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Travlers Tales.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Travlers Tales. Reply with quote

Loads of us must have stories of stuff thats happened to us in our travells to weird and wonderfull places. Can we hear some of them? Here's one that happened to me in Hanoi [I think]. I was sitting by steps opposit the main post-office and a little old man approached me with a shoe-shine box under his arm. "Clean shoes?" he enquired, and I, not entierly comfortable with the idea of having someone else cleaning my shoes said "Thanks - but not today."
The mans face took on a pained expression as he viewed my [admitedly somewhat worn looking] leather boots. "But"he said in a strained voice and gesturing at the shoes, "They're not right!"

In the Annapurna region of Nepal my wife and I were being escorted on a walking tour by two guides who, having come across a small stream that had not previously been flowing, were in the process of laying stepping stones by which means we could cross. We were taking the opportunity to eat our packed lunches and as was the norm, had gathered a small crew of children from the neighbouring village who were standing around shyly watching the strange foreigners in their midst. My wife reached into her large bag to see if she could find some sweets to pass around and one of the guides, being Nepalese and ever wishing to be helpfull, came over and also began rooting in the bag. My wife having no joy gave up the hunt but the guide, suddenly withdrew his hand and held up with an enquiring gaze - a tampon.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only story I can think of off the top of my head is about the gypsy woman who offered to tell my fortune outside the cathedral in Sevilla for a sprig of rosemary -- and then demanded many euros for it. I'd heard they pulled that trick in Grenada, but I didn't realize they had migrated to Sevilla. Silly me. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alas - there are many out there who live by wit and cunning alone Ali; not always their fault but always a pain!
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Standing on the deck of The QM2 waiting for it to leave New-York harbour I noticed that our neighbour by the railings was none other than Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canteburys envoy who survived 5 years chained to a Beirut cellar wall in solitary confinement, by the terrorist organisation Hezbollah. With neither company or friend to ease his ordeal he sustained himself by prayer and the reciting of long passages of the Common Book of Prayer, which he had learned by rote while at seminary years earlier. We were passengers on the liners return maiden trans-atlantic voyage and to mark this historic occasion [which I fell into quite by chance, but thats another story] the Mayor of New-York had arranged a Fireworks and Fireboat display to send us off. Glasses of champagne in hand we waited expectantly untill suddenly a few desultory rockets and sparklers briefly lit up the sky. Waite turned to me "I didn't think much of that!" he said, and I responded, "No - I think that was just the warm up; It's about to start anytime now."
He shook his head "No - that's the lot I'm afraid" he said, turning to leave. At that moment a massive display comenced comprising of hundreds of rockets, streamers, whirling wheels and fire-crackers. The sky was lit from end to end and fireboats sprayed their hydrants high into the air over the flotilla of small boats in the water below us. As the last firework died in the sky and silence finally returned I turned to Waite with a grin on my face and said "Oh ye of little faith!"
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a 12 hour flight to South Africa I was pleased, shortly after take off, to be served a lunch, the main course of which, was a salmon fillet in dill sauce with veg and mashed potato's. Being a little short of room [thats economy fare for you] I lifted the metal tray closer to my mouth to begin eating when a passerby in the isle accidentally nudged my protruding elbow. The disatrous scene that followed showed me with the entire dinner down my white shirt, and those glutinous lumps that had sucessfully made the descent sitting comfortably in my lap. I did the best I could to clean up, but with no spare clothes and only the limited facilities of a plane toilet to work in the result was not good. To make things worse as the journey progressed and the heat 'got up' there was no getting away from the fact that I was stinking of fish. Thus I arrived at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, to the quizzical looks of the reception staff, to whom I'm thinking I must have seemed in a less than good humor!


[Still - could have been worse; travelled back from Egypt with a man who got struck by an instantaneous und uncontrolable attack of diahorrea ten minutes into the flight; Youv'e never seen such a mess in your life! Now he was not a happy bunny!]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll always remember me and a bunch of friends getting lost in Venice. There was some sketchy guys in the slums of Venice.. one dude looked like a legit Somalian pirate, burns everywhere, angry expression. He walked up to us and i moved my friend out of the way so he could walk buy and he uttered a phrase that was either "Thank You" or *uck you" I dont know which one it was so i just smiled and nodded. He proceeded to walk away and take a turn down another dark alley. We also got followed by the same beggar lady all day. It's hard to converse with beggars if they dont speak your language.. eventually things got heated up and she started yelling.. we started yelling.. Then i finally just put a euro in her cup. somehow that made her more angry. We had a blast.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Damn Peter.. I'm loving your stories. I haven't had a good laugh in a while, Thanks
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
The disatrous scene that followed showed me with the entire dinner down my white shirt...


A similar thing happened to me, except I was holding two bloody mary's and it was turbulence. And it was the GF in a white dress. Talk about painting things red... Very Happy Luckily it was a short flight.

My best flight ever was London to Cairo on Egypt Air, not long after 9/11. Very Happy Plane was almost entirely empty. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Av. Loved Egypt air. Went to the back for a cig and heard one of the passengers complaining vocally about the smell of smoke. The air hostess said to him "Look Fella - this is the only airline left in the world you can smoke on. If you wanted 'smoke-free' you should have chosen one of the other ones!"

My Venice story does not cast me in a good light I'm afraid Rau Le Creuset. On our first night my wife and I went for a meal in a hotel and it transpired they had overbooked. Consequently our table was over an hour late and in the manner of keeping us sweet they served us free booze over this period. Each G&T had 2 inches of neat gin and a half inch of tonic. We had four of them. We drank two bottles of wine with the meal and then went to a bar afterwards. We woke up in a doorway at six the following morning and spent the next 48 hours recuperating in the hotel before flying home.


[edit; Just had to add this one. I flew home to the UK on a night flight from Bankok - an 11 hour sojurn in a hot, cramped plane with no service for 10 of them due to every body being asleep [or trying to be at least]. Following a short supper we all put our seats back and the lights were dimmed. A few moments later I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see the woman in the seat behind me who must have been all of twenty stone. "Would you mind putting your seat forward" she said, "I haven't got room to move." Breathing deeply I complied and spent the next ten hours sitting wide awake and bolt upright in the seat, surrounded by 400 recumbant and soundly sleeping bodies.]
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Yes Av. Loved Egypt air. Went to the back for a cig and heard one of the passengers complaining vocally about the smell of smoke. The air hostess said to him "Look Fella - this is the only airline left in the world you can smoke on. If you wanted 'smoke-free' you should have chosen one of the other ones!"


Haha, IIRC, you can't anymore. First time I flew them, I didn't know you could still smoke. Few hours in, I saw a woman heading to the back carrying her cigarettes. I was outta my seat in a flash. Laughing

Great service too, I must say. No alcohol, but fantastic service.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put this in another thread but it belongs here as well

When I was 7 my parents moved us to Switzerland. When we got there my father did not speak German. He took us to a hotel in the mountains to live while he looked for an apartment. He did not know it was a place for detoxing alcoholics. Lots of groaning and shouting at night. I used to walk in the woods by myself all the time. One day I met an older man in the woods. He didn't speak English and I didn't speak German. We ended up sitting together alone building a moss and sticks miniature village under the trees for four hours. Totally safe, totally innocent, totally never happen nowadays.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful Lorin - I found just such a minature village on the cliffs near where I live [really detailed and built with love]. Alas by the time I returned to show my grand-daughter it had been scattered.

re The no booze thing on Egypt Air Av, I smuggled on some G&T's in water bottles [before all that was stopped post 9/11] and filled up a couple of water glasses, having secured some ice from the trolley. The steward fixed me with his gimlet eye. "Is that alcohol?" he barked. I quaked in my shoes and tittered nervously "Yes - it is."
" You'd better have some peanuts then", he said and produced two packs from the trolley before moving on down the aisle.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL Must say it never even occurred to me, and I probably wouldn't have bothered if it had.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was thirtyish I was engaged to be married Shocked I was not excited about being married and began to feel trapped. Handling it like a true adult, one week before the wedding I left my job and booked a one way flight to Spain. I rented a car and drove the coast of Spain. I had just read Michner's The Drifters and decided to follow their route through Iberia. I spent the first month wandering up the coast of Spain looking for all the Haight-Ashburyisk places spoken about in the book. Each town I went to was packed with huge holiday hotels spilling out with chain-smoking, sun burnt, drunk, tourists (mostly Brits). The beaches were narrow strips of blackened sand and boulders. Tourists were packed on the beaches like sea lions sunning themselves.

Each town was the same. I was a young and stupid tourist. It never occurred to me to leave the coast and go inland, to find the real Spain. Anyway I arrived in Barcelona and all of a sudden I was in Manhattan again. I decided to give up on Spain and went to Portugal. I was leaving Lisbon, traveling once again down the coast, and I picked up two young men hitching down the coast. (I led a charmed life). When they got in the car the first thing they did was sternly lecture me on not picking up hitchhikers. We traveled together down to Lagos. There they found me an inexpensive little apartment to settle. I offered them the living room but they refused.They took their tent and went an camped on the beach. I spent the next two months with them. They took me inland, to olive farms where I helped with the harvest and ate squid in it's ink. They took me to small Portuguese pottery factories in the mountains, they showed me how to properly cook sardines on a tiny hibachi on the beach. After two months their summer holiday was over and they returned to school. I stayed on in Lagos for almost a year. They came and visited two more times and always camped near my home.

I tried to complete Michner's itinerary by going to Morocco but was turned away at the border because I was an unescorted female and they said I would disappear. Who knows, maybe so.

It was a great year for me.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lorin, I'v heard bits and pieces of that story before, but thank you for writing it down.

Much as I admire the decades of civil service, predominately spent grimly trying to improve the lives of those who misappreciated the effort, I cherish that you once had such great joie de vivre.

May the resurgence of such be not far off, that art and delight fill your life again. It's still in there, you know...
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morroco was a very different animal when first I visited. We spent a month driving 4 wheel drives down to the Erg Chebi [the first sand sea of the Sahara]. Parked up outside a village one day a small boy who was staring intently through the side window, suddenly started rapping on it, and pointing to something down by my feet. Looking down I saw an empty plastic water bottle which was clearly the object of his attention. I picked up the bottle and opened the window. Grabbing it from me he scuttled off to one side of the vechicle and with deft movements of his hand half filled the bottle with sand. In the space of moments he was back at the window with the bottle held out in one hand and his other palm outstretched. "Saharan sand," he said exitedly, "15 dhirams a bottle!"
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had rented the small apartment in Lagos. It was on a small cobblestone road half way up a hill. There are a lot of hills on the Portuguese coast. Every morning around 6 am I walked down the road to the fish market and purchased some fish. At 6 am all the old ladies dressed in black were already out side cleaning in and around their tiny homes. They would watch me suspiciously as a would leave every day to the market, not understanding what a tourist would be doing in their part of the world. So I would go down to the market where all the men would also stare at me. Every time I went, I would pick a different fish, learning to like the taste of fish. So one day I picked out two long slim black skinned whole fish. They placed the two fish in a clear plastic bag and I left the market. I began the long climb back up the steep road to my apartment. As usual the old ladies in black provided the gauntlet for my passage. About 2/3 the way up the two fish suddenly began flopping violently in the little plastic bag. I was so startled I let out a scream and dropped the bag. The flopping fish flopped right out of the bag and began flopping right down the steep little road. The picture of me chasing the two fish down the hill trying to get the slippery critters back in the bag was just too much for the old ladies. They all started laughing and eventually relented and helped me catch my quarry with their brooms. After that, the veil of suspicion lifted and they greeted me with a "bon dia" every morning.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Lovely! {You wouldn't remember what fish they were Lorin - sounds like ling or another eel type fish to me; very brave tackling fish from scratch in this manner with no prior knowledge of how they taste etc - I see stuff on my supermarket shelf that I haven't got the courage to buy}

In india we arrived in a small village [a group of ten or so driving around Rajisthan] and as our guide walked us up through the dusty street toward the temple we were to visit a throng of youths and children attached themselves to us in exited manner at the strangers in their midst. One young lad of about fourteen began talking to my wife and I and I asked telling us about his village and how he hoped one day to study sanscrit at college. He said he had finished school a year or so ago, but subject to saving up some money would hopefully continue his studies before long. "What are you doing now," I asked "Since you have left school; I mean for a living." He looked a little bewildered, then gestured round at us and the group of kids and tourists. "Why this," he said as though it should need no explanation,"This is what I do."
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really want to visit India some day. You should really do a "Travels with Charlie" kind of book.


My Portuguese saga continues.................

I love sunrises. I think they are under-appreciated. Once I settled in Lagos, I found my body seemed to want to get up just before dawn. In the very dark mornings I would get up, make some coffee in my tiny tiny kitchen and then leave for the beach. This wasn't a big journey, perhaps 5 blocks to the piers and then you could walk along the beach for miles. My first morning I only journeyed a little beyond the docks and seated myself on the sand to greet the morning. As I am sitting there a group of about 20 women and children walk by me toward the shore. They are gypsies. And gypsies in the full sense, not the British Travelers we see on TV nor American Gypsies which are a hoax. These are ragged, sun bleach, dusty suspicious people. They avoid eye contact, and are silent as they walk by me. Children, with incongruent bleach blond nests on their heads, wearing layers of torn sweaters and wool pants. Women in equally as many layers, their bleached hair knotted into homegrown versions of dreds. I wondered why they stood at the shore line. Then, down the beach another group of women and children appear in the dim light. And another. It was a strange scene. These silent groups all facing the water, staring out into the horizon. As the sun came up I noticed boats heading toward the docks, in from a night of fishing. After a minute three boats veered away from the piers toward the groups of women and children. The women and larger children had waded into the water, fully clothed. The man on the boat closest to me heaved a line out toward the wading women and children. One of them grabbed the line and pulled it out of the water. Then all those in the group pulled the line. Slowly they pulled the boat onto the beach. A huge effort where everyone pulled, slipping and sliding in the loose sand. Once beached, the men passed baskets of sardines to the women and children, who headed toward the fish market with the bounty. What I later learned is that the Gypsies could not afford the dock fees so they pulled the boats onto shore. Nor could they afford to rent a space in the fish market so they would sell their fish down the street a bit, constantly being chased away by the local authorities.

Sardines are caught at night. The fishermen shine lights at the water, and like moths to a flame, they come toward the boats.
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