Travelling brings you much fun. You are constantly learning and you are experiencing much. Travelling broadens the mind and makes you feel good with the world, with people and with cultures. However it is not without its hiccups, its problems and its pain. I have enjoyed visiting many different countries, meeting people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. I love sampling different foods and engaging in different dances. Looking at historic monuments, art and structures excites me to no end. With all the good experiences, I have also had some rather unfortunate ones. In this post I share with you some of my less happy experiences. Some of these were sad and quite awful. Like Life, I guess, the good must come with the bad and the ugly!

A Voyage like No Other

We flew to Cairo and then to Aswan to join a ship that would take us on a cruise of the Nile. We would start at Aswan and end our cruise at Cairo. We would stop at various towns and villages to visit the historical sites. It was a most memorable cruise. The first incident which made the trip memorable was that when we boarded the ship, we were told that the crew was on strike. There was a dispute with the management. We had to fend for ourselves that evening and we were assured that more staff would join the ship the next day. Wow! What a welcome! Not the usual exciting welcome!

When we were half way down the Nile, one morning we woke up to discover that during the night the ship had run aground. It was stuck on a sandbank. It could not move forward nor could it go backwards. We were stuck, stranded in the middle of the Nile. There was nothing else to do but to wait for a tug boat and some other vessels to come and pull us out of our position. Meanwhile, we, the passengers sat in the ship waiting. We could hear the motor sounds of the boats around our ship and it was at times quite frightening!

But probably the most awful experience on that ship was the food poisoning which many passengers experienced. While we were careful with the water which we consumed, we could not be too sure about the salads that were served. And there were large bowls of salad served at every meal! What was truly sad was that two of the passengers became very ill and had to be taken off the ship to a hospital. One of the passengers, a lovely woman who lived in London, and whose company I had enjoyed on the cruise, did not survive the illness and passed away. We were all devastated by the experience.

Not the Tour We Planned

We joined a tour to Spain and Morocco only to discover that we had signed up for a lower grade of the tour. Our travel agent had advised us wrongly and we had not understood that Superior was not really Superior. Hence at all the cities and towns that the coach stopped we stayed in second grade hotels. This was fine in some places but in others it was not comfortable. For example, in Marrakech in Morocco, the room that we were assigned was awful and there were cockroaches in the bathroom.

The Compensation

When we returned home we told our travel agent of our experience on the tour. She was most apologetic about it and gave us a free holiday at Club Med at Cherating, in Malaysia. The Beach at Cherating is beautiful and Club Med, as you probably know, organises many activities for the guests. His Highness (the Spouse) and I decided that we would wake up early each morning and go for a walk on the Beach before Breakfast. On our first morning there, as we were walking on the sand and looking for flotsam and jetsam, washing our feet in the sea as the waves came up, we noticed a cloud of something coming toward us.

We could not avoid this cloud and we walked straight into a colony of sand flies! And were we attacked and bitten! I was bitten but did not have too many bites. His Highness, though, was very badly affected. By the evening he had huge lumps on his arms, legs and body. It was painful and ugly. He had to see the doctor and the only cure then was to puncture the pimples and put mercurochrome on them. Picture him, covered with huge pimples that were painted red! He was too embarrassed to leave the room and missed all the fun and games that Club Med had to offer. He stayed in his room throughout our stay and even took his meals in there. Fortunately by the time we left he was feeling better and could make the trip home. His Highness has never forgotten the pain and discomfort that he had to bear. As such we are now more cautious about going for walks on Beaches.

In Darkness

On a number of holidays that we have had we have experienced power failures in the hotels that we stayed. One such occasion was in Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka. This was the tea growing area and we stayed in a beautiful hotel. Here the waiters were dressed in tails and wore white gloves. It was all very posh, very upper class, very colonial! We were told that we had to dress for Dinner and we did. But just as we were about to leave our room the lights went off and we were in total darkness. A staff member came to our room with torches to help us down to the dining room. And yes, we had dinner by candlelight for some of the evening!

On another occasion we were in Tongariro in New Zealand. There was a golf course by the hotel and the scenery around the Hotel was beautiful. Again, as we were having drinks in the Bar before dinner,the lights went off. We sat in darkness but with many other guests around us, we felt quite secure. We were all rather merry and we laughed at our predicament. Dinner was later served in the Dining room in candlelight..all very romantic! Not long afterwards the power was restored.

Travel has its hiccups and provides us with much learning. As Mary Anne Radmacher said,
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”


  1. Travelling can be a double edged experience… but the up side is that there’s so much more to learn from the world and its myriad of cultures. Well heeled, you’ll be able to see things from such a wider perspective. It’s also shocking to hear about the lady who died of food poisoning onboard. Life is too fragile and we need to cherish the moments.

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed this article.

  2. You do seem to have had your share of unpleasant travel experiences! But I am glad you remain positive about travel to foreign climes and customs. And I hope you and Your Highness have lots more enjoyable adventures abroad! Keep us posted.

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