The Dumbest Things I’ve Done While Traveling

The Dumbest Things I’ve Done While Traveling

By |2016-07-21T23:46:45-04:00March 4th, 2013|Everything Else, Personal Stuff|153 Comments

Dumbest Things I've Done

The idea for this post came about after I mentioned one of the “dumbest things I’ve done while traveling” on my Facebook Page the other day. The result was not only having my kind readers confirm that what I had done was indeed quite stupid, but also a long list of tales from others who were willing to share some of their not-so-brightest moments from their own travels.

I figured I’d move that discussion over here by adding a few more examples of how I can be a little, well, ‘slow’ at times. Luckily, however, I’m fairly confident that every single traveler out there has had plenty of similar moments, which hopefully we’ll soon discover!

Let’s start with the dumb moment I mentioned on my Facebook Page and go from there…

Mango incident: I was in India, someone handed me a mango for the first time in my life and I had no idea how to eat it. So, I just stuck the entire thing, with the skin on, in my mouth. The man who gave it to me looked horrified and asked “What are you doing?”. Sensing that I had done something stupid, I just said, “This is how I eat mangoes.”

Eating a rat: While in Vang Vieng, Laos, two other travelers and I decided to visit the local market one evening. The idea was that we would each purchase some kind of food item to bring back to the guesthouse and share with the group for a nice local dinner. So, I bought a rat from a woman who was selling whole rats that were sliced open and grilled over a small fire, complete with rat nose, rat eyes, rat toes and rat tail still in place. When we returned to the guesthouse, the others were not too thrilled with my choice and so I was left to take a bite out of it myself (see above photo). After taking a bite, I looked a little more closely at the rat only to discover over a dozen maggots moving around in the flesh. I vomited. And then I felt extremely sick to my stomach for a good couple of days afterward.

Wrong airport terminal: This one’s a classic and has probably happened to many people….I once waited at the wrong terminal at Bangkok’s old Don Mueang International Airport for over three hours for a friend of mine who was arriving from Australia. Had I spent one second reading all of the information on the huge “Arrivals” screen I would have clearly seen that her flight had arrived at Terminal 1, not Terminal 2 where I had been waiting. I ended up leaving the airport completely worried and confused as to why she hadn’t arrived, and naturally, my friend had left the airport completely upset as to why I wasn’t there to pick her up. This tale did end well though, with a crazy story of how we finally managed to meet up in Bangkok.

Dumbest Things I've Done

Nearly frozen to death: Combine -20C temperatures, a massive snow storm, sidewalks covered in ice and my occasional stubbornness and you get a very dumb decision on my part. It happened during the winter of 2012 while I was in Bucharest, Romania and I had just finished meeting up with Niall Doherty for some afternoon shisha and good conversation in the old city center. After parting ways, I tried to hail a taxi to take me back to my friend’s apartment where I was staying, but every taxi I asked either wouldn’t take me or they wanted an exorbitant price because of the snow storm and resulting road conditions. I refused to pay the inflated rate and so, despite being in jeans, t-shirt, light winter jacket and running shoes, I decided to walk the 4 kilometers back to the apartment in protest since that was my only other option. By the time I arrived, my face was a block of ice, I couldn’t feel my feet or hands and I was about to collapse, feeling quite sick as I stumbled through those final steps. When my friend opened the door, I just looked at her and said, “I’m going to die.” Later that evening, after telling my friend the story, she simply stated, “Why didn’t you just take the metro? You walked past three metro stations”.

(Here’s a video I made that shows you exactly how to survive an Eastern European winter!)

Blood for nothing: I was working on my first cruise ship when, one evening during my second week on board, I wanted to get some fresh air and just stand on the outside deck for a while. But since my work was finished for the day, I was no longer wearing my uniform and so I had to sneak through the ship in my shorts and t-shirt in order to reach the main outside deck, hoping that I wouldn’t get caught. Eventually, I found a large door that led outside and I pushed it open, only to have a huge gust of wind push it straight back, causing the bolt of the door to slice open my thumb. As blood started to pour out, I quickly ran inside to the Reception Desk to get help and they called the nurse and had me taken care of. The next day I had to meet with the Hotel Director and I assumed that I would get in trouble for being out of uniform in the passenger areas. Instead, he just looked at me and said, “You do know that we have an entire outside deck just for crew members?” Oops.

Bucket shower: In India, many budget hotels only have cold-water showers and if you want to take a hot shower, you need to ask the hotel staff to heat you up a bucket full of water. The first time I did this, the owner of the small hotel brought me the bucket of hot water and I went into the bathroom, where I scooped up some water with a small bowl. I then dumped the water straight over me. It never crossed my mind that the steam coming out of the bucket was a result of the water being extremely hot and that the proper method was to mix that water with some of the cold water from the actual shower. I just poured a bowl of near boiling water on myself instead. Oh yeah, it hurt.

I’m sure at this point you know what’s coming. It is indeed time to hear about your own ‘not so bright’ moments during your travels, whether they happened overseas or in your home country. So, what’s some of the dumbest things you’ve done?

Please help me feel better about my own dumb moments by sharing yours below!

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  1. Noel Krasomil February 16, 2019 at 12:33 am - Reply

    Just a few weeks ago, I showed up at the Nanning Railway Station for a FLIGHT that I was taking. The actual airport happened to be over an hour away from the railway station and I ended up missing my plane, which cost me $170 and a few days of travel. So, that was nice.

  2. Vishal July 1, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Here is one of my several-
    Visiting my brother over the long weekend.. on a walk on 8 am, Sunday morning, he just asks me to confirm my flight time, which I was claiming as 5:20 pm. No sir. It was at 12:30 pm.
    Run!! I got slapped, brother grabbed his car, drove like crazy and real crazy, to get me to the airport barely in time. I rush to the checkin, flash my e-ticket…and I am told the time is ok, but the day… it is for “yesterday’s” flight. Same #, same time.
    My brother calls me and when I tell him I missed the flight, he freaks. He did indeed drive like crazy.

    So not only was my flight a couple of hours late — it was an entire day late.
    So help me God.
    Everyone still laughs about it!!

  3. […] Source: Wandering Earl […]

  4. Brian Hill October 30, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Earl, the dumbest thing I ever did while traveling was go home! Brian.

    • Wandering Earl November 2, 2015 at 6:26 am - Reply

      Hey Brian – Luckily, you can always get back out there at some point!

  5. […] Source: Wandering Earl […]

  6. […] Source: Wandering Earl […]

  7. Randy Tyrrell November 28, 2013 at 1:52 am - Reply

    This is a long story condensed At 17 years of age I bought an open ticket to England to begin my year long hitchiking trip through Europe. During my travels there were many dumb things done by myself and other fellow travellers, but I think the best dumb thing I/we did was during the ride from Amsterdam to Greece in a fantastic vehicle. The Magic Bus left from Vondel Park in the heart of Amsterdamn(lol) to the centre of Athens. As a hippie you could imagine what Amsterdam had in store for us…Anyway to shorten this story I will get on to the dumbest thing we did, Travelling 24 hrs a day we were in a rush to get to the sun, we(the bus owner) decided that a few extra days aboard the bus wouldn’t be such a horrible thing. Our driver told us that we can stop in Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia over nite but we had to sleep outside, ok since it wasn’t terrible cold outside, After a brutally long and rough day of driving the transporter decided that he would like to stop in Yugoslavia just across the border, clearing customs was simple and quick and we were able to stop at a fuel station, I think, where we were able to buy a few things like pop and snacks, I bought some sort of carbonated sugary beverage, YUK, we then proceeded to drive off the road a bit so we could bed down for the night, the driver drove up a small hill , large enough for the bus and the 8 people inside to stretch out in our sleeping bags. I placed my bag out, got my pop open had a few bites of food and took a drink of what I must say was the vilest, sweetest liquid I had ever put to my lips. I just turned the bottle upside down and let it drain away. I went to sleep as did the rest of the people for the 4 or so hours we were alloted. I awoke to pain, itching, blood, tears, yelling, screaming, at one point, not me though, and copious amounts swearing from all of the travellers. As it turns out our driver had somehow been able to drive up a giant anthill, park the vehicle, get us all out so he could sleep in his bus while we got to sleep under the stars. Yes we were bitten, stung, and crawling with ants, not huge ants just millions upon millions of them, due, in retrospect, in part to my upturned sugary beverage. It took forever to get rid of those ants, and I must tell you that almost a year later I found ant remains in my knapsack, sleeping bag and one even stuck inside a page in my passport, unidentifiable for sure but I knew what it was. So there you have a shorter version of the anthill story, there are many more stories, some funny, some hilarious, some dangerous but for the most part all dumb moves on my part. I’d love to write about the other dumb things, later on if you would like to hear about them Earl. I think I am one of those characters who has things happen to himself all the time, fall into a pile of sh*t and come out smelling like a Gucci fragrance. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to hopefully give a few people a laff or two. Randy

  8. Connie Chase November 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    The worst thing I’ve done is walk home alone blind drunk in a village in Thailand. No idea how I ended up in my bed unharmed, considering the amount of dogs, ditches and my lack of my sense of direction! Never again.

  9. Paula November 18, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    One of my favorite stories: I was in Egypt for only one night so far, and this was my first time travelling outside of North America. Our group went to see the Pyramids at Giza. Before going inside, I ducked into the Visitor Center to use the bathroom. There was a little lever at foot level in front of the toilet. I stood up and stepped on it thinking that I was about to flush the toilet, but instead, a geyser of water erupted from the toilet bowl! I was cowering and screaming in the corner of the stall, unable to reach the lever to turn the water off. The bathroom attendant opened the door and bravely managed to get in there and turn the water off, I’m sure cursing at me in Arabic the whole time. Then I had to go meet the rest of the group. My clothes and my bag and my hair were totally drenched 🙁 They all got a good laugh at my expense and I had to tour the pyramids all wet!

    • Wandering Earl November 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Hey Paula – That’s quite impressive in terms of travel mishaps 🙂

  10. Justine November 6, 2013 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Just got back from 2 weeks in South East Asia, dumbest tthings I’ve have so far!

    Literally threw my own passport in the bin in the hotel in Bangkok and didn’t realise until I was 2 days travel away from the embassy and had to trek all the way back and wait 2 days to get a replacement one.

    Upon picking up my new passport headed straight to the airport to fly back to my tour got out of the taxi walked 200m and somehow had my smaller backpack stolen off my trolley! Thank god the new passport was not in there…

    Must be one of the only travellers to get 2 Thai police reports in 1 week!

    Then lost my bank card the next day… by then that was so minor, just cancelled the card and transferred money.

    And finishing it all off with being involved in a taxi scam in Malaysia at 1am with police in machine guns!

    Phew, one of the most moronic trips I’ve had, prior to that my only blunder was turning up at Gatwick airport at 6pm to find you had accidentally booked the flight for 6am that morning. Oh.

    Or turning up at your hotel in Dublin in May and apparently you accidentally booked your room for July. Woops.

    Maybe there is a pattern here?

    By the way Earl, love the blog!

    • Wandering Earl November 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Justine – That’s no joke, you had more happen to you in one week than I’ve had happen in 14 years 🙂

  11. Tom October 15, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Even close to home small difference can mean a great deal. I had been to England before and as a dutchmen this is really nothing special. However one time when I had been to Liverpool and had to take the bus to the airport I made quite the mistake. Being hungover from the night before and confident on which road the direct bus from the center to airport would be leaving. The only buses that came where going further into the city center. Two and half hours later I realized I had been waiting on the wrong side of the road… (Wacky english driving on the wrong side of the road 😉 !!!)
    Luckily made the check-in with 2 min and boarding with 1 minute to spare to be the last one to board the plane. Never felt so lucky.

  12. Christine October 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    In May my daughter, granddaughter and myself were backpacking around Europe. After spending a couple of enjoyable days in rome we were heading to our next location, athens. We took the metro, transferred to the bus and had a fairly lengthily trip out to the airport. Got off the bused headed into the airport terminal to check in. We new our airline but when we looked for it, it was no were to be seen. Quickly I pulled out the ticket only to find out we had travelled to the wrong airport. We quickly asked what the fasted way to get to the other airport was and found out taxi was our only option. 50 euros poorer we made it to the other airport, in time to catch our flight. What did we learn, always pre check tickets, don’t assume you are flying in and out of the same airport like we did. It was an expensive mistake. Lucky for us our flight to athens was one hour behind schedule.

  13. Gaurav October 8, 2013 at 5:57 am - Reply

    Hi Earl..

    First time visited your blog and it just rocks….!!! (Y)

    And ya.. being an indian i can tell you we do things very differently over here 😉

    We dont have 24 hour running water because we’re mostly dependent on monsoon.. so we have devised ways to cut down the water wastage. and also as you know we’re 2nd most population in the world, we have to manage all resources.. and money too very carefully..!!!!
    so, every foreigner is bound to get confused.. 😀 😀 😀

    And mango incident was funny… but it must be delicious…!!! 🙂

    I hope to go to other countries someday like you and get confused or get amazed by the way they do things in those countries…!! 🙂

    All the bet for your travels buddy…

  14. Jojo September 29, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

    I was looking for interesting travel blogs and am glad I found this one 🙂 The best one I’ve seen so far! Thanks Earl 🙂 Reading all these crazy stories brought to mind a few of my own…. Once I was chilling on a beach on the isle of Crete and started to sense a funny smell hovering about me. Opened my eyes to see a lamb staring at me. I don’t know why it picked me, of all people. I’m a city girl so it was in fact the first time I’d seen one up close (although I was 28 then). After an intense staring duel of about 5 minutes, the lamb finally walked off for a swim in the ocean. It must have been sweating like hell in the heat with all that wool on it… All the Greek guys around me laughed at me for hours. Don’t know if that was embarrassing but it sure was awkward! Another time I went to China by myself with no luggage and just some business cards to show taxi drivers (with names of places of interest and my hotel in Chinese). Anyway, I bought a couple of empty suitcases and filled them up with souvenirs (wouldn’t do that anymore but back then I was quite thrilled with the shopping). So, when I got home, I tried a Chinese beauty cream I’d bought from a local drugstore/cosmetics store. It was in a packaging with everything written in Chinese, which I didn’t understand, but the bottle was just so CUTE, and completely harmless-looking… So, I spread the cream all over my body one night after a shower. It didn’t take long before I started feeling a strong burning sensation from inside my skin. It was the weirdest sort of pain: it was like a wave of fire from inside out…. I took the tram for 30 minutes to the only pharmacy in town which was open at night and couldn’t even sit because by ass and thighs were burning! Once I got there, I had to explain to the pharmacy guy (of course, a guy…) that I tried on this weird Chinese cream, maybe a sellulite cream (?) in a package which I couldn’t read…. He gave me cortison which eventually helped, but warned me that Chinese products may contain substances banned in the West by health authorities. Needless to say, I threw the cute bottle away and never again bought weird products which I didn’t know the purpose of! Another incident that comes to mind after reading this blog and reading about the guy who fell through a roof: once I was living in Paris, the City of Romance, and had to change a lightbulb in the bathroom, directly above the toilet. I stood on the toilet seat to reach the light on the roof and fell through the toilet seat into the toilet!!!!!! Like, my leg got all wet up to my knee. I am norml weight, but apparently Parisian toilet seats are very thin!! My favourite embarrassment is this though: once, a looong time ago, I was dating a gorgeus Italian guy, in Italy, and we were having breakfast in a café. It was pizza actually… My front tooth is prosthetic and the pizza crust was actually so hard (maybe it was last night’s pizza?) that my tooth fell out!!!!! I was completely shocked and raced to the bathroom: I looked like a 90-year old bag lady, it’s amazing what a difference a missing front tooth can do! After a while, I plucked up my courage and came back to my date…. told him what happened and why I suddenly took off. He laughed so hard (and teased me about that til the end of our relationship), I had a hard time covering my mouth and my missing tooth cause I was laughing with my mouth open, too…. with no tooth. Luckily he took me to a dentist who fixed the problem right away. Thank goodness for traveller’s insurance!

    • Wandering Earl October 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      Hey Jojo – Thank you for sharing your tales…quite a few interesting moments you’ve had 🙂 That tooth one is most unfortunate and I’m not sure I would have tried that cream. Are you sure it was even body cream?

  15. Scott September 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    I was skiing with some friends out in British Columbia for a week, last winter. Every night I would come back to the room and apply some Icy Hot on my lower back (to help relieve the aching that came with skiing all day).The effect is a hot and cold effect on the area that you apply it on. One night I arrived to the room and put some toothpaste on my toothbrush and started brushing my teeth. All of a sudden, my gums were burning and then I realized: I had picked up the Icy Hot that was flipped over in a white tube that looked exactly like the tube of toothepaste!

  16. Andreaz September 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Yeah, i did almost the same in kyoto!
    Came from Osaka in the evening, already dark, late autumn. No bookings. I just walk around the small streets around the main station and find a cheap ryokan (Kyoka Ryokan, still remember it!) I read the street name “…shinotoin” was the end of the name. Then go on to the center with a small maps (i left my LP in the bag in the hotel cos i didnt want to carry too much weight during the night). I had a great dinner in center, met some other gaijins for a few beers and go back to the hotel. At least, tried to. I looked for that street (around 2am), found the “Higashinotoin” but it looked just different than it did few hours earlier!
    I walk around 2 more hours, going back to the station and try to remeber the way (all dark of course!) Around 4 im desperate. I find a police station, i go in and say “I cant remember where my hotel is! I cant remember the name neither!!” They cant help me. Bag with clothes and some papers in the hotel, no cell phone to be called. A ghost! Around 7 i accidentaly find the way and finally the hotel. It was in “Nishinotoin” street. Go inside and sleep!
    Next day i had to meet a japanese friend there. She says “Lets meet in Karasumaru guti station”. Im sure she means the metro. I wait for 1 hour and go away. In the evening i manage to go to a Internet-cafe. She was disappointed i didnt come (!!). Ask where she was: Kyoto main station in Karasuma street. Kyoto Kyoto, oh Jesus!

  17. Bill August 23, 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from… well… bad judgement.

  18. Allen August 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    You got me thinking of my time overseas now… The only thing that comes to mind at the moment was living in Korea and I went out with one of my FOB friends to go downtown. He was as American as it gets, and not too great at picking up the language. So, in the days before, he had asked my how to say this and that and this and that. One of the things was how to tell a taxi driver to take him downtown. Another was a pretty rude insult about one’s mother.

    Well, one night we got in the cab and he decided to show me what he new, and ended up blending the two together and pitching a pretty rude insult about downtown Daegu. 🙂 It took a while for the cabbie to regain his composure and drive us downtown. 🙂

    • Wandering Earl August 23, 2013 at 12:56 am - Reply

      Hey Allen – Good thing you where there to sort it out!

  19. Petra August 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    I did something pretty dumb in Kyoto, where I was with a group, so someone else had booked the hotel for me.

    In the evening, I just took my hotel key, which was in one of those little paper envelopes with the address of the hotel on it, and went out. I also had a map of Kyoto with me, so I wasn’t worried about finding my way back.

    So when it was time to go back to the hotel, I pulled out the key, and found that I couldn’t read it in the dim light. Moving closer to one of the street lamps, I realized I couldn’t read it because it was all in Kanji and Katakana.

    So I asked a nice-looking man for help, saying just “I don’t know where my hotel is”. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize what the problem was, and took me to a police station two blocks down the road.

    There, three police officers jumped to their feet and approached the desk. I explained my problem again: I didn’t know where my hotel was, and could they please tell me what street it was in? I showed them the card, feeling pretty foolish. They were very helpful and consulted their city map. Then, they explained me how to get to my hotel.

    They also mentioned the name of the street it was in. Go-jo street.

    So next time, I’ll not just pocket things, but actually look at them first.

  20. Alin August 20, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Haha, this post reminds me of my first weeks in Hungary (lived there for 1 year) and all the nice experiences that come with not knowing shit about the language of the country you’re visiting (or you live in).
    I went to this supermarket wanting to buy some cheese, the Romanian type (“branza”), after finding out that Hungarians have something similar. And so, I’ve bought this HUGE piece of cheese (must’ve weighed like 2 kilos) and brought it happily back home. To my surprise (at first) and dismay (following), that big chunk of “cheese” was nothing else but a big, BIG piece of freaking LARD. Yup, I had just bought 2 kilos of lard. Good lard, nonetheless, but I wanted cheese. Anyways, I’ve since learned that food cravings and really strange foreign languages don’t mix man.

  21. Robert Hill August 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    I, like most of you it would seem, have had quite a few blunders whilst travelling. I shall stick to the most recent though, which happened just a few days ago. I was leaving Xi’an to catch a bullet train back to Beijing, so having packed my things I jumped in a taxi to go to the station. Literally, the second I paid the cab and closed the door behind me I remembered something – I hadn’t picked up my passport (or so I thought). I rummaged through my entire bag and found nothing, so I hailed the next cab I could and headed straight back to the hotel. I got there and searched the room: nothing. Now getting extremely panicked I checked my bag one last time, only to find my passport tucked away in the pocket of my jeans. For the third time, I had to hail a cab then go back to the station. Luckily, I made the train with about 2 minutes to spare. ~~~ Backpacks & Broken Cameras

  22. Constance Houck August 5, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

    My Portuguese language “skills” are always good for a laugh. Since I have moved here I confound the locals with my “Con-tuguese. I popped into a bookshop looking for a book r my teacher recommended. I confidently asked the women “Por favor, tu os ratino ?” I had asked her if she had little rat, turned out she didn’t have one. The other day at the bus stop I turned to a lovely older woman and commented how hard the oven was blowing. Mixed up vento (wind) with forno (oven). Lucky the Portuguese like people who at least try to learn the language…

  23. Mike July 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    I had meat on skewers in Hong Kong that a Chinese friend kept ordering me (in chinese) I went to eat alone one day…recognised the symbol for that meal and asked the waiter(who spoked no Englsih) …”Moooo” I asked?…………he thought a second………………….wagged his head and said “no..meeeow!”…I never ordered it again LOL

  24. Morgan July 15, 2013 at 12:18 am - Reply

    The one good thing that came out of all these “dumb mistakes” – reader appreciation – not only do we laugh a bit (or a lot in my case) but we probably won’t make the same errors. Note to self on cold showers in India. (I probably would have just poured it on myself as well!)

    • Wandering Earl July 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Morgan – Thanks for that…I’d like to believe that many people would make the same bucket shower mistake. Not sure if it’s true but I’ll keep believing it anyway!

  25. Malen July 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    That’s an easy one. During a layover en route to Vietnam from India, my girlfriend asked me if I had my Vietnam visa ready for our transfer flight. We were in line at the Air Asia desk in Kuala Lumpur. A rush of anxiety hit me when I realized I completely neglected to apply for it online–a process I had bugged her endlessly to take care of during the week prior.

    Apparently it’s easy to forget to do something yourself when you’re too busy bothering someone else to take care of theirs! What is normally a quick turnover for a visa took two days, due to the holiday–New Years. We ended up spending an unexpected two days in KL. Let’s say she was mildly pissed at me.

    Oh and then there was the time I wore a transparent bathing suit top at the beach. That was sure embarrassing.

  26. Philip June 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Losing my passport on the West Bank has got to be my dumbest travel move yet I think.

    I lived in Tel Aviv at the time as an exchange student and being international gives you freedom of movement in all of Israel/Palestine, so I thought that I would exercise that freedom by going to a couple of charming villages in the West Bank over the weekend.

    I was going with a friend from university on the bus through the Qalandiya checkpoint and on the bus we got talking about travelling stories and we got to comparing passport stamps. On the bus full of Palestinians who would probably pay a bit of money for a passport with an Israeli residence permit in it.

    Fast forward to later in the trip when I suddenly think “where is my passport, it’s usually in my pocket, but where is it now?” and of course it’s not there. It turned out that it had been stolen sometime on the bus and I was now on the wrong side of the wall, with no passport and only my Danish driving license as ID.

    I ended up smuggling myself across the border in a car with some settlers. I speak a little Hebrew, so I managed to explain that I wanted to go to Jerusalem, after a weekend spent with friends, it was vague enough that they let me in the car and luckily the wife was speaking on her cell the whole time, so they did not have time for questions. Since we crossed through a special checkpoint for settlers they did not ask for any ID and I was back in Israel.

    I cannot recommend crossing the internal Israeli border without documents, but at least it’s a good “war story” now 🙂

  27. RT June 27, 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Thank God the bus had a toilet. Imagine if you had fortified yourself lavishly at a stop and then had to go! Happened to me recently on an overnight bus from bombay to goa. Luckily the driver also had to go.

  28. Ana June 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I just remembered a story of traveling, but when I was a kid! I think this one almost beats the mango one – but not the rat thought.
    I was in the Austrian Alps with my parents and sisters. We went to the top of a mountain by aerial tram. But when we got there it wasn’t obviously the actual top. Instead of enjoying the view like my family was doing, I decided I wanted to see the OTHER side of the mountain. So I started hiking it. When they noticed it, I was already pretty far away. The transfer was shut at 5, and we had only some minutes to sit on it again to go back, so my family started to call me, explaining that the top seemed near but it was just an illusion. It was probably some kilometers away. When I realized they were right I looked at them and they were really tiny in the landscape, I had walked a lot! So I agreed with them and decided to go down. But I had to go down with careful not to fall, so I was actually taking more time than when going up. They started yelling that I should walk faster, or we would be stuck on the mountain. My younger sister was almost a baby and I got a little worried, so I decided to walk faster. But some phenomena happened: because it was a really high slope my legs started accelerating a lot! Every time a foot hit the ground I was going faster and faster and faster! Suddenly I was really running A LOT and I could not even see where I was stepping, I felt like a machine, my legs were running very fast automatically and there was nothing I could do!!! Needless to say I passed by my family without stopping, running. They thought I was crazy. This made me laugh so hard that I PEED my pants while I was running! At this point I decided I had to do something to stop, so I fell on purpose to the side. I went some meters rolling down the mountains, peed, and to make matters worse, I ROLLED OVER SPINY PLANTS!!!
    We made it to the transfer, but I was hurt, with spines all over my hands and legs, and wet and smelling. And it was cold! I remember being ashamed to sit on the trainer, but my mother but my mother borrowed me her jacket so I wouldn’t get it dirt, and my baby sister wanted to go on another transfer!!! AHHAHA OMG, I laugh so much remembering this! I only tell this to good friends, is too embarrassing, even as a kid!

    • Wandering Earl June 27, 2013 at 2:50 am - Reply

      Hey Ana – Well, I certainly appreciate you sharing that story here! I read it a couple of times trying to picture it all unfolding…seems like it was well worth the laugh and memories in the end 🙂

  29. Rose June 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    I was teaching a class of grade-school girls in Macau, and took them on a shopping excursion. It was incredible because the McDonald’s there was SO out of reach for them financially and I got to completely spoil them! Anyway, I was walking with them and started to whistle. A look of horror came across their faces but they were too respectful to say anything – later I found out that only prostitutes whistled. HA!

    • Wandering Earl June 27, 2013 at 3:14 am - Reply

      Hey Rose – Ha…well done 🙂

  30. Ana June 24, 2013 at 11:23 am - Reply

    In Japan me and my boyfriend decided we wanted to spend the night at Shirakawa-go, for a real traditional feeling of the village. We were staying in Osaka, so we prepared the travelling this way: Osaka, Tokyo, Shirakawa.
    The thing is, Shirakawa (instead of Shirakawa-go) is a city near Fukujima, and pretty fast to reach from Tokyo. Shirakawa-go, where we wanted to go, is in in the alps, and can only be reached by local bus from Takayama. You have to go first by Shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya, then by a local train to Takayama, then by bus to Shirakawa-go. The thing is, there aren’t as much trains and buses as expected, since these cities are smaller.
    For some reason we were lucky and discovered this when in Tokyo, and realised it would be a huge trip for a day (at least we wouldn’t go for the wrong shirakawa). We had already had payed for the hotel – and it was not cheap, since it included an onsen in the mountains, the great hoba miso breakfast, and the best suite (the only available that week). It was a 200€ suite, so we REALLY couldn’t miss it!
    Because of my stress of realizing we were traveling by the clock I started to be really upset, because my boyfriend was looking at some magazines and food at a store in the train platform, and we had only one minute to get inside the shinkansen to Nagoya. I called him so much and made us run so much that we got the train that was there 1 minute before – yes, one minute difference. In Portugal, where I live, minutes aren’t a detail like in Japan. I never thought the same platform would have 2 trains for the same place at different speeds with one minute difference! So instead of 1 hour or so we took 3. We got the wrong train. The right one was ONE minute after.
    While I was on the train I got really paranoid, thinking we would never make it on time to Nagoya, to be able to get the last train to takayama and still get a night bus!
    So I started making plans on how to rent a car, but I gave up on that idea simply because I read on one of our guides that only the European driving license wouldn’t be enough. But I really really wanted to rent a car.
    I don’t know how, but we made it to the last train and to the last bus!!!
    The last bus was at 7, that is dark in the night in japan. When we were finally relaxed in the bus we started looking at the roads and signs and SNOW and realized how stupid was my idea of renting a car!!!
    The village is in the alps, with snow (I never drove with snow) but most of all I CANNOT read Japanese! I couldn’t see which of the signs pointed shirakawa-go, I could not even understand which signs were for traffic or naming cities! I didn’t have GPS, so basically If I had got the car I would have driven around like an idiot. Oh and I can’t drive a car on the left, never done it! I was so lucky to have my boyfriend with me, all the stupid things we passed were my idea, and all because I was so stressed trying to make us there on time. Instead of helping I was doing the opposite.
    When we were finally relaxed on the bus and we started to look closely at the traffic signs we didn’t need to speak, we just looked at each other and laugh, because we had the same thought at the same time – what a crazy idea, wanting to take a car to the Japanese alps at night without beeing able to READ the traffic signs!
    When finally in safety we got to shirakawa-go and understand it was such a traditional village deep in the snow, that the outside was not enlightened, so we could not find out wich of the little wooden houses was our hotel. There we were, lost in the snow, finally in shirakawa-go, but not knowing where to go!!!
    The bus driver saw us confused, so he politely asked a passenger to guide us (the driver couldn’t speak English, but Japanese are so clever and concerned that he decided to solve our problem just by the look of our faces). He asked the only other passenger in the bus to point us the house, in Japanese. We were LUCKY that there was another passenger that KNEW the hotel!
    In the ‘unlucky’ we were actually very lucky and in the end we laughed a lot. But it wasn’t over…
    The next day we had a great day, the onsen, the view, the food… and at 4:45, when planing for a last bath in the onsen before leaving, we found out at the hotel that the last bus to leave was at 4:50 and not at 7 because it was a holliday! AGAIN RUN RUN RUN!!! And uuuuufffff, we did it! I Never runned so much! My boifriend runs faster than me so I would scream: don’t waaait for me, goooo! Stop that buuuus!
    Oh, and because I was preparing to get in the onsen when my boyfriend found out that the last train was only in 5 minutes, I had to pack everything really fast in the onsen! There was a wet nacked girl -poooor girl, oh my god – preparing to get dress and she was using the same locker than me. I got inside the dressing room and sreamed: SUMIMASEN, SUMIMASEN, LATE BUSO LATE BUSO!!! – I don’t know if she got it, but she gave me space to pack and leave before getting to her towel to get dress… she was really nice and understanding. Poor girl!… Waiting there, all wet!!!
    But we had more japanese adventures – we lost a mobile in a bus and it came back, and we lost our documents in a shinkansen and they came back.
    But those are other stories. We don’t stop saying – we were so lucky that our first big adventure was in Japan, where everyone is so nice… These adventures in other countries wouldn’t be fun!
    When going to shirakawa-GO (always search with the GO) prepare well the schedule!

  31. Jub June 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    In Sri Lanka at a buffet, got a piece of bread from basket. Nibbling away at it wondering why it was so hard…..few minutes later a waiter comes over and says “you realize that’s a plastic decoration yea?”. Very embarrassing, didn’t eat to much tho 🙂

  32. Liana June 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Read this at the office and couldn’t stop laughing… “this is how I eat mangoes.” I’ll have to try that next time!

  33. Pre-Travel Tips June 13, 2013 at 12:06 am - Reply

    […] 3. If you’re staying at a hostel find out if anyone wants to do join in for dinner. Ask everyone to collect one thing to put towards a dish from the local market. Make sure to set some rules, no rats! Just ask Wandering Earl. […]

  34. Kim June 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Don’t worry. In the West you’re legally allowed about 2 insects per litre of chocolate. Just happens. Honey can be antiseptic and the sugar content alone would have killed anything. Probably the safest food to try…unlike the rat. 🙂

  35. Chris Healy May 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    “This is how I eat mangos,” hahaha I started cracking up.

    I had so many dumbest moments during my trip around the world last year I couldn’t begin to remember them all. The winner probably would have to be learning that I needed a visa to enter Bolivia…two hours before my flight left for said country.

    You know what though? It worked out. It usually does. I made it home, I’m alive, and I have experiences, memories and lessons learned that will last a lifetime.

    Thanks for sharing, EARL, travel on.

  36. George May 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    As a Canadian, I find your Bucharest story rather amusing. Haha 🙂

  37. Zara @ Backpack ME May 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Very entertaining post! 😀
    Well, I’d have to say one of my dumbest moments while traveling was showing up to the airport in La Paz, Bolivia.. to take a flight to Mexico City. When we showed up to the airport and couldn’t find the Aeromexico check-in counter we asked the ladies in the info counter where we’d have to go… “There is no Aeromexico in this airport. Wait! Actually… there’s no direct flights to Mexico either! Are you sure your ticket is right?!” There we we in Bolivia, with a flight departing from the other La Paz in Mexico itself!!! And all those weeks we were so thrilled that we had scored the best rate ever for a flight of such distance!! 😛

  38. Blake Clark April 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    It was my first trip to Europe – make that my first trip out of the US – and my sixteen-year-old self thought he was perfectly confident in his ability to navigate. My entire extended family and I had just completed an Eastern European cruise and we were now en route from Hanover to Berlin. Rail map in hand, I was counting the number of stops until our station. Three, two, one more to go…the stations were coming every twenty minutes or so. We at last came to a stop; “This must be it,” I announced. We had been on the train far too long and I was afraid of overshooting the station.

    Although I am now fluent in German, at that time I only knew how to say “Aufwiedersehen”. The conductor announced the stop in German and I decided this was the place all fifteen of us including my eighty-year-old grandmother needed to get off. We began disembarking. Suddenly we began to receive a few strange glances from passengers. A woman started to speak to me in German. I just shook my head in confusion as I desperately tried to distinguish anything she said.

    Suddenly, the doors around us began to shut – half of the family was on the platform, the other half still feverishly shoving bags toward the door. My mother started yelling “Let us out, we have to get off!” in a manner that would have made anyone think that someone was about to die! The doors flew back open and she practically shoved my grandmother onto the platform and the rest of our party disembarked. By this time, everyone in the train-car was staring us down.

    The train sped away and we had all successfully gotten off…and found ourselves on a desolate single platform in the middle of a forest in Germany. No Berlin skyline, no urban noise. When I finally found an official who spoke English I learned that we were actual forty kilometers from Berlin. In a town of one-thousand people. Eventually we boarded another train and all was well, but it had to have been one of the most stressful travel experiences of my now somewhat season travel-life, and a lesson in travel humility.

  39. Sean March 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I had just finished checking out the more run down spot of the great wall of China mentioned in the lonely planet, with a couple of guys i had met at the hostel.

    On the walk back from the wall to the bus pickup point, we passed by an old farmer. I can’t remember how we got on to the topic (both my memory and my Mandarin are limited), but it turns out he produced honey. He looked like he had had a hard working life so I thought it would be a nice charitable idea to offer to pay to try some of his honey.

    So we followed him down to his hut where he had a vat of honey and looked in. There were a couple of ants floating around in it so immediately i started kind of regretting my offer, but the old man was so happy and proud that I daren’t back out.

    My backpacking friends started having a nice old grin at my quandry.

    Furthermore the old man found me a ‘cup’ to pour the honey into. The cup was an old dirty plastic coke bottle cut in half.

    My backpacking friends were really grinning now as my kindly offer was now turning into one of those game show dares.

    But the old guy was so happy I just couldn’t bring myself to break his heart, so with lots of grimacing i managed to have a good few sips of the honey.

    My backpacking friends were almost in hysterics at this point but I managed to get through without dis-heartening the farmer, and possibly i helped seed an idea that he developed into a boutique business.

    My backpacking friends though REALLY enjoyed themselves for the rest of the walk back to the bus.

    • Wandering Earl April 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Hey Sean – Seems as if you survived and now you have such a tale. Well done for sticking with it and making the man happy!

  40. Maria March 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I’ve had many embarrassing and stupid moments while travelling, but here is one of the most memorable ones. This happened when I was in Goa with my friends (we’re all from Finland) a few years back. Two of my friends went into a shop while me and one of my friends stayed outside the shop. One salesperson was inside the shop showing my friends the stuff they had there. Outside my friend was sitting on the doorstep and I was standing. Then another worker of the shop came outside and he tried to tell us something but he didn’t speak any English. So he just pointed to a large laminated piece of paper he had on his hand and then he motioned towards the doorstep. I thought he asked me to sit and wanted me to sit on the paper sheet so my pants would stay clean. I thought that was very nice and I walked towards the man, took the paper sheet, placed it on the doorstep and sat down. But when I was just about to sit, the man took the paper away from under my butt and I landed on the bare doorstep. I was confused and the sales person put the paper sheet in front us. We realized it was a spread of a Finnish newspaper. The spread had an article about Goa and there was a picture and a story about the man’s shop, the one which was right behind us. I was mortified and I couldn’t stop laughing. I had totally misinterpreted the situation and tried to sit on his precious article! When the other worker also came outside, the man who had been outside the whole time told him something in Hindi and the other guy burst out laughing. I don’t know any Hindi but I knew for sure what he told the other guy who had missed the whole thing…

    • Wandering Earl March 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      Hey Maria – That’s a great tale, especially when it ends in laughter! And I’m impressed with your interpretation of the man’s actions. That would be very nice indeed for someone to offer paper to sit on!

  41. Si @ Man vs World March 27, 2013 at 12:56 am - Reply

    Holy crap! That rat story is going to stay with me for a couple of days, I think. My stomach curdled as I read about the maggots! Haha. My dumbest moment was going hungover to a Spanish train station and having my bag stolen right from under me.

    • Wandering Earl March 27, 2013 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Hey Si – That can happen…and I think I would rather a stolen backpack than having to go through the rat/maggot incident again!

  42. M March 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Here goes.. While in Ecuador I was having a feminine issue due to all the heat and humidity. I told the wife of the family I was staying with that I needed to go to the pharmacy. They went for me and brought me back what I assumed was acidophilus. I had taken it before at home and thought they looked kinda big but we had big multivitamins so what the heck…

    Well it turns out that after three days of taking them.. It wasn’t any better..
    The wife asked me how I was feeling and I said it’s not working, she asked if i used them. I said I took them every day.. turns out they were going in the wrong end.. my stomach was a little upset but luckily it wasn’t poisonous.

    I broke down and bought the old fashioned remedy at an american style drug store and felt more at ease.. it made for a good story and still gets told when I see my old friends.

  43. Jake March 24, 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    i have many dumb travel to stories to tell.. but will limit my story to just one. hahaha. last summer i was in central america. this particular day i was taking a bus from copan honduras to tegucigalpa. i arrived to the bus station that morning to buy my ticket. however.. while waiting for my bus i was too busy reading my book to actually board my bus. luckily there was a second bus to my destination and i was able to catch that one. ended up arriving to capital city after nitefall. luckily found hotel okay and no more major errors on that day.

    • Wandering Earl March 27, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Hey Jake – Glad that worked out in the end, especially in those places which can be a little shady at night!

  44. Barbara March 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Well at least they made for a funny story afterwards…not so funny when stupid things first happen. I’ve taken the wrong subway a couple of times, ended up in the wrong location and felt pretty stupid myself. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to anyone before though. Oh, well, it was for a good cause. Stay safe and happy travels!

  45. Lindy March 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s quite the list..! My biggest stupidity it definitely not bringing my passport to the airport.
    I was young, about to fly without my parents and my mum insisted on having a copy of my passport. I scanned it and emailed it to her the evening before, right after checking off everything of my perfect checklist.

    We left from my parents’ house the next morning, and my mum kept asking if I was sure I had everything, wanted me to show her I had packed my passport. My response was something like “mum, do you think I’m THAT stupid?! Of course I packed my passport!” which technically, I did before I had to scan it.

    We then left for the airport, went to check in, pulled out our tickets and ehh only 1 passport – my boyfriend’s.

    • Russ August 30, 2013 at 12:29 am - Reply

      short of not taking my passport to the airport i did manage to take mine… and then check it on to the flight in my checked baggage!


  46. Ben March 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing!! I’ve been there, only on my end I missed a few trains in a row.

    I can’t believe your boyfriend left without you, but then again you have a wonderful story to share because of it. Are you still in contact with the friendly guy?

  47. rose March 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Haha! I’m sure a few things have been obliterated from my memory out of sheer shame, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of stupid travel moments… Though I’m not one to try out too many strange foods!

    I remember one time when I missed my Ryan Air flight from Mallorca to Barcelona – the check-in closed 5 minutes early and I got there at the last minute, we were at least 4 or 5 people who had missed the flight. My boyfriend didn’t have to check-in as he was European, and so he left without me and I went to shop around for a new (10 times more expensive) ticket. As I was shopping for an alternative flight, I made friends with a guy who had also missed the flight, and we helped each other out as we ran around comparing flight prices, watched each other’s luggage, and eventually went to eat at the airport staff cafeteria together. We got along so well and had so much in common that we talked and talked for hours, and our flight was in such a long time that I insisted we stay downstairs where we could go outside and I could finish my bottle of water. At one point, in the middle of a conversation about chinese medicine, we looked at the time – and our plane was about to take off!!! We raced through security and as we got to our gate, the employee at the counter shook her head and informed us that it was too late to get on the plane… my heart sank. But as we explained that we had been engrossed in our conversation and had never heard any call for boarding, another employee very kindly booked us 2 seats on the following flight and drove us back to the waiting area. I must confess: I called my boyfriend who was waiting to pick me up in Barcelona, and told him the flight had been delayed. After getting mad at him about getting to the airport too late the very same morning, I wasn’t about to tell him the real story 🙂

    • Wandering Earl March 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      Hey Rose – Haha…that’s an impressive feat! Let’s hope your boyfriend doesn’t read this blog 🙂

  48. Gate20 March 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Attached (suction cup) a GoPro to the side of a train in Sri Lanka, to capture a time lapse through the tea plantations. Needless to say, it got stolen!

    Read: The Tale of the Lost GoPro

    • Wandering Earl March 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      @Gate20 – Interesting. Not the best idea 🙂

  49. Sam D March 14, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Earl!
    Your silly stories made my day! Thanks for the laugh, I laught because it is all something that can happen to each of us. I cant think of anything silly to share atm 🙁

    • Wandering Earl March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      Hey Sam – Let me know if something funny happens eventually!

  50. The Vagabond March 14, 2013 at 8:23 am - Reply

    In November 2012 my flight was delayed a few hours arriving in Japan, I SHOULD have called my hostel and confirmed I would be there just after check in time. After failing to do that I found myself unable to find a cab that either spoke English, or would read the map written in Japanese (This is apparently not uncommon in Japan) so I walked a few km in the wrong direction, arrived at a shuttered and closed hostel and then walked back to the train station and slept on the stairs until morning. In short I learned to get phone numbers, and directions in a language you can read!

    • Wandering Earl March 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      @The Vagabond – Not a bad lesson there!

  51. Miguel March 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Hey it’s has been great for me to read this article I feel better right now haha.

    I had the same problem that you had in Bucharest but mine took place in Rome when once I miss followed advices and finished walking throughout a very dark and narrow highway on my way to the airport of Ciampino at 2am. Taxis were extremely expensive because it was late and they only worked with pre order call. It was raining like the hell and was very cold, but not enough for my braveness at that moment. I spent the night outside of the only Hotel around where there was not place to stay. I had 3 or 4 layers on me, all wet and unable to correctly pronounce a word because of what a cold it was.

    For my bad luck I decided to fly without baggage because I would be returned from Spain to Rome one day after my departure.

    In the morning a worker of the hotel took me to the airport at 5 am. I got my clothes dried until I landed in the sunny Spain.

  52. Andy March 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Probably the dumbest thing (in theory) I’ve done abroad –

    Walking home from a party… at 3 am… totally drunk… in Medellin, Colombia! 😉

  53. Kristin of Be My Travel Muse March 9, 2013 at 1:47 am - Reply

    ooooh major fail to have been eating when I read this. The rat thing…groooosssss.

    I completely missed the lantern festival in Chiang Mai, after planning my whole trip around it (and I don’t plan!) because I thought it was on a different day than it actually was, and the locals don’t love it when tourists invade their release ceremony, so I was duped. So sad…

    • Wandering Earl March 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Hey Kristin – Sorry about that! Hope you’re able to eat now!

  54. Spinster March 8, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Word to the wise: don’t eat Pizza Hut in a town in the middle of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela. Just take note… don’t ask me where this word to the wise is from. 😐

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

      @Spinster – I will indeed take your word on that one.

  55. Karen March 8, 2013 at 4:53 am - Reply

    When we were travelling in Laos I would ask a local if I could take their picture. They’d shake their hand at me as if to say no. So I’d just nod my head, smile and leave. It was only after I left that I learnt that the hand shake meant ‘yes!’. They must have thought I was quite strange.

  56. Kevin Kato March 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    A woman in a backwoods village in northern Laos suggested I go barefoot on the 3-hour hike to the next, more-backwoods village. ‘It’s better that way’ was her only reasoning. I listened. And ended up having to choose between the ferocious pain of running over the rocks and roots to avoid (most of) the leeches or walking to avoid the pain of running over the rocks and roots and having my feet sucked dry by the leeches. Good story now I guess…

  57. Steven March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Nice article – I don’t think I can top your stories.

    My mum though – hadn’t travelled for 25 yrs or so (health issues) but as I hadn’t been home for 7 yrs or so, she really wanted to see me, so we decided to meet up in the US. The last time she had travelled the norm was to have a pouch strapped to your body carrying your money (according to her). Also due to her illnesses, she also had to carry in a supply of HGH (she did have the paperwork). So she landed in LA, going through security they found the money pouch containing a few thousand dollars and then obviously the drugs. 1 1/2 hours later, strip searched, interviewed about being a drug runner etc, she was allowed to continue. Felt sorry for her as a 75 yr old with heakth issues probably shoudn’t be subjected to that, but ultimately it was a stupid act on her part to have something strapped to her body. Not sure why it wasnt picked up on boarding though.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Hey Steven – That’s a tough one and I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable at all for your mum. Unfortunately when entering the US you have to be super-careful and not do anything that would even lead to the most remote suspicion that you are doing something illegally. It’s just a part of life there now, at least in the airports. Glad they let her go without too much trouble in the end.

  58. Jade March 6, 2013 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I love this! Seriously made me laugh.
    I seem to have a very specific issue with towels… I’ve lost about 6!

  59. Forest Parks March 6, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    I could do a followup post on this I have done so many dumb things!

    A one up on your wrong terminal!

    I was standing with my girlfriend at Stanstead airport (London) waiting to check in to go to Dublin. The Easyjet flight was running 30mins late but that was ok. Waiting to check in we received a message from a friend in N.Ireland who was going to pick us up at the airport. He asked if we were at Gatwick yet! I realised that he made a mistake but decided to check my ticket anyway….. Turned out we was supposed to be at Luton airport! OH SH*T! We were in the cue to check in to a different flight running just 30mins later…. Luckily the airline switched our flight for a small fee.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Hey Forest – Very lucky with just a ‘small feel’! With the way things go these days with the airlines, you could have ended up having to buy another ticket!

  60. Nate March 6, 2013 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Well, this is nothing compared to what others have written, but it is a good “lesson learned” story. After a long and tiring trip from Athens, Greece, a friend and I arrived for the first time in the Milano Central train station pretty late at night and quickly grabbed a taxi, giving him the address of the pension where we were to stay written on a piece of paper. We drove for approximately 45 minutes until we finally reached the pension.

    In the morning when we walked out of the pension and we looked off to the right and lo and behold, what did we see? The Milano Central train station only one city block away.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Hey Nate – Oh man, that is unfortunate. I guess you check the location of everything before you step into a taxi after that incident.

  61. James March 6, 2013 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Once I was search for an ATM in a dusty Fijian town, with a supposedly “seasoned” travel buddy. Two big burly locals (who looked like thugs) bounced up all friendly asking our names, with a knife poised to carve each name on some manky wooden tourist tatt. I immediately made an excuse to my own thug who was extremely persistent, glad to think that my seasoned friend behind me would have done the same.

    But when I turned I found he’d not only had his name carved on one, but his mother and brother on two more. I whispered “What are you doing! We have NO money.”

    He replied “Don’t worry, they’re free”.

    Of course we spent the next half hour in the dark scouring the town looking for a means to change money with two huge, dangerous thugs on our tails….

  62. Chris March 6, 2013 at 2:59 am - Reply

    We were taking a quick tour through the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City when a nearby American pointed to a gold bust of Ho Chi Minh and asked “Who’s that?”

    I know it wasn’t stupidity on my own part, but it did leave me gobsmacked!

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Hey Chris – It is amazing at times that people can travel to a certain region and not know/learn anything about their surroundings.

  63. John March 6, 2013 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Just yesterday I managed to miss my connecting train from Villach to Ljubljana. I had over 2 and a half hours to wait for it and still missed it. It was the last train to Ljubljana for the day so was stuck in Villach for the night. Good news is that I made it to Ljubljana bright and early this morning.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Hey John – Well, luckily Ljubjlana is a great destination so it must have made up for your ‘mistake’ once you finally did arrive I’m sure.

  64. Chai Ruby March 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    After i read about you eating mangoes with the skin, its remind me of my friend that eating kiwi with the skin also. She said it is high with fibre haha. Maybe the same with mangoes. Well just dont eat pineapple or durian with the skin :p

  65. Steve Hronek March 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I spent a few months in Costa Rica several years ago and would go on road trips with people I met. One week we decided to drive down to Panama for a bit. We left in the evening and drove straight through the night. At one point we started wondering where the border was so we stopped at a gas station to ask – and apparently the border isn’t staffed (and wasn’t gated) over night so we had blown straight through without even noticing. We figured there might be trouble if we didn’t do things properly, so we turned around, went back into Costa Rica (again without being stopped), and slept in the car for a couple hours until they opened things up. After bribing a border official of some sort so he wouldn’t pointlessly detain us by searching our car, we made it in “officially.” On a different weekend while driving north, I missed another turn and ended up at the Nicaraguan border. I apparently suck following maps in foreign counties…

  66. Ben March 5, 2013 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I love embarassing travel stories! Here’s one of mine.

    I too have had the pleasure of working on a cruise ship. One of the perks, when I was onboard, was that crew could volunteer with any shore excursions where the company needed extra volunteers.

    We were in Civitavecchia, the port town for Rome, Italy. I got asked to help out with a walking tour around Rome lead by a local historian. The tour was a 14 hour excursion which started at 5am. I’m not much of a morning person so I ended up missing the lovely local italian girl who was helping the historian run the show. Looking for a partner to enjoy my lunch with, was when I first noticed her. She was pretty, beautiful, funny, smart .. you know … all that jazz.

    After lunch I decided that for the rest of the day I was going to due my best to stir up the courage to ask her for her phone number. Heck I was going to be in Rome every 2 weeks so why not?

    I remember the afternoon being really hot! I remember filling up my 2 litre water bottle twice. The weather started cooling down by the time we got to the last stop of the day, Vatican City. My last chance to see if I could get some digits. Nothing more romantic than asking a girl for her phone number outside the popes house. I worked myself up to go over and ask her. As I approached she looked at me and said “it’s time to get back on the bus. I need you to count everybody as they get on the bus.”

    I got on the bus, counted the passengers and then sat in my seat, pondering on how I was going to ask her now. 10 minutes in to the bus ride back to Civitavecchia, my bladder reminded me that I drank 4 litres of water! I hadn’t used the restroom since lunch. Opening the bathroom door on the bus revealed nothing. There was no bathroom on this bus!! Perfect, a reason to head to the front and talk to her.

    “Some of the passengers are wondering when the bus will stop for a restroom break. They seemed to have forgotten to go before leaving Vatican City.”

    “There is no scheduled stop, can’t they hold it? it’s only 65 more minutes.”

    Returning to my seat in total disbelief, I realized my kidney were starting to hurt! I had never experienced that type of pressure before. I grabbed my half full water bottle and stared at it for a moment. What else was I to do?

    BTW if you haven’t tried this before it’s harder than it sounds! My first release of urine ended up hitting the rim of the bottle and bouncing straight up into my face. After a few more mishaps like that I gave up on the bottle and started looking for something larger. I found a small garbage can with a bag in it next to the non existent bathroom door. Grabbed the garbage can and pretended to start cleaning out my bag as a few guest were starting to chat with me about what I did on the cruise line. As I spoke … I peed. When they spoke … I peed. When there was silence, I rummaged through my bag humming a tune while peeing. Finally after a couple minutes of this, my bladder was empty and my kidneys relaxed. Which is when the bus pulled over and the girl stood up and said.

    “Anybody who needs to use the restroom, now is the time”

    OMG!! I shamelessly got off the bus taking the garbage bag with me. Emptied it out and pretended to pee. I had nothing left!

    I never asked her for her number. And now can never get on a bus without peeing first!

    • Dan March 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      I have tears running down my face. You have made me laugh so hard. You also have inspired me to post as well something that I did so stupid!

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Hey Ben – I do agree with you that it is much harder to accomplish the feat of peeing in a bottle than it may appear. I’ve been forced to do that a couple of times and each time it turned into an absolute disaster. Sorry you didn’t get the girl’s number though…at least there are plenty of others on board the ship!

    • Reeann March 13, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Oh, wow. I never realized there were actually many men out there who have tried doing this. I have heard of my silly friends attempting it while drunk and have always felt very embarrassed for them! This is a hilarious story, thanks for sharing!

  67. Ajay March 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl! I don’t think eating mango with its skin is dumb..even I like to do the same. It is true many people would take the skin off it …out of sophistication, but mangoes can be eaten with it too.

    I have come from Jaipur to Delhi to work. It is going to be two years now. When I came to Delhi first..I boarded a passenger train mistaking it for one going to Jaipur, my hometown, and after five hours of traveling I was back where I boarded it from. It was one of the dumbest thing I did while traveling. Now I make sure not to make haste while boarding a bus or train.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Hey Ajay – It actually wasn’t about eating the skin, it was the fact that I stuck the entire mango completely whole into my mouth, leaving no empty space in my mouth at all.

  68. This American Girl March 5, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Haha, this is amazing. Stupid acts make great stories huh?

    One of mine would have to be when I hitched a ride at 2am with four Panamanian police officers in the back of a Paddy Wagon. They had guns and machetes, but fortunately all they wanted was my phone number.

  69. John March 5, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Just a couple weeks ago I flew into San Francisco. The following day I received a phone call from the airport advising me that they had found my passport. I told them there was obviously a mistake as I was in possession of my passport. Turns out I was wrong, and I had left my passport on the plane.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Hey John – Nice possession awareness with that one!

  70. Bernie March 5, 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Somewhat less adventurous, I’m afraid, but I managed to fall down the gap between two single beds made into a king in Madrid. Broke two bones in the back of my hand.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Hey Bernie – Anything that ends up with broken bones while traveling usually comes with a good story!

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:16 am - Reply

      And yours definitely has that going for it. Sometimes the simplest tales are the best/worst!

  71. Arjen - On My Way To Freedomland March 5, 2013 at 3:18 am - Reply

    When I was in Lombok I wanted to climb the Rinjani volcano. Before that, I was at the Gili Islands and I had bruised my toe on a piece of coral. I could barely walk for a couple of days but I was running out of time and when things started to feel a bit better I decided to make the climb. It was a three day trip and I only had all stars with me which are not ideal for climbing. Of course my toe started to hurt very soon in my shoes and I ended up doing almost the whole climb on my socks. Some rocks can be very sharp 😉 !

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Hey Arjen – That’s another lesson that seems so obvious but that we often ignore until we have to actually deal with it. I guess you survived the hike though!

  72. ourjourneytothesea March 5, 2013 at 1:53 am - Reply

    Hahahahahaha oh man this have me a good laugh. Thanks for sharing. I’m madly trying to thing of my own stupid things but am distracted by yours.

    How about sprinting through the airport for a flight that was “gate closing.” Arriving and being upset that you missed it, everyone at the next gate staring at you, and then realising that was the correct gate and the flight had not even started boarding? I walked away for a while and made it look like I had gone to arrange a new ticket. The flights were going to the same place.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

      @outjourneytothesea: That’s quite a good one as well! And nice coverup at the end…that’s always the key, trying to limit the embarrassment.

  73. Craig March 5, 2013 at 12:53 am - Reply

    I arrived for my first visit in Panama City and was staying in Casco Viejo, the not so beautiful part of the city. I was in town less than 30 minutes when I slipped in the rainy street in my sandals and sliced open my toe. I had to walk back to my hotel all the way bleeding like a stuffed pig and stopping along the way to dip my foot into the drainage water in the street because there was so much blood. (very bad idea) I left my footprint for about 5 blocks before entering my lily white hotel with white walls, white doors, and white tile floors. This enhanced the bloodbath and I think scared the front desk clerk more than it did me. Luckily, a short trip to the doctor with stitches and a bill for $55 and I was good to go. and surprise surprise,….no infections 🙂

  74. Rashelle March 5, 2013 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh Earl, that’s hilarious but I wasn’t laughing when I read your post but I am now.

    I can’t get over the hot water bucket but the wrong terminal and the outdoor deck I definitely would’ve done!

    Had you never eaten a mango before that incident? As for the rat, I feel for you on that one.


    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Hey Rash – Amazingly I had not eaten a mango before that time. Not sure how it took so long for that to happen. And don’t worry, no rats on the Mexico trip.

  75. Bert Brandon March 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    I was playing frisbee with my friend in Phuket when my throw made a hard right onto the roof. Didn’t look like the safest roof but my friend said it would be alright. Put some weight on it, didn’t collapse so went for the frisbee, through it back to my friend, then my left leg fell into the roof then my entire body fell about 14 feet into a Thai kitchen, landing on their giant water cooler. They were surprised to see me.

    • Chelsea March 5, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Haha! This sounds like a scene in a movie. 🙂

    • Dan March 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm - Reply


      • Ben March 6, 2013 at 3:05 am - Reply

        Straight out of an early James Bond movie. LOL!

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Hey Bert – Um…that is lucky. That surely could have ended much worse. Did they family invite you for dinner?

  76. Wendy March 4, 2013 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I’d FINALLY arrived in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, after a very long flight from Washington, DC. I was very tired, but so excited to finally be in Africa, about to take off on a tenting/canoeing safari in Zimbabwe and Zambia. I checked into my hotel and went to my ground-floor room — lovely set-up, including French doors onto the lawn. I almost squealed in delight as I saw a troop of baboons patrolling the lawn. Flinging open the French doors, I went into the bathroom. But what was that commotion in my room?!?!?? I flew out of the bathroom to find the entire troop of baboons raiding the coffee service on the sideboard (who knew male baboons could be so HUGE?). Panicked, I screamed at them to leave. They did, clutching every sugar packet and tea bag from the sideboard. So what did I do after they’d left? First I shut the doors and then I checked to make sure they hadn’t taken off with my passport and travellers’ checks…….

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Hey Wendy – And did they? I’ve heard of stories in South Africa where travelers lose their backpacks/luggage to baboons and their cameras and laptops have been smashed on the ground.

  77. cindy singer March 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    OK, I got a good one! I was in Belize on Caye Aberguis, in a rather touristy section of town. The restaurant we were eating in was feeding tarpon off the pier and asked if anyone wanted to try. Being the adventurous type, I volunteered. I walked down the plank, got a piece of chum and held on to the rickety rail leaning over to give it to the tarpon. I lost my nerve and just drop the chum in the water. But did I give up? No! I asked for another piece and this time I was determined to hold on to it until the tarpon took it from my fingers. Well, the tarpon didn’t just take the chum, he took my whole hand in up to my wrist! When I pulled my hand away, the tarpon sank his teeth in further. The tail came flapping out of the water while I was shaking my arm to get him off. It finally let go, leaving blood dripping from my arm. To make matters worse, when I went to wash up, the sink was all rusty so I couldn’t clean up properly. That might be the last time I feed the fish.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am - Reply

      Hey Cindy – Yup, that is a good one. Do you get to keep and cook the fish at least?

  78. Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I recently wrote about dropping my camera in a bowl of soup I was trying to take a picture of. I wouldn’t normally take a picture of a bowl of soup…. it’s just one of those travel things.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Hey Stephanie – Now that is amusing. I always wondered if people drop cameras into the food they are often taking photos of. Thank you for answering that.

  79. Wends of Journeys and Travels March 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    I also got an American friend who came into our city and when we were offered crabs for lunch. Little did I know that we were bordered by an ocean and we have different ways of eating it. We ended up giggling at how hard we have to eat one piece while the hosts has already been eating too much already.

    The airport scene was epic Earl 🙂

  80. Amanda F. March 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    One of my favorite moments traveling was when my mom, my sister and I went to the Costa Brava in Spain to go to our summer home. We rented a car and even though we live in the States my mom knows how to drive manual cars. So we drive to the apartment and then drive into town for dinner, when we finish and get back in the car, my mom tries to go in reverse but can’t seem to figure how. So we spent a good 15 minutes sitting in the car reading the car manual and trying to figure out how to back up the car from the space, mind you there is a restaurant 5ft in front of us filled with people staring and laughing, because we can’t seem to figure out how to drive the car and almost end up driving onto the sidewalk. Finally we gave up and my sister and I forced our mom to ask a random stranger to help us. Luckily a nice old man helped us out and figured it out in the span of 15 seconds. It was pretty embarrassing and now every time we rent a stick shift car we make sure we know how to go in reverse before we leave the airport.

  81. George March 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    That bucket shower is brilliant. In Morocco I researched nothing and definitely paid the price for that. I think being stupid is part of travelling.

    • Amanda Halm March 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Ripped a contact lens in Denmark. I could see nothing for two days and my eye twitched like it was on fire.
      My dumb mistake: not taking the time to look for and pack my extra glasses.
      Your rat story was so powerful I almost vomited all over my desk. I love food, but am only adventurous vegetarian.

      • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:07 am - Reply

        Hey Amanda – Sorry about that…hopefully your desk remained clean in the end 🙂

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Hey George – Absolutely! Travel always involves making mistakes, which hopefully we learn from each time.

  82. Christina Gmyr March 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I don’t think any story could beat your rat one! I’m cringing at the thought haha

    I’ve had plenty of dumb stories, but my most recent was in a taxi in Brazil. I was on my way to a great Brazilian barbecue restaurant that had been highly recommended by multiple people, including my host who was a local and knew the city well. My taxi driver started ranting about how the restaurant I wanted to go to was an expensive tourist trap and he just HAPPENED to have a pamplet (in English) for a restaurant that he said was wayyy better, and where all the locals eat. I listened to him, only to have one of the worst meals of my life in a restaurant FULL of tourists, that charged way too much for the terribly dry, tasteless, overcooked meat. I should have suspected he was promoting a friend’s business or something, because why else would he have a pamplet in English just sitting in his car.

    I guess it could’ve been worse – he could’ve just dropped me off a Burger King or something!

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Hey Christina – It definitely could have been worse but it is amazing how easily influenced we are when we are in a strange place. It becomes very easy to doubt ourselves when a local tries to convince us of something.

  83. Scott March 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    darn, I saw this story a few days ago and posted mine (knocking myself out in Hungary) and now it’s not here…..(or maybe I forgot to post it?). Anyway I’ll do so later.

  84. Jeff March 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    There are three major airports near where I live. The first time I flew overseas (trip to London in 2005) I showed up at the airport and wondered why I couldn’t find my airline at the check-in desks. I looked at my flight itinerary and sure enough…I had come to the wrong airport. I had to pay a cab driver a hundred bucks to take me to the correct airport. But luckily I made my flight.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply

      Hey Jeff – I bet you check very closely after that!

  85. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    A rat!?! Eeeeeek! I would never be able to get that taste out of my mouth. 🙁

    My worst was in Cuba. I believe these group of women that they were taking me to see Buena Vista Social Club preform in a secret place, but to be taken there I had to pay them first. Ugh!!!!!!

  86. Hafeez Malik March 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Sometime, my mind gets frozen and I behave like a dumb. When I realize my foolishness, there are hardly any remedies. So it loads my heart for many years to come.

    Once I was traveling in Morocco by train to Meknes. On the next seat was a lady health-worker returning home. On knowing that I was just traveling, she said in broken English, “Blessed are those who can afford to travel”. When she came to know that I would be staying at Ibis Moussafir Meknes hotel, she said, “My husband is waiting at the station and we both would ensure that you reach safely to your hotel which is just on our way. If you like you come and see our village next day. Here is my telephone number” This was quite comfortable to me as the hotel was said to be located in an isolated area amidst wild groves of trees.

    When I got down the train, I found my camera and other essentials falling on the ground one by one. It appeared that I had not properly zipped the bag. The lady helped me pick up everything. Later, she introduced me to her husband. They told me that they would get down the taxi in front of my hotel and would continue to the nearby bus station on foot. But I was not listening. My mind was frozen and I was only recalling the fall of camera and small boxes of medicine etc. I do not remember when they hired a taxi on my behalf and when they said, “Here is your hotel”. I was so confused that I did not dare to open my purse. While they were expected me to pay the cabbie, I kept mum. Since it was not a big deal (hardly 3 dollars equivalent) they left me murmuring some words.

    I came to my senses after taking two cups of brewed coffee. Next day, I tried to contact her over the phone but either she was away or angry, she did not attend it personally.

  87. Anni March 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    “This is how I eat mangoes” hahahah! Great save!

    I always get myself into stupid situations because im so naive/dont think.

    Like the time someone thought i was a prostitute. I was living in Spain and me and my roommates were going out. They went out to buy something and i went to take a shower. The doorbell downstairs rang, i figured that it was my roommate so i just pushed the button to open the door. Than i went out of the shower in a towel and walked over to open the door upstairs. Only to find out that is was not my roommate, but a little old spanish guy with his toolbox. I asked him what he wanted, he said that i would know. I asked him again, then he asked me if i was from russia. And how much i would cost.

    I hate waiting for my suitcase/backpack at the airport. Im always afraid that i will take someone elses luggage. My suitcase came, so i grapped it, but then i saw that it didn’t have my nametag on it. So I started wondering if it was mine or not. While still holding my suitcase and following its route on the carrousel, bumping into people untill my friend called my name. Then i quickly tried to pull it off the carrousel. Only to get my middlefinger stuck between the handle you can take out. It took me 10 minutes to get the handle up and my finger back.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

      Hey Anni – Ok…seems as if you are familiar with such moments as well 🙂

  88. jonny March 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I did an all-day volcano hike (starting at 5am) in Guatemala back in January 2011, which completely drained my energy supplies. After an average night’s sleep, I was soon on my way to my next destination. I sat right at the back of a chicken bus for all three hours of my trip from Xela to Lago de Atitlán. Guatemalan roads are bumpy. The worst place in the world to be whilst on a bumpy road is the back of a chicken bus. I had the whole back row to myself because the sensible locals had scrunched up together at the front. Upon arrival, my legs were completely numb, I had lost about 80% of my hearing, I was light-headed and disorientated…I went into the nearest hostel and crashed out for two days straight…that was pretty stupid. Then, when crossing the border back into Mexico, I got into an argument with the Guatemalan guard who was trying to wrongfully charge me. I was right, but he had a gun. Also pretty stupid.

    Stupid mistakes are one of the things that make travelling so worthwhile !! 🙂

  89. Rebekka March 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    The french ticket man misheard Basil and gave me a ticket to Bordeaux. When I got to the south of France, I was bewildered! It was the wrong place! I was sweating profusely because I would miss my flight back to LA. I had to sleep in the train station and wait for the next train back to Paris….then back to Basil.

    When I got to the airport after a day or so, I had missed my flight, but also needed to wait 12 hours in the airport. I ended up being homeless again and slept in the airport. It was miserable!! I didn’t shower for 5 days.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Hey Rebekka – That’s an adventure and a good reason to write the names of places on a piece of paper before booking something, just to make sure everyone is on the same page!

  90. Steve C March 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I’d eat a rat but I’ve tried a couple meals in Mexico that, in hind sight, I wish I hadn’t.

    Right after crossing the boarder I thought I’d get right into the local cuisine. I bought a taco from a street vendor that he’d made with the meat from a Hog’s head, which was displayed on his cart. I thought I was going to die that night.

    Then, later on that same trip, we were staying in a coconut grove along the beach. There was a small restaurant at the top of the hill run by the family that owned the camp site. “Mom” had been cooking a special dish all day and it was the meal of the day on the menu. It was iguana stew, made from one of the two foot long lizards that lived on the hill sides all around us. Tasted great, but not for long. Thought I was going to die, take two! And not only that, but staying in a coconut grove is not the smartest thing to do either. While laying in the shade dieing from the iguana stew, I was almost hit with several coconuts, falling from the trees above. They, most certainly, would have finished me off! I still love Mexico.

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – I was actually planning on taking my tour group to a brain taco stand here in Playa del Carmen. I’ve never come across iguana stew though and I don’t think I would try it, but that is one of the more interesting dishes I’ve heard about in Mexico.

  91. Jeff | Planet Bell March 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I went to the wrong airport in the wrong city. I bought a Ryan Air flight from Hamburg that said Hamburg (Lubeck). I thought Lubeck was the name of the airport, like New York – JFK or something.

    Amazingly, my friend and I made our flight as we arrived to the Hamburg airport 3 hours early. We felt pretty stupid. But at least I didn’t eat a rat 🙂

    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:06 am - Reply

      Hey Jeff – Very lucky you were. Seems like several others who have commented with similar ‘moments’ were not as lucky at all.

  92. Wil @ Where's Wil March 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    I guess we all live and learn!

  93. Simplify Adam March 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    You’ve definitely got me beat with these stories. I can relate to the last one about showering with hot water though:

    While I was in mexico, having a hot shower meant heating up a rock in the fire and putting it in our container of water to heat it up. Let’s just say the water got a little hotter than I was planning!

  94. Talon March 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure I have anything that could even come close to some of these. LOL

  95. Oh my god, I can’t with the rat!

    I’ve managed to escape too many dumb things so far (knock on wood) – the most spectacular travel failure I’ve had is when I booked an overnight coach from Edinburgh to London. My thoughts went something like:

    1. It’s hard to sleep on buses
    2. Drinking will help me sleep
    3. I should spend all evening getting hammered before I get on the 11:30pm bus.

    I promptly locked myself in the tiny toilet on the bus and spent a few hours being sick all over it, much to the thrills of the other passengers I’m sure.

    It got better when there was a fault in the bus we were on, and we had to change buses in the middle of the night. Which I almost missed, because I was half passed out in the toilet. The driver had to knock on the door and then I got to board the second bus with all the other passengers avoiding eye contact (or looking sympathetically at me, which is much worse).

  96. Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog March 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    The way you ate that mango is how many people in Madagascar actually eat a mango: just like we eat apples.

    • Wandering Earl March 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Hey Kay – I actually didn’t eat it like an apple. I stuck the entire mango inside of my mouth, basically forced to suck on the whole thing. My cheeks were puffed out and I could barely speak, with saliva dripping down the sides of my mouth because there was no room inside!

      • Palash Karia March 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm - Reply

        I just imagined this, its verrrrry funny! xD

      • Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog March 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

        Ok, I’m impressed. I could never fit an entire mango in my mouth.

        • Janet Wehrer March 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

          When I first started reading the mango incident, I thought it was going to be about how you got something akin to Montezuma’s revenge, because you ate unwashed/unpeeled fruit.

          • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

            Hey Janet – I wish that was the case. Would have been less embarrassing!

      • Ana June 26, 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

        What about the kernel? How did it go in… and out??? :O OMG

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