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This is a question Travel

I've had guns pointed at me in many different countries, sometimes even by our own side. I've also sat on my own on a beach on a desert island, which was nice because nobody was trying to shoot me. Tell us your tales of foreign travel.

Thanks to SnowytheRabbit for the suggestion

(, Thu 18 Apr 2013, 17:43)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

twat twat twat twat etc need I continue?
(, Thu 25 Apr 2013, 5:25, 10 replies)
An American visiting England
I traveled to England in my teens, and again in my twenties. I did not make an idiot of myself either time.
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 20:15, 13 replies)
I once went to kidderminster
With a population in excess of 55000 Kidderminster is the largest of the Wyre Forest Towns lying about 4 miles north east of both Bewdley and Stourbridge straddling the River Stour. Kidderminster`s Carpet Museum charts the history of carpet making from ancient times up to the present day. The old commercial area of "Weavers Wharf" has been redeveloped in recent years and the Grade II listed Springfield Mill has been converted into shops etc. as part of the development. Kidderminster was the birthplace of Sir Rowland, born in 1795, who developed the modern postal system and is most famous for inventing the "Penny Black" postage stamp. There is a statue of him outside the Town Hall. Another notable citizen was the Puritan minister who began his ministry in Kidderminister in 1641, he preached for unity among the Protestant churches. The racing driver Peter Collins was born in the town in 1931, he was one of Britians greatest Formula One drivers. Kidderminster has a great wealth of Georgan and Victorian buildings but also, as the Weavers Wharf development shows, has it`s feet very much in the present. It has two Safeways. Enjoy music? Why not listen to The Wyre, 105.5 FM, for the best in 80's, 90's & Now music.
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 19:04, 3 replies)
*joke about people from Norfolk leaving their houses*

(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 17:31, 6 replies)
As a Yorkshireman
I've never understood foreign music especially the bolero

T'Ravel doesn't do it for me
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 16:43, 6 replies)
Does anyone want to see my holiday snaps?

(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 16:16, 5 replies)
i went to russia once.
it was shit. what do i win?
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 15:49, 11 replies)
we're on the road to nowhere

(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 14:43, 5 replies)
omg i spent my gap-year in thailand!
it was

A. Maze. Zing.

Sooo cultural, and i totes smoked like a hash of weeds with the locals who really took me to their hearts, yeah, and we like totes chilled on the beach and parTAYed!!!! LOL!
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:50, 18 replies)
Auto-rickshaw scam avoidance
A few years back, I spent several months in Delhi with work. I had a great time and absolutely love the city, the problem was that I was staying in a hotel in a town called Noida, just the other side of the river from Delhi itself.

One weekend, as usual, I flagged down an auto-rickshaw to take me over to Delhi. Noida is actually in a different state to Delhi, and only Delhi licensed auto's can travel freely between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (the state that Noida lies in). Having struggled to get a Delhi auto, I finally flagged down one with a UP license who still agreed to take me over to Delhi. We agreed the price and I hopped in. As soon as we got going, I realised something was a little wrong. We weren't heading in the usual direction. The route we were on would take me to Delhi, but at the opposite end of the city to where I wanted to be. I mentioned this to the driver and he mentioned something about police check points, so I sat back and let him carry on.

Eventually we got to a bridge that marks the border between the two states, where we pulled over into a lay-by full of other auto drivers. The driver immediately asked me for the full fare he had quoted and told me to go and negotiate the rest of the journey with a Delhi auto-driver. This annoyed me a little, as I had already agreed to a price that I knew was not only the 'Westerners price' but had also offered to pay a little extra for the risk of crossing states, so I paid the guy half and told him that he hadn't taken me where I wanted to go and he, or whoever took me to my destination would get the other half.

At this point I realised that I walked straight into a bit of a scam. All the drivers there immediately started arguing about fares and put on a big show in the hope of conning me out of more money through fear. The problem was that it all looked so rehearsed that it was clear they try this trick on a regular basis. I think that had I only recently arrived in India for the first time, I would have been terrified and would have just thrown whatever money they asked for at them to get away. Unfortunately for these drivers, this was my third trip in the last couple of years, all of which had been for several months, so I knew exactly what was happening. I just slowly edged away from the rather camp argument and fighting that was taking place, and quietly flagged down the next auto to pass and sped across the bridge into Delhi. They were all still stood around arguing with each other without realising I had gone as I turned the corner on the other side and disappeared out of sight!
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:17, 32 replies)
I don't think I've posted this on here...
Back in 2008 we decided to take my dad to Paris for his sixtieth birthday. He was working across the road from the St Pancras Eurostar link and had seen it being built bit by bit, so we thought that would be a nice mode of travel for us all to take.

My girlfriend is better at packing than me so she did most of it, leaving me to sort out toiletries and books and stuff (hand luggage basically).

So we rock up at St Pancras all packed and raring to go. Through customs we went, and the bags got scanned as normal - until it got to our bag. The customs lady put on a latex glove and asked me to open the bag. Fair enough, I think, just a randomised search. She then starts pulling things out willy-nilly.
"Is there a problem at all?" I ask.
"We've found some bullets in your bag."
"There must be some mist-oh shit..."

I had not intended to try and smuggle ammunition onto the continent. To work out how this happened we must travel back to the start of the noughties. My dad and I had been on a really interesting trip to a disused nuclear bunker in Kelvedon Hatch (I'd recommend it if you're into that sort of thing - www.secretnuclearbunker.com/). I'm a sucker for gift shops, and had bought two bullet keyrings (a 9mm and a 7.62mm). These had served me well until I went to university, and they eventually fell off the actual ring part of the keyring (so they were basically bullets). Not being the tidiest of students - and a hoarder to boot - I'd chucked the de-keyringed bullets in the first place I saw: my washbag. I just left them there with the rest of the detritus I'd snaffled away in there - out of sight, out of mind. I didn't have a passport for most of my university years, so why would their hiding place matter?

It mattered to the UK Border Agency. It also mattered to the plain clothes policeman they summoned to question me. He was actually a friendly chap, and would've been quite disarming - if he hadn't stretched his shoulders quite deliberately as he came over to me to show me his shoulder holster. I was shitting a brick by this point, not only was I in danger of ruining my dad's birthday, I was far closer to getting shot than I like to be. The policeman questioned me about where I got the bullets from, and what I was doing. He even tried to catch me out by changing questions halfway through - "So you're going to Paris wi-you've never been nicked before have you?"

Eventually, my decidedly ropey (but true!) alibi involving nuclear bunkers and gift shops was accepted, and I was sent on my way sans the offending items. I got a letter confirming the receipt and destruction of the contraband items by the authorities, and I'm reminded of this every time I pack a suitcase.

I'm getting on a plane next month to go to on a tour of a particle accelerator. I dread to think how I'll explain that one to the Swiss authorities...
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 12:09, 1 reply)
My first trip to Ireland to see the ins- and out-laws involved me having to go to the bar at one point and order
"Two glasses of water, a half of shandy and a pint of Guinness, please."

"You're from London, right?" condescended the barman witheringly, in a strong Southern Irish brogue.

"The Guinness is for me!" I squeaked.
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:32, 14 replies)
The two stupidest questions I've ever been asked
...both happened on the same trip, to the USA.

The first, if I may pearoast, was in a store, where the assistant asked me what language people spoke in England. Breathtaking in its lack of awareness. And this was urbane, sophisticated California, not Pig Fuck Alabama or Cleft Palette Lousiana.

The second was on the immigration card, where it used to ask if you were "coming to the USA for the purposes of genocide, ethnic cleansing or mass murder?".

I mean, it's a grey area, isn't it? What exactly counts as "mass"? Without an explicit number I didn't know quite what to say, so I just ticked "NO" and hoped for the best. They seemed OK with that.
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 9:19, 13 replies)
Enzyme's story reminds me of a time when I was in a motor vehicle telling this black chap about the variations in culture one may encounter whilst in Amsterdam.

(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 7:12, Reply)
Handicapped ladies travel group
I was with a travel group for handicapped ladies. I was along in a position I generally describe as wheelchair wrangler. (Do you know how heavy a power chair is?) All the ladies had traveled since being handicapped. However there was a lady I will call Bea. Bea had lost a leg 25 years before, and had been quite active, but she had lost the second leg just three months earlier and this was her first trip with no legs.

I believe there were 17 handicapped ladies on the trip. Three were bunking with their significant others, while the other 14 were paired up as roommates. No hotel has 10 handicapped rooms, but half the women need no special facilities at all, and we figured that those who needed special bathing facilities would use the two handicapped rooms. Bea was booked in the room with the roll-in shower. Her roommate and two other ladies were intending to use that roll-in shower.

Problem: There was no roll-in shower. This hotel had never had a roll-in shower. Furthermore the two handicapped rooms we had booked had wide bathroom doors, but no other features. There were absolutely no handholds around the flusher or the tub. The hotel didn't even have a single shower chair. This hotel had booked a convention of handicapped ladies with absolutely no legal handicapped rooms.

The hotel manager lived a hours drive away, and had just gone home after being stuck at the hotel for a few days. Also our "camp director" was coming in on a later flight. So you had me and a couple other hotheaded men, a few distraught ladies, and a couple of hotel assistant managers who were in way over their heads. The hotel manager told me flat out on the phone he was not coming back to the hotel, as he had already told another man. I think that right after my call his wife told him he had better go to the hotel.

Actually it was probably for the best that the hotel manager didn't face the hotheaded men and the distraught ladies. The camp director rolled in just before the manager. She was pleasant but firm. She cited him chapter and verse of all the laws he was violating. Then she and the manager and another man went to the store where she had the manager buy shower chairs and support bars and whatever.

The manager had only worked there a few months. This dilapidated hotel had just changed chains with the promise of a $2 million renovation. The chain reservation office had let us reserve the roll-in shower because they knew all their hotels had a roll-in shower, but this one did not yet. Now that he knew his hotel was so non-compliant, the manager said he would have the new handicapped rooms built early in the renovation, but the renovation had not yet begun.

Everything was okay after that. We joked about the "disabled ramp" in the back lot which was itself an amputee (it was missing a foot). Tragedy was averted but just barely. Bea's left hand felt okay, but her right hand was as cold as ice. She had no circulation in that hand. If she had fallen while transferring from wheelchair to shower chair and injured her right hand, she would have lost the hand. That would have been a notorious story, but thankfully we all lived happily ever after.
(, Wed 24 Apr 2013, 6:19, Reply)
The Gambia.
"oh, it's not like Spain" said an extremely disappointed English woman on the bus from the airport.

The following year I went to Senegal because Brits don't go there and if French tourists were whining (and they do, loudly and often) I could filter their ghastly noise out.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 17:15, 36 replies)
It was our first trip to Amsterdam.
We'd bought some smoke, and nice it was, but we fancied a beer, so found a nice pub.

But we also fancied a smoke.

We were a significant party in the pub - those who have been will know that some of them are absolutely tiny - as this one was - and we were a party of eight.

I went up to the barman.

"Hello mate. Is it OK if we smoke in here?"

"Sure" he said.

"No" I elaborated, "If we smoke hash?"

"Oh" he said, "Where are you from?"

"Er ... England" I said.

"Yeah - whereabouts in England" was the reply.

"Oh. London" I said.

"Oh well yeah - that's fine then!" he said with a broad smile, "I thought you might be from Liverpool!"

What Liverpool's done to Amsterdam?
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 15:29, 10 replies)
Foreign facilities.
I may once, out of sheer curiosity, have used a french bog. Unfortunately I didn't realise that the squat was supposed to be taken low to the hole, rather than in some sort of teeing off at golf pose.

It didn't end well.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 14:04, 11 replies)
Pea-roast, but right on topic
Kenya, 1995. The start of what turned out to be fantastic overland expedition around East Africa. I'd flown with Air Sudan from London via Khartoum - a pretty bad journey in itself. Big tip for those of you who like a drink on your flight. Don't fly with an Islamic airline!
Anyway, got to Nairobi and met up with my fellow overlanders. The deal was that we make our way to just south of Mombasa on the coast and the proper trip would start from there. So off to the railway station it was. This is where the problems began, as the train was "broken". An enterprising local with a bright purple matatu (pimped-up knackered mini bus) then offered us his services. 15 US dollars each for a 5 hour trip. The time was about 3pm at this point, so we should be at the coast in time for dinner. Great. Why not?
So we paid our money and helped secure our backpacks to the matatu's roof. This is when the alarm bells started ringing, as the pile of luggage was almost as tall again as the vehicle by the time it was all tied up there. Then came the realisation that there were something like 16 seats and 22 of us. It was January, we'd all flown over with hardly any sleep from much colder climes and by this point we were too hot and knackered to even think about alternatives. The luggage fiasco had taken 2 hours. Then the Kenyan version of Kwik-Fit were mustered to change the tyres (their jingle being "you can't get shitter than a Kenyan fitter"). 2 tyres each side at the back, 1 each side at the front I think - 3 hours. Then we set off, packed like sardines into every available nook and cranny, with shift rotas being worked out as to who got which seat and when. Just getting out of Nairobi was another 2 hours. We soon learnt that it wasn't wise to have the windows open even an inch as hands were darting through as we crawled alongside the pavements and stealing caps, watches, you name it. The driver kept stopping to pick his mates up and buy large bunches of some greenery that when chewed keeps you awake. Him and his pals were crammed into a separate cab at the front, so communicating with the wanker was impossible. To add insult to injury he was pumping the most dire Euro disco music imaginable into our back section at full volume. We had to rip the speaker wires out half way through the journey to preserve what was left of our sanity.
We finally left Nairobi at 10pm. Then the nightmare proper began...
The very condensed version of what transpired is as follows;
4 burst tyres (thankfully only one rear tyre at a time).
Several near-misses with huge lorries approaching us in the opposite direction. We just couldn't even look after a while - it was too terrifying. We were all totally convinced we were going to die at any minute.
Threats by locals of one village who were wielding bows and arrows and had taken exception to our artificially tall hell-bus tearing down their power lines.

I could go on, but suffice to say that when we reached our destination on the beach at eight the next morning we were all good friends and very very thankful to be alive.

Sorry about length but you know you all fucking love it.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 13:35, 8 replies)
A mate of mine went to Thailand.
He turned down cocaine from a barman and sex with a beautiful woman who may, or may not, have had a penis.

What's the fucking point of going? To see the sights? Nah, sod that, ladyboys and coke.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 12:45, 3 replies)
the travel game
when i was very little, i shared a room with my brother and sister. when bedtime came and we couldn't sleep, we'd play the travel game.
the game consisted of deciding beforehand which country we were going to, then burrowing under the blankets to the ends of our beds, where we'd pretend to have been transported to the country of our choice.
our adventures largely involved eating pistachio ice cream, swimming in pools and going on pedalos.
we were very easily pleased as children :)
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 11:52, 16 replies)
A psychic gazed at my palm and exclaimed 'Oooh, I see that you're going on holiday! To Egypt! I see sand… and donkeys...
Or perhaps it's Blackpool.'

That was a few years ago and I haven't yet been to either, but I live in hope.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 10:46, 3 replies)
The Other Guy reminds me of a conversation I overheard a couple of years ago.
Bloke 1 was telling Bloke 2 about his holiday in Mexico (or it may have been Egypt, or... or... Basically, it was somewhere sunny with a different culture and a different language, and that's all ye need to know), and about how it was all-inclusive, and how the hotel was so nice that they didn't have to leave it once in the whole fortnight, and how that was apparently a good thing.
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 9:35, 5 replies)
Strolling through Amsterdam
After 4 weeks of travelling and camping around the Dutch countryside. We decided to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam, see the Van Gogh museum and admire the unique Dutch canalside architecture.

We walk through the red light district between the train station and the museum.

As we pass the doorway of one of many sex clubs, the doorman tries to entice us in, bellowing "Come and see a man fuck a pig!".

Fucks sake. What kind of pig would stoop so low?
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 7:00, 10 replies)
Sunset Strip
My bro had a super-8 camera and a duffle bag. He was filming the stars on the sidewalk. I was ahead of him and yelled out when the cross-light went green. He ran up the road putting his cam into his bag. It looked a bit like an Uzi... 3 guys ahead of us pulled guns on us. Luckily Marc put his hands in the air and screamed 'It's a camera'. Little bloody brothers eh?! What a dick...
(, Tue 23 Apr 2013, 0:07, 4 replies)
I'm just experiencing a horrifying flash back.
I was an office social function and I made the mistake of asking someone what they did on their vacation. They launched into an excruciatingly boring account of their trip to some all inclusive resort in Cuba. Of course someone else overhears this and has to compare notes, and then somebody else, and the rest of them have to chime in.
Travelers, go if you must but spare me the fucking details.
It's like football fans.
Or hockey.
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 23:49, 2 replies)
When I lived in Geneva
I did a load of boring shit and have felt the need to bore everyone I know with it constantly ever since.

Spending time abroad does not make you a more interesting person. It makes you an up yourself, boring, xenophobic knob. Trust me, I've done it.

I hope I still have interesting parts of my personality, and they probably all came from the UK, because they sure as fuck did not come from huddling with a homogenous bunch of expats trying desperately to find the lowest common denominator entertainment. However, the xenophobia caused by meeting people from other countries and finding they suck in ways I'm not used to and hadn't resigned myself to years ago will take a long time to fade.
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 20:43, 12 replies)
I once went fishing on the internet but nobody was biting
so I stuck some toys up a scaggy bird instead.
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 18:10, 3 replies)
Reverse psychology
Late 80s. The then-missus and I went to South Africa for a holiday – mainly on the basis that we knew a couple of people who were working over there at the time and it seemed a good way to go somewhere exotic relatively cheaply.

First stop was Joburg, with a couple who, since their arrival, had been robbed three times and who, by the time we arrived, were totally fucking paranoid. Three alarm systems and, worst of all, they were in bed by 9pm each night. We were real night owls, used to working night shifts so to see them go off to bed when we were just coming alive was very disheartening.

We decided that wasn’t really the way to go so we borrowed their car one day and drove the hour or so to Pretoria, to find our other friend over there, who was working at a casino on the outskirts of the city. With only the most rudimentary directions to the place he was living, we had a very pleasant amble around in the African sunshine.

We were driving through a suburb on the edge of the city, we turned a corner and out of nowhere appeared a policeman, right in front of the car, with his hand raised. Even though we’d just pulled out of a corner, we still had to do an emergency stop, he was that close. He’s a white guy, crisp uniform, bristling moustache, and what follows is like a Tom Sharpe novel come to life.

He’s pulled us over for a traffic violation – not stopping at a ‘stop street’, a T-junction – and there’s an on-the-spot fine of 20 rand or so. I’m a bit worried because I’m the one driving and hadn’t at that point passed my test back home. Didn’t think it would be a problem – my wife drove for a while and since it was so quiet we swapped over for a bit. But he’s a Crunchie policeman (Afrikaner to his face) who really don’t have the best of reputations. He’s looking stern and disapproving and I’m more than a bit worried while he’s writing out the ticket, just waiting for him to ask for my licence.

But then he finds out we’re English and his whole manner changes. Not because he hates the English. It’s quite the opposite – he wants to chat.

‘So, you’re English?’

I say we are.

“Very nice. I like the English. Where are you from?”

I tell him Manchester, my wife’s from London.

“Very good. I have a friend from Blackpool – a Mrs Jones. Do you know her?” (I kid you not – this is exactly what he said.)

I explain that Jones is quite a common name and there are a lot of people in England, so probably not.

“Oh, you’d know her. Tall lady, blonde. Very well spoken. Are you sure you don’t know her?”

I say sadly, still not.

“Well, if you meet her you must say hello from me.”

I assure him that we will. He then goes on to ask what kind of food we like (I was dreading an invitation to dinner) and asks how we cook things. It became a conversation of unbelievable banality, which finally ground to a halt. We were preparing to leave when out of the blue he looks me straight in the eye and says:

“Of course, you know what you must do if you run over someone, don’t you?”

As you might figure, this throws me somewhat. But the answer is fairly standard so with some confidence I mention phone calls, emergency services, blah, blah. But he’s wagging his finger and shaking his head.

“No, no, no”, he says, interrupting me and enunciating very carefully: “If you run over someone you must reverse and make sure they are dead.”

Not at all the answer I was expecting. I thought he was joking and was about to laugh it off when I realise he is absolutely, deadly (npi) serious.

“Right”, I say.

“Three times is best”, he says. “Maybe twice, but three times will definitely do it.”

“Right”, I say again.

“And you must do it,” he says earnestly. “Because if you don’t, these people will sue the shit out of you.”

“Right”, I say again. “Well, thanks for the advice.”

“Not at all”, he says, and touches his cap. “Enjoy your holiday.”

We drive off and I can see him in the middle of the road, hands on hips, watching us drive away.

Fucking shithole of a place, Pretoria. Full of khaki and gun-toting, bearded twats. Never known a country be so beautiful and so ugly at the same time. We were there almost three weeks and if it hadn’t been for a really laid-back week in Cape Town, I’d have gone home early.
(, Mon 22 Apr 2013, 17:20, 7 replies)

This question is now closed.

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