Friday, June 12, 2015

Embarrassing Stories from Abroad

As a teenager, one of my favorite things to do was read aloud with friends from the embarrassing stories section of magazines like Seventeen or CosmoGirl: "OMG, my crush saw me do a belly flop at the pool! I was mortified."

With traveling to different countries, through strange cultures and speaking foreign languages, embarrassing moments happen. A lot.

I know this well because I have many stories much worse than those in the teenage magazines. But I don't always want to share these moments on here because, well, they're embarrassing!

I thought it would ease my nerves a little bit by asking a few other bloggers to share their mortifying moments along with mine.

Read on for my story and others that will make you blush from across the globe. 



Grow Shop Pantie Drop

In Spain, growing marijuana for your own recreational or medicinal use is legal. For this reason, you'll see many "Grow Shops" while walking around the major cities. These shops don't actually sell the plant, but they do provide the seeds and other materials used to grow and smoke it.

During my year in Madrid, I lived in an apartment above a grow shop. There were usually some hip, young people hanging around, but other than that we didn't notice the shop much. However, our laundry lines hung in a hollow part of the building directly above their patio filled with mulch, pots, ladders and other gardening supplies.

One day, I was short on time before work and didn't remove all of my dry laundry from the line. I left about ten or twelve pairs of clean underwear hanging from the clothespins. While I was gone, an afternoon storm came through and blew all of my panties off the line and scattered them, soaking wet, into the patio below.

While I would have loved to just forget about them and go buy a few new pairs, I was on a budget and didn't want to blow my hard earned Euros on a bunch of new underwear. So I marched downstairs, and tried to tell the attractive, tattooed guy in his 20s about my predicament. I thought my Spanish was good, but explaining panties in a patio was difficult. He eventually understood, but instead of letting me retrieve them, he walked into the patio, grabbed a few pairs and returned with a wet, lacy handful.

I had to tell him there were more. "No. Hay mas," I said while feeling the heat coming off of my blushing cheeks. He goes back out and I find a small window looking out into the patio where I end up yelling directions to this Easter Egg Hunt for thongs. "There's another hanging from the ladder!" "One is in the bushes!" "Check on top of that shelf!" By this time I've forgotten all of the Spanish I know and I'm fumbling for words.

At the end of the whole thing, I'm laughing while counting sopping wet pairs of underwear on his glass counter above a display of bongs. He offers a plastic bag so I can carry them upstairs. I accept. He once again takes my panties, puts them in a bag and hands it to me along with a business card. On my way out, I promise to visit his shop another time... I never did.

- Kelsey. Follow this blog on Facebook!


Fried rice, hold the rice

It was 2009 and my first time in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I had heard so much about how good nasi goreng is, so I couldn't wait to try it out.

One night, my Couchsurfing friends and I went to the market to eat dinner. I saw a food stall advertising nasi goreng, so I quickly went there and ordered. "I want nasi goreng, please," I said, "but without the rice." The vendor just stared at me, so after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, I just said never mind.

It was only later when I realized how bad it sounded; in effect, I ordered fried rice (which is what nasi goreng is) without the rice!

- Aleah of Solitary Wanderer. Follow her on Instagram!



Special delivery

I was flying from Knoxville, Tennessee to London, England for my first solo international trip.  I navigated through airport security and stopped at the Starbucks for a Chai Tea to enjoy before my flight.  I sat down near my gate.  I set my wallet and tea on the side table.  I took out my headphones and enjoyed my tea.  My flight was called and I got boarded my plane.

As I made my plane swap in Atlanta, I turned on my phone.  I had 5 missed calls from a number I didn’t recognize.  I listened to my messages.  “Jennifer.  This is Robert at McGhee Tyson Airport.  You left your wallet at the gate.  I am sending it on the next flight from Knoxville to Atlanta.  That flight lands at 12:25 pm at gate B23.  Please meet it at the gate.”  My heart drops and I start to panic.  I search my bags and sure enough, no wallet.  My passport, credit cards, and cash are all in that wallet.  I couldn’t believe it.  Thank you, Robert for looking my name up in your computer system and calling me about my wallet.  Learned my lesson NEVER set anything down that is supposed to be in a bag, or so I thought.  Don't ask about that incident in Colombia with my new DSLR camera.

- Jennifer of Made all the Difference. Follow her adventures on Facebook!


No visa, no big problem!

Before traveling to Nicaragua, I read a lot of articles about visa requirements, but most of them were from American and European travel blogs. I also checked out quite a few Filipino travellers who have been to Nicaragua, but I now know that they had a valid US / Europe / Australia Visa which I didn't have.

When I arrived at the Nicaraguan border Immigration, the officer asked for my USA visa which I told him I don't have and so he asked me where is my Nicaraguan visa from the Consulate and I told him I didn't need it based on what I had read online. The official didn’t want to deal with me and told me "NO, you can't enter the country and step aside." The bus driver heard it and told me that the bus was leaving anytime soon because the other passengers were waiting. I was frustrated, no internet and no one to call too… And then I started crying!

Luckily, a lady official saw me and came over to help, after many questions and phone calls she discovered that I could actually get a visa on arrival, which took more questions, stamps and about 1 hour more of waiting. While I know that if I hadn’t started crying that the woman may not have noticed me and come over to help, but I still felt embarrassed, both by the crying and by being the only one to be singled out and refused entry.

- Kach of Two Monkey's Travel. Follow their adventures on Facebook!


A calculated response

I was 17 when I did a road trip through California with my parents and six-year younger brother. We spent our final three days in a hotel in San Diego to relax a bit before flying home, but one of these days my parents had planned to visit the San Diego Zoo and they left my brother and me the choice to go with them or to stay at the hotel and order room service for breakfast. Not a tough choice. Room service it was!

We were sharing a room at that time and so when a hotel guy came to bring us breakfast and handed over the bill, it was my job to sign it and... decide on his tip. Now, I'm from Belgium and we don't have obligatory tips here. Whenever we're really pleased with a service, we'll tip, or when we get some change back we'll just leave some behind on the table. I knew it had to be like 10-15%, but because of the stress (and the fact that the hotel guy was pretty cute), mathematics seemed like a concept I hadn't heard of yet.

So I... took out my cell phone to use the calculator on it to figure out was his tip was supposed to be! I quickly filled in the amount and signed the bill, blushing from my cheeks until behind my ears.

- Sofie of Wonderful Wanderings. Follow her adventures on Facebook!



Watch your step 

Jen and I recently found ourselves at the Rufeng Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Taiwan has some amazing night markets that are a mix of food, clothes and carnival games.

I was looking at a clothing booth, stepped closer, my large, women's 9.5 foot hit the pole supporting the clothing display and down it all came crashing.

I felt terrible as an array of tshirts plummeted to the ground. "Watch your step" has never carried so much meaning.

- Kiki of Wanderlust Explorers. Follow them on Facebook!




Which story do you think was the most embarrassing?
Have you ever had any similar experiences while traveling?
Leave a comment below!

12 comments:

  1. Sofie CouwenberghJune 12, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    So much fun reading the other stories as well. Thanks for having me!

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  2. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.comJune 12, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    These stories are hilarious! Thanks for including mine!

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  3. Hilarious! I love the panties story.

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  4. The panties story is a real beauty! I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but my embarrassing stories are either too terrible to discuss publicly or pretty boring

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  5. hahaha I'm sure you have lost a few pairs of panties over the journey :)

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  6. LOL, some of these are gems especially loved the Nasi Goreng with no rice please!

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  7. Haha, great post and some pretty good stories here! My favourite one is the nasi goreng story! And Jennifer was so lucky with her wallet!!

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  8. Great post! I've made a few embarrassing blunders overseas but none this epic!

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  9. Haha! This is so funny. This gets me thinking about all of my blunders while abroad! There are a few!

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  10. these are great for a laugh! i can't imagine trying to explain the undies predicament in another language!

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