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Old 04-07-2007, 07:33 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,690,406 times
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I'm sure everyone who has traveled (domestically OR internationally) has some wierd experience to tell about. I'll start with one of ours: Wife and I were on a group tour of St. Petersburg, Russia (actually a nice time to go since there aren't the crowds of Summer lined up at palaces. museums, etc.) We were strolling with another couple and stopped to buy chocolate-dipped ice creams. A little later, we happened upon a woman begging with her two children; an infant and probably a five year-old boy. The boy pointed at our ice creams as if begging. The other woman in our group gave him her ice cream. Suddenly, "mom" snatched it from his hand and ate it herself...
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
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That isn't weird, that is sad, heart-breaking and pathetic.
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:12 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,386 posts, read 41,514,892 times
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There was the IRA bomb in December '74 in London. We're sitting there eating a spaghetti dinner, my first night there, and a loud explosion shook us up, literally and figuratively. The bomb had exploded on Oxford Street, but a warning had been called in and nobody was hurt. The next day we walked over there; it was shards and shards of broken glass.

There was the woman, a dwarf, who began rifling through my purse on the notorious #64 bus in Rome. The leather purse was empty because I'd just purchased it (I don't much use a purse when traveling overseas.) I felt something, looked down, and there she was, fiddling around.
"Hey," I said mildly. She stopped, and then all the Italian bus passengers vociferously scolded her off the bus.

There was the taxi ride on the island of Hvar last summer. One minute I was oohing and ahhing over the beautiful fields of lavender, the next minute I am gasping as I look down and see sheer cliffs (and no guardrail.)
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:07 AM
 
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Cattknap, that's probably a better emotion, but it just struck us as so suprising... I'm sure taxi rides in foreign countries can fill a book of stories; I was sent to South Korea as a young Airman; my first tour overseas. I was assigned to a small USAF base at Kwang Ju, away from the larger bases at Osan and Kunsan, so I was on my own getting "down country". Luckily, I found an English-speaking Korean man who got me on the right bus to Kwang Ju then into a taxi. The ride out to the base was about 15 miles. I first noticed that my driver didn't know how to down-shift. Every turn was a bone-jarring rattle until he gained speed. But once he did, oh boy! I think he took pleasure at my concern as he sped faster. We finally got on to the main highway to the town where the base was located and were moving along pretty fast. Suddenly I saw us fast approaching a bus that had just gotten back on the road from a dead stop. There was an ox cart about 7' to the right of the bus, on the gravel shoulder. And cars to our left. The cab driver whipped between the ox cart and the bus with what looked like inches to spare on either side. My look of horror really pleased the taxi driver...
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:09 AM
 
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Cil, I can't imagine the horror of being that close to a bomb blast... I was fortunate that my years overseas werer uneventful, in that respect.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:17 AM
 
Location: a primitive state
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I was living in Paris during the riots a year and a half ago. The American media made a much bigger deal out of it than the French did. For the first couple of weeks, most of us were completely unaware of the situation, though I'd been following it on the local news. With the exception of an increased police presence in the tourist areas - and there are always armed guards standing around the tourist areas - there was little or nothing different in the day to day life in the city.

Paris, the historic and mostly gentrified area most people know of, is surrounded by the peripherique, a large encircling highway. On the outskirts are the housing projects and low income neighborhoods where the rioting began. Only one car burning incident occurred inside the peripherique, in an area that is a bit poorer and economically transitional.

Our friends and families were all freaking out because they thought our lives were imminent danger. According to CNN and Fox News, the city was burning to the ground around us.

Regardless, those were interesting times and I learned a lot about the economic and social divisions in France.

Last edited by ellie; 04-08-2007 at 09:30 AM..
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:19 AM
 
Location: NOTfromhere, Indiana
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During my travels I've had some odd experiences! But to lighten the mood let me recount just a small funny one. In the summer of 2006 I and two of my gal pals decided to abandon the daddies & take a 4 day mommy trip. Now, currently thanks to UPS I'm living in the Louisville metro area. My two GF's are from here and not very well traveled AT ALL! In fact we live in a teeny weeny town on the S Indiana border that doesn't even rate a spot on the map! I quickly realised my best odds for survival meant MY driving us 90% of the time. Especially anywhere near traffic! *OMG* Anyways, on the way home from Panama City Fl., I saw a roadside (store?) selling boiled cajun peanuts. YUM! Mind you it was 8:00 a.m. in the morning, but cajun peanuts are an anywhere anytime kinda deal for me. The place was more of a modular and we pulled up just as the owner pulled in. She graciously hurried up & unlocked for her customers (me drooling). Now, the other two girls were already eyerolling at the boiled peanut thingy but their eyes quit rolling & rapidly graduated to saucer plate size when we stepped inside. We were immediately met by the tangy cajun boil scent. They looked silly with hands clamped over their noses gacking. How rude! Geesh! Browsing around I found a plethora of treasures... ones they were HORRIFIED by! Alligator ashtrays & claw necklaces. Sharks teeth, gaudy teeshirts, postcards and a live cat that looked to be about 50 years old. He was balding, smelled...interesting & I couldn't decide if he was growling or gurgling. Needless to say whilst I happily picked & poked those two huddled bug-eyed by the door. I think they thought the big toothless guy (no doubt named Bubba) was going to eat them. Bravely I opted to let one of them drive so I could dig around in my goodie bags. I'd bought homemade candy, several sticks of ostrich & gator slim jims, plain & cajun peanuts, a gator claw necklace for my 10 year old son and a Florida magnet. I think I could've gotten away with their disgusted looks & refusal to look at my NEAT things right up until I popped the lid off my cajun peanuts. We'd rented a tiny Ford Focus and by the way those two started screeching & clutching their mouths & noses you'd have thunk I'd let a skunk out of a bag. Guh! Poor me, I was forced to wait & eat them when I got home. No sense of adventure those two girls. *pout*
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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Here's a short and sweet and funny one.
So we were in eastern Kentucky during the summer of '05 doing mission work. It was the day that we would be setting off for home. We stopped at a local Wal-mart to just get some food and stuff. As I was walking through an aisle, at the other end, I saw a guy walking around without a shirt on! That just struck me ass kind of odd because you would never see that in Minnesota.
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:14 AM
 
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There's nothing like leaving the comfortable environs of home to encourage bizarre happenings, is there?

I made my first trip to Paris when I was 16 as part of a tour group from our rural Ontario school. For most of these kids, it was their first experience in a foreign country.

To start out with, someone at the tour company had a sense of humour; our Paris hotel was located in a side street one block from Paris' infamous red light district, Place Pigalle.

Immediately next door to the hotel was a bar which advertised nude waitresses. The corner across the rue was the turf of a rather attractive Parisian hooker whose working clothes consisted of a knee-length faux fur coat. Every now and then she'd flip the coat open so prospective customers could judge the goods. I never figured out what role her small, white poodle was to play in the transaction.

At the time, there were open store fronts on Pigalle in which were built a series of wooden cubicles with doors. Their purpose was to give a secluded spot for hookers to take their clients. One of my fondest memories is of a young lad in our group who got caught short and assumed these cubicle held toilets. The look of puzzlement on his face as he opened each cubicle expecting porcelain, but finding nothing, was priceless.

On the more disturbing side, a group of us was returning to the hotel one night by Metro. As we climbed the steps from the subway to street level, we noticed a trail of fresh blood. Sitting at the top of the steps was a guy clutching his stomach and the knife that someone had embedded in it. A definite indication we wern't in Kansas anymore, Toto.

A third memory of that trip is of heading out to the Place Pigalle McDonalds with a girl who I was sweet on. She was an accomplished athlete with a penchant for wearing very short skirts who, at the time, held the high school javelin record for Ontario. I was looking around at the varied humanity when she tapped me on the shoulder and asked what she should do. A short, skinny troll who might have weighed 120 lbs soaking wet had tried to snatch Faye's purse. He was thrashing around wildy in an unsuccessful effort to escape her very firm grasp. I asked her if wanted a Big Mac or a long convesation with the gendarmes. She opted for food and threw the minnow back into the cess pool.

Last edited by Cornerguy1; 04-09-2007 at 01:19 AM.. Reason: small keys on keyboard causing typos
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:38 AM
 
Location: grooving in the city
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I travelled around Mexico and lived in Puerto Vallerta for awhile. I got to meet some Mexican women. Their favourite show was The Brady Bunch, and I could never convince them that the average North American woman did not have a live-in maid or housekeeper. They were also very disappointed to learn that most American and Canadian women worked. They just loved watching re-runs of Dallas too. In this particular neighbourhood the women all had poodles which was a sign of upward mobility.
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