Oh Travel, how much we love that word. Many of us live our lives around Travel and the many adventures that unfold during our journeys. However, like two sides of a coin, there are bound to be certain misadventures too that end up as unwanted blips and sometimes even ruin the experience for travelers. Recently, I had more than a couple of these mishaps that halted my travel plans (for now). In this post, three bloggers – Bernard Tan, Anne Slater-Brooks and yours truly – collaborate to share individual experiences of the time when our travels went wrong.
Bernard Tan @ Bernard The Traveller : The infamous Thai gem scam
I was approached by a ‘friendly’ Thai guy claiming to have worked as a teacher in Singapore, while navigating myself in Bangkok. He had mentioned that there is a temple that is opened today only and we should visit it. He stopped a tuk-tuk by the road and negotiated the price to 20 Baht. The tuk-tuk brought us to the lucky Buddha temple, at the temple we met some Thais that initiated a chat with us and ask us to head to the Thai export center.
While at the Thai export center, we purchased some small blue sapphire, and it cost us about SGD 70 after discount. The gems that we bought were worthless. We also gave the tuk-tuk more than the 20 baht that was expected from us! We were considered lucky, as others have been scammed thousands of dollars.
Anne Slater-Brooks @ TravelTheGlobe4Less : Narrowly avoiding a riot in Tunis
The beachfront killings just a few days earlier seem to have angered the police as they systematically chase down pop up stalls, unleashing ferocious blows on those in their way, with no regard for age, sex or circumstance. We see elderly ladies thrown to the ground and trampled in the melee, pregnant women pushed aside and the growing panic of the more vulnerable.
I’m oblivious to my husband’s unease so intent am I on taking everything in, unfamiliar stores, scents of incense, street food and garbage, the occasional glimpse of a whitewashed architectural gem beckoning to me, until suddenly he grabs me and urges me to run. ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ I shriek to no avail as he drags me away from an oncoming surge of people suddenly heading furiously in our direction. We dash around a corner, flip flops slapping the floor, adrenaline pumping as we fend off bodies jostling us. The panic is electric, as though a stray spark could ignite some unthinkable violence like a scene from Lord of the Rings.
We come to a stop in an oasis of calm where my ashen husband fills me in on events which I completely failed to witness. It seems we narrowly managed to avoid becoming embroiled in a Tunisian riot, gangs throwing bricks at a police cavalcade ahead, and locals of all age and race trying desperately to get away. Shaken we leave to return to the sanctuary of our hotel unharmed but a little more aware of how quickly things can get out of hand!
Tamshuk @ Tamz Explores : Debit card cloned, Snakebite and Severe sickness in Thailand
I had set off for my travels in mid-June with a concrete plans and finances for the next 5 months. But today, I am back home in India as I write this post thinking about the mishaps I had in Thailand, especially Bangkok. On my first three days in Bangkok, my debit card got cloned and I lost more than 90% of my money to an anonymous cash withdrawal with my card details. This I realized on the day I was leaving for Chiang Mai. Till today I am struggling to get any portion of that lost money back from any of the two banks.
Chiang Mai was really nice to me though with some great food at the night markets, lovely friends and those beautiful temples. Oh, I got bit by a snake right when I jumped into the river after a white-water rafting session. The availability of a snakebite kit saved any further “burns” for me. But the final blow came when I made another four day run to Bangkok to get myself a social visa for Indonesia – this, after I had spent a month in Indonesia using the Visa exemption facility. Already having an on and off cold, I landed in Bangkok with plans to fly off to Jakarta after four days. But, as destiny had other plans, I got sick real bad and at the end of day four when I was at the airport to fly off, I was declared “Not fit to fly” by the airport medical team. So, there ended my travel plans for now and I flew back to India!!
The purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that not all goes well when we are traveling. Long-term or even usual vacations always have the possibilities of being bitten by unfortunate incidents. With the joy of traveling and visiting different places, comes the risk of getting unintentionally involved in bad situations. Having said that, will we change the way we travel? No! Will I go back to Bangkok? Absolutely!