Thu 2 Jan, 2003 09:11 am
I notice that the travel section is a most informative and helpful place.
Very nice! Well done!
However, it seems to me that all you travel folk must have done/experienced something that makes you squirm whenever you think of it - or burst into gales of laughter.
Here is your chance to let your hair down, make an idiot of yourself, make us laugh - and help us learn what NOT to do when overseas!
~ Always make sure there's film in your camera. I took a whole roll of the English countryside with no film....
~ The italian word for chaos, and the english word cows sound exactly the same.
LOL - you musta got some blank looks - moooooooooooooooooo!
Heeheehee, we had a conversation for 5 minutes in some pigeon mix of italian and english before we realized we were talking about two different things.
Heeeeehawwwwwwwwwwwwww! I love WATCHING those conversations happening!
It was very funny. I know there are lots of funny tales from traveling that I should remember, but don't.
Hmmm. I dunno the name of that hill that overlooks Paris (I was a bit, er, impaired when I was there) -- it's the one you take the funicular up if you're too inform or lazy to climb the stairs. Anyway, I'm up there with my friends, it's around sunset, there's a few tourists up there and a bunch of African vendors, but the crowd was mercifully small because it had been raining most of the day -- which, as you shall see, is not merciful in itself. Anyway, a few people had clambered over the wroung iron fence to squat on the grassy slope and watch the sun go down over the city, and we decided to go over, too. The other three guys just climbed over. I, unusually exuberant, decided to hurdle the fence, so I get a short run-up, bring left leg forward, bring right leg up behind me -- only not quite far enough. My foot catches on the top rail, and, since there is a steep hill on the far side of the fences, my body goes prostrate in the air and I sail out over the grass in similar posture but with much less grace than Superman would have done. I covered quite a bit of ground before I hit the ground, chest first, in substantial mud. The breath was knocked out of me. My one pair of pants and one of my three shirts was caked in mud, and we were over an hour's walk from our hotel. Everyone got a good laugh, though.
The same trip found various combinations of us huddled in Swiss forests for the daily evening rainstorm and wandering through Amsterdam, high and very hungry at 3:00 am, with no money and no bearings and no food save a couple of space cakes, wondering whether hunger would be sated and hotel would be found before further disorientation kicked in (and some American girl we'd met had painted my toenails silver as I slept on a bus and I was stupidly walking around in sandals).
Sorry, what was the topic?
I was on a long bus tour of Europe and we had stopped in Milan for just one night. There was nothing scheduled, so as soon as the tour booked us into a cheap brownstone hotel, the kind that looks like every other building in the area, I rushed off ALONE to explore Milan on foot. After awhile, I realized that I'd been in such a hurry I hadn't bothered to remember the name of the hotel where we were staying, nor did I remember what street it was on, nor whether I had been wandering east, west, north or south. Did I mention I don't speak Italian?, not that it would have helped.
It took many hours, but eventually I THOUGHT I recognized a street corner- and eventually found the right hotel.
My wife and I, along with our youngest son made a trip to Seoul for our oldest son's wedding. My wife had a long interest in Japanese culture, and I have long been a student of Chinese history. Our oldest son, US Army is a Korean specialist, was getting married to a lovely young woman of an important South Korean family. We were met at the plane by the girl's parents and driven to our hotel. In the days following there was a constant round of banquets and parties attended by huge hordes. Everything was formal to the extreme.
Everytime we left our hotel we were escorted by our driver and bodyguard. My wife and I began trying to duck the unaccustomed security. We were told that the nice young fellow who was our driver was normally a vice-president in the bride's father's firm, and that he was losing face by our actions. If anything happened to us, the bodyguard could kiss his future and his family's future goodbye forever. So we became good guests and let them follow us everywhere. On one trip we visited an important market area of Seoul, where the immense loads carried by some of the porters impressed me. One fellow looked like he was carrying a grand piano, it's stool and several cases of music on his back. I raised my camera and took a photo. The result was a riot. The porter dropped his pack and took up a club. A crowd of yelling porters who felt insulted to be photographed while doing menial work joined him, and advanced toward us. Our driver and bodyguard lifted us up and carried us to safety, while a policeman armed with a shotgun called for the riot police. It was exciting. After that we were much more appreciative of the security.
On the last evening before we were to leave Korea, there was finally a small dinner attended only by the bride's immediate family and our immediate family. Her father sat at one end of a long table, and I at the other. He asked if I liked fresh octopus, and indeed I thought I did. The restaurant brought a small octopus to the table, and on a wooden cutting board the beast was reduce to a shimmering heap. The plate was passed to me as the guest of honor, and everyone waited for me to try the dish. I tried to pick up a piece, but the little suckers wouldn't let go of the plate. My new daughter sat the plate back down and showed me that if it were stroked gently with a chopstick the sucker would relax and let go. All right, it worked and I ate a piece. Not what I expected, but tolerable. I had to take a second piece so as not to insult the host. I soothed the unwilling octopus and put it into my mouth. The little beast tried to crawl out my lips! At that point we adopted a new family rule: We eat nothing until after it stops moving.
Korea was a major culture shock for us, even though everyone in our family has been familiar with East Asian ways for a long, long time. Imagine how it would be for a Westerner suddenly dropped down in such a situation with no prior knowledge of Eastern Ways.
Do not remain seated on an airplane toilet when flushing. I didn't do this but read about a woman who became attached to the throne and required help to get off.
What I DID do is recount this story over the intercom of a KAL flight once.
I don't recommend that anyone use the intercom as the crew get quite angry (I had to be moved to another seat and sadly it was out of the smoking section, I was also not served any more alcohol).
As a kid I'd get in touble for running around the airplane. Flight attendants hated me for that and for finding the little button that summons them, I used to wear that button out and after they had taken me to the cockpit and given me all the toys they had on board they'd usually send the lead flight attendant back to chew me out and tell me never to push that button.
Hey,Craven. Speakin' of travels, how did you find the States and de camp of dos boot?
Patio - "You'll believe a man can fly", eh - you poor darlin'!
Equuus - what a nightmare!
Asherman - but did you retain your gravitas? I bet you did! I think I would have been ill. That would probably have been very rude... That is clearly a good traveller's rule - ensure all food is dead before eating it.
Craven - heard the story about the poor woman who flushed while seated. Probably wouldn't have announced it over flight PA system though...doubtless it seemed like a good idea at the time....heehee.
C'mon Margo -I know you have a deep well of embarrassment in there - let it out!
Wondering into a Geisha House in Kyoto with my mother on our way to see a Noh play. They, the Japanese men, were so eager to get rid of us on that hot July evening they gave us these great Japanese fans with a Rondellas (family crest type of design) on one side and what we thought was lovely calligraphy on the back.
When we got back to the Japanese Inn we were staying at the mamasan running the inn broke out in gales of embarrassed laughter? Several Japanese had laughed at us that night including the taxi driver that brought us home. Well it turned out the side with the icon was the name of the house and the calligraphy was the name of the woman, yikes.
The pilot found it for me. :-) lol I'm happy to be back but dread the restrictive boot camp.
I still think it was a good idea, it wasn't impulsive either. I bought a bottle of duty free whisky when the cart came around (I anticipated the suspention of my drinks) and waited till I'd been served my last meal. They couldn't kick me off the plane and the risk of legal action was minimal. It was a fun flight.
Our episode happend many years ago when my wife and I did one of those "If It's Thursday, It Must Be _______." We were in Monaco, and went to the restaurant recommended by our tour guide next to the casino. We went to the one upstairs. My wife ordered a salad, and I ordered lobster soup (for the first time in my life). After a few minutes of waiting, the waiter brought a small bowl and sit it down between my wife and I. I proceeded to place it on my large dish in front of me, and took the soup spoon, and started to sip. The waiter came running back to our table, shouting "no, no monsieur, that is the saalad dressing!" The young couple sitting at the next table had a good laugh at my expense!
Still gives me a chuckle when I think of it. c.i.
Joanne - hee heee!
CI - food can be a real trap overseas, no?
Craven - these days I am not so sure one cannot be thrown off aircraft inflight!
These tales are reminding me of heaps of highly embarrassing things that have happened to me - but here in Oz, not overseas! Very frustrating...