Thursday, May 22, 2008

The evidence keeps flooding in: Holiday disasters are more common then you think

As this piece from the Sunday Times demonstrates:

There were six of us – three couples – sharing a villa in Malta. The maid was horrible, and at one point tried to make us all share a bedroom; the owner’s pet labrador died, and the local vet advised us to burn the corpse in case of infectious diseases; and it was so hot, the driveway cracked in the heat and chips from it broke a window. To top it all, there was a horrendous electric storm on the flight home. By the end of the holiday, all three couples had broken up. - Cherry Cookson, London

It was supposed to be the “Ultimate Robinson Crusoe Honeymoon”. It was actually a two-man tent on a desolate atoll with no amenities, next to a shark-infested sea. We found a box of matches containing six damp ones and just the one that was dry. It was used. At dusk, the beach came alive with creepy-crawlies, which attracted a black cloud of crows. What the crows left, the rats enjoyed. Remarkably, I’m still married to my suburban Bear Grylls. - Sara Wakefield, Worcester

I went touring Scotland with my fiancée and some friends – another engaged couple. In one B&B, a harridan landlady stood on guard between what she called the boys’ and girls’ rooms. Then we had three days’ rain in Oban and two days’ food poisoning, with three of the four of us circling a single WC. Finally, we got some sun in Aviemore, where I swam in the loch and cut my foot on a rusty can. I received eight stitches and spent the last five days hopping. - Peter Hotchkin, Hilversum, Netherlands

I had all my worldly goods swiped by a machete-wielding local in Zanzibar. I was so scarred by the experience that I hallucinated his presence later that night. I spent all of the next day at the police station as a one-fingered typist took seven identical reports of the crime. - Becky Wootton, Oxford

Went to Thailand with horrid boyfriend and caught a taxi at the airport. We were stopped by police and told our throats would be slit. Took bus to Ko Samui, hijacked by men with machetes. Someone died of an overdose next door. Boyfriend ended up in hospital. - Sam, Brisbane, Australia

We hired a pink 4WD in Jamaica, got lost one day and followed a local on a motorbike, who offered us directions. He took us to a ganja plantation. When we tried to escape, the car wouldn’t start. After we’d paid huge “donations”, we managed to get away – and then got fined for speeding. - Shelley Collingwood, Cambridge

I was driving down the M25 when a lorry crashed into me. I’d only got the car the week before. The police took one look at the wreckage and were amazed I was alive. The tow truck needed three hours to find me; he was going to drop me off at the nearest petrol station, but I persuaded him to take me to Stansted, where I spent the night before flying home. Not good memories. - Erik Pleyte, the Hague, Netherlands

I paid a flying visit to England for my brother’s wedding. The connecting flight to Heathrow was cancelled, and I was transferred onto another flight to Gatwick. But the runway was closed, so we were diverted to an RAF aerodrome near Southampton. It took me three trains to get to the wedding – one was cancelled and I ended up on an alternative route. Nightmare. - Carolyn Haward Bravos, Markopoulo, Greece

My girlfriend and I were crossing the border from America to Mexico on holiday. We were having a drink in a bar when a guy who described himself as an “ex-convict” started chatting to us. He was rather persistent, so we tried to make our excuses. When he went to the bar to order another round, we escaped upstairs to the filthy bathroom, where we had to pay five bucks for toilet paper. We stayed in there for ages, waiting for him to go away. - Muncho, Richmond

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