Travelers Share Their Biggest Disaster Stories
All great travel stories in the world begin with some or the other disaster. From missing the flights to getting robbed, from bad hotels to losing tracks, these stories have all the trills that make for an amazing (read: disastrous) traveling experience. But no matter what, we find them amazing, and of course, educational.
We also love these stories as they are far away from the fictional stories that we see in the movies and series. The ones that we watch online are, in fact, the glamorous versions of travel experiences that lead us far away from reality. These stories, on the other hand, give us a taste of what ugly things that might happen to you if you are not too careful, and sometimes, even if you are too careful.
Our Redditors have done their share of traveling. And we are glad they did so. Otherwise, how else we’d have gained such amazing first-hand experiences? If you too have such thrilling stories to tell, share away in the comments below. Until then, happy reading!
The False Attendant
In Turkey a lot of public toilets have attendants outside that you have to pay some small amount of money to in order to use them. We were out one day and my dad wanted to use the toilet, so my dad handed the money to the woman outside, and went to go in.
Except, this woman wasn’t a toilet attendant. As the realization of what my dad thought she was spread over her face, she started screaming “You think I am toilet attendant? YOU THINK I AM A TOILET ATTENDANT??? RAAARRGHH!!!” in broken half German half English and started chasing him down the road waving her handbag at him.
Meanwhile the rest of us are just about dying from laughter and a very confused German man comes out of the toilets wondering where his wife has gone to.
Bugged Me All Night
The worst hotel I stayed at was in Daraa, just over the border in Syria after I spent the day travelling from Jordan (this was 20 odd years ago). This place didn’t look too sketchy at first glance. I crashed out in bed, but woke a couple of hours later COVERED in bed bugs and bitten to hell. I end up sleeping on the floor. In the morning I go to the loo and it’s like the Apocalypse there. As if a prison dirty protest had been taking place for 10 years. Horse-sized cockroaches everywhere and somewhere beneath the smeared shiz and detritus was possibly a hole in the ground where you’re meant to shiz. It was so bad that when Trainspotting came out in the cinema a year or two later, I laughed at the toilet scene because it was so tame compared to what I’d seen in Syria.
I stayed in a really sketchy hotel in Cairo, with mice running along the skirting and bare wires protruding from the wall just above my pillow. After a couple of days I wanted to find out whether the wires were live, so I touched them together and shorted out three buildings. The toilets were better though.
Saved From A Disaster
When I was roughly ten, we were riding The Ducks, a type of vehicle that is also a boat. I love the water and sight-seeing, so this was awesome.
We passed a dam, and not 10 seconds after the boat left the dam behind, a speed boat came flying over the top of the dam and landed upside down on the concrete below.
They quickly brought us back to the tour station and we saw EMTs carrying body bags out of the ambulance. Later found out on the news that the driver of the boat was a very drunk young woman.
Stranger In The Bus
My friend flew into Poland — I forget which city — and was planning to take a bus from the airport to Krakow , which she was told would be a trip of a few hours. She got off the plane and asked at the information desk about the bus to Krakow. They told her where to find it and she went on her way. She got on her bus and took a seat.
The bus is starting to fill up. A few people are looking at her weird. She’s thinking, shiz, is this like when I wore the neon pink tee shirt in Germany and literally every other person I saw was wearing black or grey and I looked like a freak tourist? Eventually the bus fills up, the doors close, and they’re on their way.
That’s right about the point that she realized everyone else on this bus seemed to know each other.
She was on a school trip of Dutch students visiting Krakow. The bus was already moving. They were really cool about it, but she was mortified. But hey, free bus trip
Diary of Bidet Jones
My friend was visiting Budapest with her roommate and had been told they just had to visit the thermal baths. The way the baths work is you shower, go into the baths and tool around/relax, and then shower again when you get out.
Steps one and two went without fanfare. The baths were nice and relaxing, and they were ready to shower again and get out of there.
They went into the bathroom and unfortunately all of the showers were full. With people so loosey-goosey from the baths, some of them were taking a while, too. But this one old woman was showering in the middle of the room in a giant, super-powerful sprinkler — the spray went all the way to the ceiling. She finished up and my friend said to her roommate, “Hey, let’s just use the sprinkler shower. We can both use it at the same time and get out of here faster.” So they got into the sprinkler shower and started sudsing up, doing their thing.
A few minutes later a woman comes up to them, talking very quickly and gesticulating wildly. “Sorry, only English,” they repeat over and over. Finally the woman motions for them to move out of the sprinkler shower. She looks at them and then exaggeratedly pops a squat over the stream of water.
They were showering in a bidet.
In Middle of Nowhere
Signed up for a three day trip to Amsterdam that said it had good accommodations in the center of the city. It actually turned out to be a boat that was docked in a canal nowhere near anything. It was the middle of winter and there was no heat on the boat. The sewage system malfunctioned and leaked everywhere on the second day so the boat stunk. There was nowhere to even buy food nearby so I spent most of the trip huddled under a blanket feeling cold and hungry and wishing I had the energy to walk into the city.
Lost In Transition Actually
American airlines changed my ticket due to delays in NYC. They did not tell British or Turkish airways. So when I called to confirm my return ticket 2 days before I’m set to fly out of Nairobi I find that both British Airways and Turkish Airlines canceled my return trip because I was a no show.
Turkish Airlines in Nairobi told me that the only thing I had to do to get my whole flight reinstated was to have American Airlines put in a code that said they diverted my flight and that would auto update all the way through the system. American Airlines refuse to do that and the woman on the line refused to bump me up to a higher authority. After being on the phone and in and out of the Turkish Airlines office for two days straight they finally gave me a waiver on their end. It was such a hassle, I would have to call American Airlines when they were open East Coast time and then I’d have to be Turkish office when they are open during their work hours.
I wish they did it sooner it would have saved me a lot of stress but considering all that I love Turkish Airlines and I hate American Airlines. It was going to cost my wife and I five thousand dollars a person to get to buy the same tickets that we had. I seriously felt like I was drowning.
Wish I Didn't Read That
My family took a trip to Sudan (To visit my Dads family). My brother came back with a sever rash all over his back.
The rash persisted for a few weeks, and the doctors had no idea what it was. Then, we were at the park one day and he started complaining about the rash to our mom, saying it starting to hurt more.
She ignored it, thinking he must have rubbed it on something by accident, when he fell to the floor screaming with pain, and literally hundreds and hundreds of flies came flying out of a single hole at the base of his neck. He was 8.
Apparently some sort of African fly had laid eggs (or more likely cocoons or something) in his back when we slept. They hatched when we were back in England.
Just Get Me Home
Must have been when I started my travels to Australia. The flight was Emirates Zurich to Melbourne, with a changeover in Dubai.
I was supposed to arrive in Dubai at about 7am, then leave on another plane 3 hours later. Because there was fog around Dubai, we landed in Abu Dhabi instead. They informed us on the situation and since it was Emirates with their great situation, I didn’t care much, they’d sort it out, right? After sitting in Abu Dhabi for 5h, we flew back to Dubai and finally landed there. My connection flight was gone, but since I had gotten myself a 1 year visa, there was time enough to get to Australia.
One we entered the terminal, I changed my mind. It was pandemonium and chaos, massive queues at every counter, for 5h worth of missed flights. I went to find row of counters to add myself to the pile of people already there, and got comfortable. For the next 15 HOURS!
It was crazy: the queues never advanced, nobody seemed to be coming out, and the Emirates ground staff seemed completely incapable of handling the situation. After 3h of standing there, most people cracked and started abusing the service agents about their ineptitude (I kept myself together for a few more hours, but in the end, just didn’t give a st anymore). The airline handed out water and some bread in the beginning, but that was it. So most people didn’t eat or drink all day, out of fear of losing their spot in the queue. Though after a few hours, people got acquainted with their neighbors and could a certain solidarity formed, so that everyone kept each other’s spot free. In the late hours of the evening and with swelling feet, we all noticed the Emirates had started giving out hotel vouchers, because all of the next Australia-bound flights were full. WHAAAAAAT!!, I don’t care anymore, just let this misery end!! When I was finally at the counter, I didn’t get served for another hour. I had no idea why.
WHEN I finally got served, the refused to re-book me. After standing there from midday to 1am, the don’t want to give me a new ticket!
They claimed that they couldn’t do anything because I had booked with a 3rd party website (it’s still their flight, it was a bullshiz answer). Also the advice to call the company I had booked with, in Germany. It was nighttime there at that point. I was tired, worn out and frustrated, so I just stumbled away and cried a bit. Couldn’t use ATMs to get money out for some reason, so there was no calling the booking agent, as my phone didn’t get reception there either. After a while, I just wandered back to “my” service desks and they had started grouping people together according to their destination. I went to the Melbourne group and just sat and waited. After quite a while, everyone’s hero of the day showed up. I will be eternally grateful to this young and scrawny Emirates guy who just took everyone’s passport and tickets, went onto the phone for 20 minutes and then came back with new boarding passes for all of us!!! Deliverance!! HAAA!
In the end, we had to jog to the gate, because my new flight was about half an hour later. I left Dubai slightly traumatized at 3am something, after having stood in line there for about 15 hours. My too large shoes barely fit because my feet were so swollen. I slept through most of the following 19h-flight.
Ah, and I forgot one. At about 11pm, Emirates told us over loud speakers that they had run out of hotel vouchers, so everyone should go away and come back after 2am….
I will avoid that company for the rest of my life.
Sure He Was Just Rude
When on a trip to California my senior year in high school, we went to Rodeo drive to see the walk of fame and the street performers.
I watched all kinds of street performers and people dressed as various fictional characters. Some were cool, others were kind of shoddy. But none compared to Barney the dinosaur. Or as I called him, Barney the Sleaziosaur.
His costume was made out of purple carpet. Not even joking. You could see where it had been stapled together and could see that plastic hairy looking stuff sticking out. Probably came out of a hippy van or something.
Anyway, a friend of mine got called a “freaking broke Mexican” by this Barney because he wouldn’t give him 5 dollars for a picture and then snapped a pic of him with his camera.
Not ten seconds later, a little girl that couldn’t be over the age of 6 came running up to Barney (while he and my friend were still yelling trash talk over a short distance as we left) and hugged his leg. I don’t know what happened exactly but he yelled something and pulled his head off. The little girl proceeded to cry and not in just a sniffly tearful way. She bawled.
Please, Just Take Me Home
Flew with China Eastern Air to visit family in Hong Kong. The businessman seated in the aisle was a rude idiot that constantly made displeased faces at me. He wouldn’t even freaking stand up when I needed to get past him to my window seat (freaking bizarre). He clearly knew I needed to get past him, but made me climb over him, glowering at me as I passed. The seats were concrete, the air was stale, and the food was stand-up-comedian level inedible: dry rice and shizzy, bland fish. There was no in-flight entertainment and they announced that no electronic devices were allowed at any time. I only brought my phone with me to keep my occupied, so I was SOL. So all I could do for hours was just try to force myself to sleep as to not be conscious of how awful this all was.
On my return flight back to Japan, the airline decided that they couldn’t let me fly without having a ticket booked to leave Japan. I explained that I have flown into Japan almost a dozen times without a departure ticket and it has never been an issue. They did not care and insisted that it was illegal (it’s not) and they would deny me entry (they wouldn’t). By the time I jumped through enough of their idiotic hoops to get on board, they decided that 1 hour was not enough to make my connecting flight in Shanghai, so they would have to book me on another flight tomorrow and charge me a few hundred more dollars for that.
I flipped them off, went down the hall to Cathay Pacific. I gave them money, they gave me comfortable seats, pleasant crew, good food, in-flight entertainment, and no freaking bullshiz. Screw you, China Eastern.
You Can't Thug Me
I’m a little embarrassed – I’m gonna sound so easy telling this. But that’s the magic of hustlers game I guess. Anyway, here goes.
The thing with Cuba (in those days anyway – 7 years ago) is that they have a two-currency system. One currency for the people and one for the tourists. The first is worth 23/1 of a euro and the second is almost the same as the euro. The currency of the tourists could be used anywhere and spent on brand name stuff, while the other could only be used in market places.
My friend and I were out sightseeing and coming off the jet lag while trying to find a bank to exchange some euros. We’d been told never to do so in the street. We met a very friendly guy that wanted to help us find a bank – he talked a lot on the phone in Spanish. We didn’t understand any Spanish. When we got to the bank it was just closing, a man in a tellers uniform told us and it would continue to be so for the next couple of days due to a carnival. But he would help us exchange our money in the pub across the street….
The thing is that even though this sounded alarms in the back of our heads we were kind of swept along with the whole thing. We decided to only exchange 1/3 of our funds as something did not feel right. Suddenly they were gone and we were left with the crappy currency of the people.
They were obviously two friends scamming us. The bank were still open and the tellers wore different clothes. And we felt so incredibly stupid. We went from being very trusting to being the complete opposite and aggressively cursed off anyone begging us for money.
After a couple of hours we decided not to let the experience ruin our chance of meeting people and that we would only really lose money if we actually handed them over ourselves.
In the end we had our fun times with hustlers and when the talk arrived on the subject of money we just laughed with shaking heads.
Could Have Been Dead
Downtown was really nice. Olympic Park, World of Coke, a very good Aquarium, and blah, blah, etc.
Outside the perimeter was like running the gauntlet in the post-apocalypse. I had a guy come up to me, pull up his shirt showing a revolver in his pants, and say, “Hey, whitebread, you got fi’ dollars for’ a hit?”.
I still tell myself giving him $20 while my daughter went pee in the worst gas station bathroom her or my wife have ever seen wasn’t a “mugging”.
I’m certain if our car happened to break down there we would have all 3 died terribly.
Elevators Are Scary
I was 11 years old when we went to Slovakia with the whole family and it was pretty much like any big city holiday and therefore completely boring and uninteresting for an 11 year old boy. So one evening when we got back to the hotel I wanted to see if the hotel had any sort of cool features like the arcade room or anything else than spending time with my family talking about all the boring churches and museums and what-not. So I went into an elevator and pressed for the lobby and absolutely nothing happened. I figured the thing might be broken so I just pressed to open the doors and again nothing happened. I was slightly afraid because now I was kind of stuck inside the elevator so I knocked a couple of times on the door which in hindsight was a bad idea. Because after I knocked on the door the elevator started falling down. Not in a free fall luckily but definitely faster than an elevator is supposed to go down. A few seconds later it hit the ground and stopped with a bang followed by a “Ding” and the door opened and let me into a small completely dark room only lit up by the lights from inside the elevator and then there was a locked door. The only thing I could make the elevator do now was open and close the door so I sat in there waiting for someone to rescue me while I went through the 5 stages of grief in perfect order. At first I didn’t believe it was real. It must have been some sort of mistake and soon someone would open the locked door and find me. Then I got really angry because I was just trying to find something to do and then I had to get and get trapped in a stupid elevator. Bargaining is pretty hard when you’re alone but I figured it was as good a time as any to start hoping for some divine intervention and afterwards I just cried until I accepted my fate and peed in the elevator as a sort of “screw you” to the hotel when they would find my body so somebody would have to clean up my piss too. A while later though I heard something that sounded enough like footsteps for me to shout for help at it. Apparently it noticed because they stopped and then moved closer to the elevator shaft (it came from a couple floors up) and I shouted help again and again until the elevator suddenly said “ding” and started moving up and opening the door on the very floor I had left it and there stood nobody other than my own big brother who had gone out to look for me because I had been away for over an hour. when he had heard me call for help and called the elevator.
Get Me Out of Here
Getting stuck in Manila airport for 8 hours. It was supposed to just be a quick stop over.
Some kinda crazy storm started, the power kept cutting in and out, none of the food stores took card as payment, there were no ATMs, the advertised free Wifi wasn’t working, they changed our departure gate three times (and we only figured this out because we kept asking staff why our flight wasn’t listed on the gate’s TV), none of the staff seemed to give a flying shiz about anything (some even seemed to be taking a nap at their station- leaning on counter tops or leaning back in chairs with their eyes closed), the ONE toilet block they had for the entire terminal had 4 cubicles (one was being used as a storage closet though).
And then as I was waiting in the freaking huge line for this toilet, word spreads down the line that the water is now not working and the toilets are all out of order. So everyone just keeps using them, and piling more and more paper and waste into the bowl.
Needless to say, the food on the actual plane sucked and I’m never flying with Philippine Airlines ever, ever again.
Stalkers Got No Peace
A few months ago when I was in Italy, I decided to go read at the beach nearby. It ended up with me there nearly everyday we didn’t have anything planned. I should mention I was a 23 year old girl in the middle of rural Italy and the Italians are very open about how they think and feel. I was followed home and nearly run off my bike by one man, found a guy watching me in the bushes, asked out by random old men nearly every day, had a guy whackin the bushes nearby. Though I loved my time in Italy it did ruin it slightly.
Creepiest Eye-Contact Ever
I’m a guy and here’s my stranger masturbating story. I was staying with my girlfriend in Vietnam and trying to find some shirts so I could take her out to nice restaurants and not look like a filthy backpacker.
After a few frustrating hours of searching and thinking I’d have to get the shirts custom made, I found some at Saigon Square, and I walked home via the D1-D4 river, pretty pleased with myself. There were a few guys fishing along the way, but nobody nearby. Then I noticed this guy, fifteen feet away in the very low bushes between the river and the freeway and I thought, surely he can’t be tugging furiously on his tiny dick in public like that. But he was. I had to keep walking. He was between me and home and it was going to piss down raining at any moment. Fine, I thought, I’ll just stare at the river as I pass.
I don’t know how many of you have confronted members of the public brazenly choking their turkeys, but you can’t look away from shiz like that. It’s like your brain thinks it’s a cobra or something, and you have to watch it intently in case it spits in your eye. So I drew level with him and he’s really giving his dick a working over and that was it, I started laughing. He looked up and we locked eyes for a beautiful moment, and then he blew all over the grass and the magic was over.
So I walked home, laughing all the way, and immediately messaged my girlfriend about it and her response, verbatim, was: “Oh my God. Did you buy the shirts?” (In her defense, she thought my story was some elaborate Australian joke she didn’t quite understand. Then I had to explain that the guy wasn’t just urinating in public, unless his urine was astonishingly white and ropey.)
Flush It Off
When the toilet clogged in my Brooklyn apartment my boyfriend had to ask our landlord to borrow a snake to fix the situation. Our landlord was shocked and perturbed to learn that we flush toilet paper and instructed us to put it in a basket. Boyfriend flat out refused, equally shocked, and tried to sensitively inform him that American plumbing is capable of handling toilet paper. It took a plumber telling him it’s okay for him to back down and permit to flush (but only one-ply).
Stripped Off All The Money
I was a young horny guy in the navy and we just made it to Naples. My buddy and I take the train to Rome and after doing tourist stuff we head to a strip club.
There’s no one in there but 2 women, the bartender and bouncers but we don’t care. They usher us over to a booth and the two women start flirting with us and we’re just having a good time.
Without even asking the bartender pours us champagne. Each of us had 2 small glasses. I’m sure you can see where this is going. We weren’t even there 45 minutes before we decide to pay and leave and we have a 1000 euro tab for the bottle service.
We were escorted by the bouncers to an ATM outside the club to make sure we paid.
We know we were stupid and didn’t want any trouble so we paid and got the hell out.
You Can't Bully Me
My brother and I had met up in Turkey as he was training in Thailand and I was currently in Sweden, so we thought Bodrum would be nice to party and relax.
The night was a bit chilly so I had borrowed a spare jumper from him, labelled with his fighting gym from Thailand. That bit is important and relevant later on. We settled to sit and watch the football at a bar/club, ordering beers as we went from the waiter. Later on the night I told my brother that our currency was starting to run out and we had no means to exchange more money. We asked the waiter to bring out our tab so we could settle it and he kept delaying it. He then brought us a couple of shots ‘on the house’ and kept being friendly but failed to bring out the tab. This happened again and again, even when we told him we needed the tab as we had no more money. ‘On the house’ was a freaking lie. The bill came out as almost double our original budget, including extra shit we didn’t even drink. They also charged us for the peanuts on the table.
So cue the awkward silence of a waiter standing over us, flanked by three other waiters. They’re expectantly waiting for the couple of hundred lira to appear. We had like, 80 or something. It’s getting tense and everyone appears agitated.
My brother took the lead and got up to face the waiters. In the most broken Turkish he could muster, he explained to the lead waiter that we were both professional fighters on tour through Asia and Europe, that we had come to our home country to enjoy the scenes. He began ranting about how he was so disappointed at being treated like this, then motioned to me and added that I was becoming really angry at the whole situation. I was stone faced, mainly because I was shocked/confused.
One by one each waiter started to back off and a nearby bouncer who had floated in basically nope’d right back out. The waiter agreed to just take the 80 lira and apologized for the confusion on the bill. We made a slow escape around a corner and then basically legged it the hell out of there.
Don’t go to Bodrum.
Drunk Scene 101
Something happened to my best friend and I in Vegas, except without the bottle service. Got took a near 600 dollar lap dance because I was drunk out of my mind. Swore we were at a bar the entire time we were there and that the lap dance area was some type of swanky VIP.
Sobered up quickly when a guy came out to the couch I was sitting with a clipboard and a flashlight shining on a receipt to sign. Chick said I better tip at least 100 to the guy as well or there would be trouble. I was young, dumb, and scared, so I paid it like an idiot and immediately left on foot and walked back to my hotel, losing my friend in the process (stupid move again – just a crazy experience all around that is too much to detail now).
The club was was named Sapphire’s if I remember right. Never again.
You'll Go To Hell
I’m extremely terrified of flying, and I absolutely HAD to fly to Las Vegas to be with my mother(driving wasn’t an option). I have a little light bulb shaped glass jar(maybe 2 inches at most) that my portion of my brothers ashes are in , and of course I was taking my brother with me, because 1-it’s my brother and I’m not just leaving his ashes for good , and 2- it was my older brother and it was comforting to have him ‘with me’ because I was seriously in tears and he always has protected me. Sure enough TSA searches my carry on, asks what it is(completely retarded question, its clear-you can see the bone fragments and all), but very politely,and almost sheepishly, I explain to her its my brother’s ashes and that its my first time flying. She gets this look of disgust on her face, and I tell her that I wanted it on my carry-on with me because I didn’t want it to get broken or spill and that I was scared of flying. This woman threw them away. Right in front me. I started bawling.
I did a summer study abroad in Kenya. We had a home base and then took trips around the country for 5-12 days. I would leave most of my stuff at the home base and bring a smaller bag with me on the trips. First day of a ten day trip, my bag was stolen – literally everything I had with me except my passport and cash, which I thankfully had in a money belt type thing on me at the time. We felt pretty certain we knew who took it and called the cops. Big mistake. By the time we left the police station, I was so fearful for the safety of the boys we accused, I couldn’t leave without making sure the boys went with us.
For ten days I had to wash my underwear each night and hope it dried by the morning. Another girl had an extra deodorant she gave me. By the time we got back, I never wanted to see those clothes again – ten days in a row, ugh. Lost my camera, binoculars, some amazing pictures, lots of stuff. Sucked.
I was in Egypt and we were in a tour bus heading down the Sinai Peninsula to Sharm el-Sheikh. About half-way down the peninsula we stopped at a rest area. I really needed to relieve myself and ran to the restroom. I was undoing my belt and starting to pull down my pants as I entered into the stall (couldn’t hold it much longer), when an idiot crawled out from being the toilet. I’m convinced he made an audible hissing noise, but that might have been me. I ran out there, pants half-down screaming “ankabut kabeer! ankabut kabeer!” Which means “big spider.” The owner sighed, grabbed a broom and chased him out of there.
My Own Savior
My political science teacher spent the last year traveling across Africa for personal enlightenment, he told us that when he was in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa.
The taxi driver picked him up from the hotel he decided to stay at (it was a one night thing cause he just wanted to have a hot shower). Being the hotel and all obviously only people with money can afford to stay at such a location.
Taxi driver starts to driver in the completely opposite direction of the destination, eventually getting to a very narrow alley.
My teacher states “if you do not turn this car around, I’m jumping out right now and you don’t get paid.” (He said this while literally opening the door.
Guy stops the car, ponders for a minute and turns around back in the intended direction.
Teacher is white and nerdy looking too (really nice guy though just not the best physical appearance to look intimidating)
Tickets For Money Please
I guess this story had to be told on reddit sometimes. Not me but my parents went away to Paris for their 15 th anniversary. Moulin rouge had just come out and she loved it so my dad took her to see the real thing. On their quick tour of Paris they decided to go to the Eiffel tower because why not?
Before I proceed I feel is vital you know that my mother hates heights but the opportunity was too good to pass up. Now, as they tell it, you have to buy tickets to go up each level. Pretty sure you can buy one all the way to the top but because my mum hates heights they decided that they would progress gradually and save money if she didn’t fancy going higher.
So they get to the first floor and have a look around. Mum enjoys it but decides it might be too much for her to go up another level. She suggests to my dad that they should get some money or to pay the hotel and some emergency money for the journey home the next day (They were taking the euro-tunnel).
My dad approaches one odd the many cash machines which are allowed around the site. I’m not sure whether this struck him as odd but it probably should have done. He entered the amount of money he wanted to withdraw into the cash machine. This is where a problem is realized. This, like the other cash machines scattered across the first floor of the Eiffel tower, was not a cash machine but a ticket machine. My Dad had just withdrawn 500 tickets. Said tickets promptly fly from the machine causing a mess and my Dad panics. He tells mum what has happened. While she should probably have been worried about how they would pay for the hotel, she wasn’t. She laughed and mocked him to this day.
My dad speaks British French which means he speaks English with a french accent to communicate to French people. He used this skill to explain the situation to a lady at an information kiosk. She didn’t understand at first, her British French was not well practiced but eventually she realized. She too broke into laughter.
Once she had recovered she assured my dad in french that she would find the manager and see what they could do. A few minutes later the manager and herself appeared. The manager has slightly red eyes and had clearly been crying rather hard for the past few minutes. After he had regained control of the smirks and giggles he assured my dad that he would be reimbursed.
So happy ending for my mum who’s money was reimbursed but not for my dad. His pride is forever damaged as this story is brought up at dinner party after dinner party after dinner party. In fact, my mum tells everyone to tell all their friends this story so that one day she can be told it back. So the Internet, go forth and tell the story of my dad and the cash machines on the goat floor of the Eiffel tower.
Not Bad At All
Flying United Airlines out of Newark to Rome for a vacation with my family. About 15 minutes after taking off the pilot comes over the intercom saying there is something wrong with 1 of the two engine fuel filters. It’s not a huge concern he says but that it would be a bad idea to fly out over the Atlantic without it working properly. We head back to Newark and the whole time we have to dump fuel because we are way too heavy to land. We circle the airport dumping fuel and finally land very hard since we were still heavy. Apparently it was worse than what the pilot said as they had other flights circle around as we had the whole landing strip with emergency vehicles all lined up and waiting for us. After landing we were told it would take 1 hour to fix. 2 hours go by and they let us re-board. After sitting in our seats for 20 minutes we have to de-board again because of a new issue. An hour later we are allowed to re-board. 30 minutes go by and we have to de-board for a 2nd time because of the inspector not clearing the plane for flight. We wait another hour while United decides what to do and they transfer all of our luggage and take a plane that was due to go to Argentina the next morning instead. All I get was some free miles and a ton of drink vouchers that I used to get hammered on the flight back home.
I was traveling alone in southern France. One particular night, I decided to camp above a little beach in the outskirts of Nice. There were no flat spots, so I didn’t pitch a tent, and slept in my sleeping bag on a sloped patch of grass. I got a terrible night of sleep due to a beach cleaning truck, a group of teenagers that walked by (this startled me and them), and my shizzy choice of sleeping location. I woke up early in the morning to find that someone had taken my pack of cigarettes that were sitting inches from me as I slept, which is creepy as hell now that I think about it.
The next day, I decided to go snorkeling and stashed my backpack in a bush. I return to find that someone had stolen half my clothes, my journal, my souvenirs, and all my toiletries along with some electronics (I know, I’m a freaking idiot). This was pretty devastating, but the snorkeling was amazing. Later that evening I was talking to a local fisherman on the beach, and I mentioned what happened. He said someone was probably watching me that morning, and saw me stash my stuff. None of this seemed too weird at the time, but looking back, it’s really freaking creepy.
Best Husband Award Goes To...
Wife and I were newlywed and on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. After checking in we discovered my wife’s makeup had been stolen out of her suitcase (most likely by a baggage inspector). My wife was inconsolable and devastated that she wouldn’t “look pretty” on her honeymoon. We were at an all-inclusive resort and none of the little shops had makeup and we had no plans to leave the resort for excursions. The concierge informed me that the closest town was an hours walk but they advised me not to leave the resort as I would likely be robbed, mugged, kidnapped, killed, all of the above, etc. It was our first night out of a 7 day stay and she refused to leave the room – I had no choice. Armed only with my 4″ folding pocket knife I struck out down the unpaved, unmarked, single lane rural road. In the 80 degree F heat and 99% humidity I wore pants and a hoodie to try and conceal the “gringo.” Did I mention I don’t speak a lick of Spanish? After wandering around the “town” for over and hour I stumbled upon the farmaciile. The pharmacist spoke English and I paid $5 USD for the ONLY makeup kit they had. I think I sprinted the entire way back to the resort. I was held up at the gate by staff until I convinced hotel management to contact my wife so she could bring my passport down to the gate. Hands down the worst experience of my life.
Sometime in the mid 80’s. I was in my early mid-teens. Arrived at the Munich train station early in the morning. My family was with me, including my brother and uncle Rob. Rob is only a couple years older than I.We needed to wash up a bit and hit the restroom while my parents waited outside. The restroom was empty except for us. An older guy walks in and waves. Uncle Rob waves back thinking folks sure are friendly in Munich. Guy then gets between me and Rob and starts wacking. My brother and I run out. Rob did not realize what was going on. I yelled for him. He figured it out real quick after that. Told my mom and grandma what happened. They laughed it off. I guess today they would have said something to a cop.