Amusing travel anecdotes

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Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby cycoden » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Some of the oddest things I've observed have happened when I've been travelling - this is probably my favourite story:

My mum was an art theory student, so while that wasn't great in terms of money, it did have some nice perks in that she received scholarships to travel for her study. Anyway, en route to Glasgow, via the US, we had a stopover in LA. I was about 12 or 13 at the time, and we had arrived at 6 pm. It was my mum, me and my younger brother and sister. Our connecting flight was due to depart at midnight.

After two hours of boredom at LAX, mum decides to catch the shuttle bus to the bus interchange, where we queue for the Downtown Express bus. The bus eventually pulls up, and we step on.

The bus is being driven by a black man of considerable girth. He looks at my mum and says, in a deep baritone voice: "You goin' sight-seeing mam?" Mum replies "Yes". The bus driver gives my mum a derisive look and replies: "Don't. You'll get mugged". So we disembarked, and went back to the airport for a very painfully boring four hours (was LA really that bad 15 years ago?)

I spent a few months at Cleveden high school in Glasgow, which was eye-opening, and then on the way back we had a stopover in Bangkok, where I observed a thief expertly steal a American's briefcase from right under his nose and was gone in a flash, before I or he had worked out what had happened.

Anyway, I expect that some of the forumites here may have had some interesting happenings on their travels, which I'd be interested to read...
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby DaMullet » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:42 pm UTC

In the summer of '98, my mother, who at that time ran a successful blog, decided to go on a cross-country road trip, and asked her readers if she could stay at their houses. She planned the trip around those days and homes in which she was welcome. Those nights we couldn't stay in a home, we pitched a tent at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) and set up camp. One of the latter nights, she was going to fry up some hotdogs. There was a patch of something in the bottom of the pan, and since it was a frying pan, she assumed it was butter. Pro-tip: never assume it is butter. It was dish soap, which we all very heartily ate until my little sister said, "This tastes funny..." and ran her dog under the fountain. When it foamed, she screamed.
Later that same trip, I celebrated my 8th birthday at an old-timey restaurant in Yosemite, Oregon, of the sort with waitresses wearing roller skates. We ordered the table-sized ice cream, the kind that wins you a free t-shirt if you can finish it, and then our server came over to sing me happy birthday. I hid under the table.
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby Eleni » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:25 pm UTC

In the spring of 2001, I went to Paris with my family. I remember seeing a number of movie posters in French for American movies that were being released in France at the time, including such Hollywood gems as Miss Congeniality, Dude, Where's My Car?, and Bring It On (the Kirsten Dunst high school cheerleader movie with such taglines as "Backstabbing. Spotlight-grabbing. Secret-blabbing. A cheerleader's life is all that."). I didn't know French, but I was fairly good at figuring out what certain French words meant. Good enough to know that the French title for Bring It On translated to "American Girls". As an American high school girl who was *not* a cheerleader or spotlight-grabbing backstabber, I was hugely offended by this title "translation", but I was also pretty amused. Is that what the French really think of American girls?
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:42 pm UTC

cycoden wrote:(was LA really that bad 15 years ago?)

1993? That would have been a year after the Rodney King verdict. Though it really depends where the bus was going... short answer is - Yes.
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby hestia » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:46 pm UTC

Last January I went to London with my now husband. Although he had never been to Europe before, I had and reminded him to check to make sure all of his electronics could take the higher voltage. He said they all did so we did not bother to buy a converter.

When we got to the hotel he plugged in some of his various electronic things to his power squid and we went out to do various tourist-y things. When we returned, the power was out. We called the owners of the hotel (we were actually in a studio apartment about 6 blocks from the hotel proper) who informed us that because it was Saturday, there was no one who could fix it. They offered us another room which we declined as we liked being so close to Victoria station and figured we would not be in the room much anyway. So Monday comes, and the electricity is fixed. Very excited to charge our various cameras and cell phones, the power squid goes back into the wall...and the power goes out again. Suddenly a thought occurs to me, did he check the voltage capacity of the power squid?

Nope. The power squid read the higher voltage as a surge and brought down the circuit. So yea, it was totally the fault of the stupid Americans... sweet.

This is a story I like to save for mixed company to embarrass my normally tech savvy husband. :twisted:
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

My dad and I drove across Canada and back on summer vacation. On the way back, about 8:00 PM (in whatever province we were in), he stopped for gas, but the station didn't have Supreme; since we still had about a quarter tank and he didn't want to put anything cheaper in his car (it's a classic car, so he's quite fussy about it), he decided to wait for the next one.
Yeah, bad idea. The next few were closed. It was about 2 hours before we came to another station that was open. We quite literally coasted in, and put 80 litres in the tank. Which has a capacity of 80 litres. :lol:
(And of course, this guy didn't think to carry a spare tank. <_<)
It was kinda fun, the extent we had to go to just to make it those last few metres. We'd pretty much shut off everything except the headlights and engine to save fuel. Even the radio, because it draws power from the alternator* which ever so slightly reduces fuel economy. :P And we were cruising at about 30km/h below the speed limit (getting some dirty looks, but traffic was scarce), because it's more efficient. I just found it amusing the lengths he went to to maximize fuel economy at that point. (Unterstandable though, when it's 10:00 PM, you're in the middle of nowhere, and the fuel gauge is reading below empty. o_o)

*I could have sworn it was "altenator"? Guess not...
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby wst » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:45 pm UTC

msfayzer wrote:power squid

I had to look for a picture of one, we don't have them over here...
Um, HAH. Though we managed to get a 2 prong Europlug to fit into a BS (3 pin) socket once. Though that wasn't travel.

Oh, I was returning from a holiday on Menorca, and a girl and her brother sit next to me on the plane... we started chatting, and they asked "What school do you go to?" "Oh, blah school" "Oh me yarm my brother goes there"
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby Cheshire Smile » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:33 am UTC

@ Eurovoltage stories: I went to France when I was in the 4th grade, courtesy of winning a radio contest (A trip anywhere in the world!), and my mother, who had never been to Europe before, just went ahead and plugged her curling iron right into the socket.

It didn't blow the power out like msfayzer's husband, oh no. It just burnt. Melted, in about 5 minutes. Smelled like, well...melted plastic.

Thankfully, I know better. My love lived in England for 14 years, so it was always kind of funny to see his electronics plugged into voltage converters, because he was still using British tech on American sockets.
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Re: Amusing travel anecdotes

Postby bonzombiekitty » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

This story has two parts, a fairly amusing part, and a not so amusing part.

The amusing part:

On a trip to Edinburgh, my friend and I got very very drunk (but we got a free t-shirt out of it). I woke up in the middle of the night to find him in my bed and we started, which was good news to me since I was madly in love with him at the time. Woke up the next day unsure if it was a dream or not.

We had to check out of our hostel at like 9AM, so that meant getting up early, which meant I was very hung over and our train didn't leave until 4PM. We had a lot of time to waste, and my friend wasn't hungover at all (this is when I learned the importance of drinking water between drinks). So we wandered around the city with me feeling like I was about to die. We ended up in the national gallery since it was cold and rainy out and the gallery was free. I was so hung over that I got asked by a couple security guards if they needed to call me a doctor. We ended up sneaking back into the hostel so I could pass out for a little while in the common area.

The less amusing part:

Flash forward a couple days later and we're sitting on a plane at Heathrow for our flight back to Boston. We were just getting ready to taxi away from the gate when the pilot comes on and tells us that an airplane just hit the WTC.... We ended up being stuck on the plane at the gate for about four hours because the airport was too packed to let us deplane. It was about a week until we were able to fly back to the US. Thankfully, we had a place to stay.

That was an interesting trip.

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