengers. No. Not Lego® Batman. Kris would have paid more money to see a tiny Batman somewhere on board that thing. Someone has to make that happen.

And everywhere you go, on every deck, you will see original features in the Art Deco style: lighting fixtures, wood paneling, railings, etched glass, molded metal door handles, all harkening back to the days when the cost of first class passage equaled the price of a new home. Many fixtures and displays have plaques (and sometimes photos showing original use), which are totally Instagram-worthy and totally worth searching out. In fact, probably THE MOST picture-posing 5-star spot on the ship has to be in the Verandah Grill where murals painted by Doris Zinkeisen are still displayed (the largest one, “Entertainment,” is featured below).

If you’re a history buff, architecture geek, or just enjoy master craftsmanship, bring a good camera and capture the elegance and beauty of another era (Kris just had her iPhone…good enough to provide all these shots, so we accept). For some glory-days photos, check this link out.

And of course, after retiring to bed, Kris and the girls were sidelined by a spectral visitor in the middle of the night. The story is worth the listen, so if you want to know all about the ghost of room A171, you’ll have to hear it in our podcast episode! Let’s just say when two teenagers agree on something, you need to take it seriously. And Kris’ teenagers agreed they each saw a ghost in their stateroom (at different times), so you decide. We’re going with “yup, highly likely!”.

The next day Kris and the girls (tiredly) ended their trip with a very expensive – but very good – breakfast in the needing-a-carpet-renovation-stat Promenade Cafe. Before heading home they decided to take the Haunted Encounters tour. Their guide was funny and knowledgable (if a bit scruffy), and provided some interesting facts and historical insight, recounting many of the well-known ghost stories making the paranormal rounds (Door-13 crewman, Jackie in the pool, Winston Churchill, Room B340, etc.) as well as some Kris hadn’t heard before (the lady in white in the third class lounge, the stairs of death in third class (Poor poor people. Tsk.), screams heard near the tippy-pointy front of the ship (know by experts and most of the population on Earth as the bow) (creep factor: 20/10 btw), oh, and the hall of death. Yeah, that’s the narrow passage you walk through as you enter the Revenant Room for the Aidan Sinclair show “Illusions of the Passed” where you can see photo after photo after photo of the people who have died on the Queen Mary. Hint: There’s a lot. Kris asked if the Eisenhower room was haunted (if the Churchill suite is, why wouldn’t the Eisenhower be?) but there was no definitive answer. If you want to find out for yourself, be our guest. WE won’t pay for it, and technically you’d be the Queen Mary’s guest…but..anyway…nevermind.

Even with the shortcomings of the actual room Kris stayed in, both Kym and Kris HIGHLY recommend staying on the Queen Mary. The ship is in need of some serious (and mechanically necessary) repairs that go beyond cosmetic facelifting, but if you can set aside your expectations of what you think your room should look like (again, if you pay discount you get discount, eh Expedia?), and can overlook some of the surface flaws – if you truly think about the ship and where she has been, what she’s done, WHO she has transported both as luxury liner and warship, it’s a no-brainer. Look underneath, look past (literally and figuratively) and allow the magic and majesty of what the Queen Mary was and still is to set in. Stay in a barebones room if you have to, or splurge for the wood paneling and built ins. Lug a cooler of snacks, or be a big spender in Sir Winston’s or the Promenade Cafe or the on-board Starbucks (they’re expensive everywhere, tbh)…whatever your budget, it’s worth it. You don’t even have to believe in ghosts. But if you DO, and you REALLY want to find a ghost with a professional, there’s a tour for THAT, with real paranormal investigating (oh hai…a bit of friendly advice: If you’re staying on the ship overnight to do your own investigation in your stateroom, the family in the room next to you can hear you talking, opening your bag of chips and generally be paranormal investigating assholes. The walls are paper thin. Be chill.)

Kris will definitely go back again. And maybe this time drop the Benjamins for the wood paneling.

Oh. Don’t forget your coffee pot. AND a fan. You know, small portholes.

Oh yeah…almost forgot. The weird high pitched sound Kris and the girls heard in their room after Hayley saw the ghost, THIS is the what Kris was trying to describe.

Check out our “Queen Mary Ship Revisited” episode on  iTunes/Apple Podcasts, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn, Pocket CastStitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Then all you need to do is 1) subscribe 2) download and 3) listen! AND!!! 4) If you enjoy what you hear, please leave a rating and a review (pretty please?). The more subscribers and reviews we get, the more opportunities we get to grow this podcast and bring you richer content.

And don’t forget to follow us here at themuglytruth.com (click that blue WordPress Follow button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow The Mugly Truth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

© The Mugly Truth 2019 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2019. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox”  by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com.
All photos courtesy of Kris Core. All rights reserved.

Are You Hungary?

Kym In Budapest
Kym on vacation in Budapest, Hungary!


Happy Tuesday and hello week 2 of 2019! In today’s episode, Are You Hungary?, Kym recaps her adventures in her grandmother’s homeland of Hungary.  Her trip proved a lot may be different across the globe from continent to continent, country to country, city to city, but so much is also the same.

For instance:

  1. Teenagers – Ahh, the lovely demeanor of a teenager. To shake things up, make it a local bit…teen, and you’re a tourist. Can’t you just SMELL the insolence? If they’re sitting in your assigned bus seat, they’re not going to give a solid rat’s ass about how much you paid for it – you silly not-us person – and they will roll their eyes at you and make your life a living hell when you get adulty with them.
  2. Karma – Karma IS a bitch all over the globe, and one of those little brats on the bus found that out sooner than later. Can we get a ginormous “TEE-HEE”??
  3. The Knight Bus – The Knight Bus might be a fictional mode of transportation in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it’s very possible she got real life inspiration from a certain Pest bus driver.
  4. Traffic – crazy drivers and traffic sucks worldwide. Yup.
  5. The Cat Cafe there’s one in Budapest and one right here at home in Southern California (Los Angeles to be exact). They’re also in Korea, Austria, Spain, Germany, France and the UK. Did we mention Taiwan? It’s safe to say in ANY location it’s always awesome to have a cuppa with a big ginger feline checking in on you at your table to say, “How are thee hooman peasants? Java good? I allow you to scratch my ear. Behold my majestic tail. And now…I leave. Meow, bitches.”
  6. Snooty Waitstaff – When Kris was a girl, her grandma shared stories about being a waitress and the very worst thing you could do to show your disdain for crappy service was leave a penny as a tip. Kym and fam would have left a certain Viennese server a single, gunky, nasty, old penny had the damned gratuity not already been included in the bill. Big snooty jerk server man. Pffft.
  7. Car accidents – It’s about as NOT FUN to be in a fender bender halfway around the world as it is at home. But it’s really interesting when you don’t know what the hell you’re supposed to do when it occurs and you can’t speak the language to find out what’s going on. No one was hurt, which is the best possible outcome no matter where you are.
  8. New Year’s Fireworks. All. Night. – Yep, it seems New Year’s Eve is celebrated by loud, happy people with lots and lots of fireworks alllllll through the night no matter where you are trying to sleep in the world.
  9. Coffee – coffee adoration is universal, and even though it might be a little more difficult to get coffee “to go” in Budapest, you can find it if you look hard enough.
  10. Love Locks – Paris isn’t the only city where you can seal your love with a lock on a gate near a river. Just sayin’. But are you a key lock person, or a combo lock person? AHA! There’s a difference…as Kym found out.
  11. Late Flights – Ohhhhhhhhh YESSSS! The supreme joy of sweating your butt off as you sprint through an airport trying to reach your connecting flight and make it in the very, very nick of time. So. Much. Fun.

Even though the similarities might have elicited a smile (or a snarl) from our intrepid cohost, they and the unique elements of Budapest and Vienna are now incredible memories and lively stories for her and the family: a vampire tour of Buda Castle, an energetic hike up Gellert Hill, crossing one (or more) of seven bridges spanning the great Danube river, trying local food and drink, writing on walls in a “ruin bar,” dipping into the splendid Széchenyi Thermal Baths, experiencing the poignant and emotional Holocaust memorial Shoes on the Danube Bank…well, go ahead and listen in to hear Kym tell it.

Oh, and sausages in Vienna are definitely NOT NOT NOT the same Vienna sausages we have here in the states. #sansgelatinousgoop #actuallyrealfood #kymsaysyum

Budapest thermal baths. Photo courtesy of Kym Wagner and Kayla Miles.

Fitting in beautifully in the country of her ancestors. Photo courtesy of Kym Wagner and Kayla Miles.

This lovely, king-of-the-scratching-post, gentleman graced Kym and family with a visit at their table at the Budapest Cat Cafe! Photo courtesy of Kym Wagner and Kayla Miles.

View from atop Gellert Hill. Photo courtesy of Kym Wagner and Kayla Miles.

Holocaust memorial along the Danube in Budapest.

Kym likes a guy in uniform. Oh, wait. KRIS likes a guy in uniform. Maybe Kym’s giving this guy Kris’ number?

Coffee love transcends borders, oceans and snooty Viennese wait-staff.

The love lock gate of Budapest.

The sign says it all! Photo courtesy of Kym Wagner and Kayla Miles.

Check out our ARE YOU HUNGARY? episode on  iTunes/Apple Podcasts, SpotifyOvercast, Libsyn, Pocket CastStitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Then all you need to do is 1) subscribe 2) download and 3) listen! AND!!! 4) If you enjoy what you hear, please leave a rating and a review (pretty please?). The more subscribers and reviews we get, the more opportunities we get to grow this podcast and bring you richer content.

And don’t forget to follow us here at themuglytruth.com (click that blue WordPress Follow button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow The Mugly Truth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

© The Mugly Truth 2018 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2018. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox”  by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com