Even with all the traveling I did at a relatively young age as a female (my late teens and early 20s), I (thankfully) never had anything drastic happen to me, unlike plenty of other horror stories I’ve encountered. However, I have had plenty of annoyingly stupid mishaps over the years and without further ado, here are my top five.
-The day I was SOL (shit out of luck) from a food perspective
On our last full day in Dublin, I decided to take the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) to the nearby seaside village of Killiney. As I still had a slew of things I wanted to see and do in the Irish capital, I thought it best to go first thing in the morning. And having seen enough movies set in Ireland, I thought it would be really cute to grab breakfast in Killiney. Well, we got there just fine. We hiked to the top of this MASSIVE hill for spectacular views of the coast. But when we came back to the village (i.e. we had just been passing a ton of mega mansions), we did not see anything in the line of restaurants or even cafes. I had long since given up hope I’d be able to have an Irish breakfast; by that point I was just hoping for a roll and some tea. Well, we asked someone if there was anything to buy and the answer was a big fat resounding no. So back to Dublin we went, starving all the while until we found somewhere to eat.
And to add further insult to injury, as our hotel in Dublin was a bit of a walk from the city center, I thought it would just be better to grab some dinner from one of the many pubs that were near to our hotel. Well, we learned that on Sundays in Ireland, food is not served in pubs. Because the Lord would approve of people getting rip roaringly drunk instead of eating. This appalled/shocked me and resulted in us having overpriced sandwiches from a hotel bar that the bartender himself made. It was not a good day for the stomachs…
-Trying to outwit public transportation and not winning
Ironically enough on that same fateful day in the Dublin area, we got additionally burned. We had purchased our tickets for the DART at the station nearest to our hotel. But for our return trip we planned to go to the city center and since the DART went directly there, we just planned to get off at the city center stop. Well, the only problem with that is that one can’t (successfully) exit from another station, as your ticket will be rejected. I’m sure when purchasing our tickets we probably could have specified this but coming from a country where you can do this, well we were rudely surprised. So needless to say we lost the time going into the city center only to go all the way back to the original station only to have to do it again.
-Eating mediocre Chinese food…in Paris
I’m all for eating ethnic food no matter where I may be. I had an utterly fantastic Indian meal at a small place in Brussels. However, on our first night in Paris, as we had timed tickets for the Eiffel Tower later that evening, I wasn’t sure what to do about dinner since we were running low on time. So I made the (stupid) suggestion to dine at a Chinese restaurant that was between our hotel and the tower. Worst…decision…ever. Service was abysmal; as we would come to see it was apparently a popular spot for tour bus groups for Chinese tourists, so naturally they received all of the attention while it seemed the non-Chinese speaking people were forgotten about. While thankfully we didn’t miss our “appointed” time for the tower, no meal is enjoyable when you’re constantly having to check your watch. The food was okay at best. I haven’t been back to Paris since then but you can count on the fact that when I do go, every single meal will be meticulously planned.
-That time when the Straits of Gibraltar clobbered me
When you hear about people getting seasick, I always equated it to the people who get carsick, when any type of movement makes them queasy. I didn’t dare think I would get seasick. Well, I clearly underestimated those bounce house-style Straits of Gibraltar. The morning before we boarded our catamaran for Morocco, my friends and I had searched in vain for something to eat. (Bars were open early in the morning but were they any places for food? Of course not, people would still be sleeping it off for hours.) So once we were finally on board I decided to get an overpriced breakfast roll and a drink even though the ship felt like a wave runner. Well, not too long after eating I vomited up everything that was in my stomach. I have never been more mortified than when I had to hand my full barf bag to the worker who was collecting trash. And it wasn’t just me. There were more people seasick on that boat than weren’t.
-Walking (not riding) a bike in paradise
The first time I visited the Costa Rican beach town of Puerto Viejo, the people I was with thought it would be a good idea to rent bikes and ride down to the nearby town of Playa Chiquita. Everything was wonderful until, on the return trip back from this awesome beach, my bike got a flat tire. While my friend was gracious enough to walk back with me since I couldn’t ride, nothing was worse than walking a bike for miles in hot, humid weather. While I love to ride a bike, nothing kills your excitement and enthusiasm faster than walking one (it’s like the worst form of torture ever).
Obviously my mishaps are more comical (now) than anything else and I suppose that if these are the worst things that have ever happened to me while traveling, I’m pretty lucky indeed. Have you had any mishaps on your travels?