Just when you think stained bed sheets at the hotel and cabbies trying to rip you off were the worst thing that could happen on vacation…
These kind of things happen:
1. Stepping in the Wrong Kind of Doo-Doo in Dubai
Victim: Keith Brown
UK youth worker Brown was traveling to London from Ethiopia with his wife when he was held by customs officers while connecting in Dubai. He was found to have cannabis on his person, was arrested on drug possession charges, and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was found to have 0.003 grams of cannabis stuck to the bottom of his shoe. This is about the size of a grain of sugar, not nearly enough to have any noticeable effect.
Fortunately for Keith, he was pardoned and released early on in his sentence. The United Arab Emirates is not the place to get caught with contraband of any kind. This Swiss traveler was jailed for having poppy seeds on his clothing left from a bread roll he ate during a layover at Heathrow in the UK!
2. Indian Water Torture
Victim: Margot Weiss
Ms. Weiss was four weeks into a six week tour of India when a tragedy of epidemic proportions befell her. She had been very careful to avoid drinking the notoriously-polluted tap water while in the country. Margot always bought bottled water, using it to drink and also to brush her teeth with at night.
After a seemingly innocent purchase of “spring water” from a street food vendor, the woman was soon to realize that the water was anything but. She spent the next several days fighting off a dysentery attack of epic proportions while crammed in an uber-cheap hostel where toiletries weren’t provided. She soon found herself stuck in bed, hopped up on codeine, sick from antibiotics, and making minute-to-minute trips to the bathroom as her body tried to extricate the illness from her body.
3. Bungeeing in Victoria Falls Turns Into Crocodile-Themed Nightmare
Victim: Erin Langworthy
This one scares the literal buh-gee-buses out of me! Comment if you agree.
The young Australian woman was bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls’ Bridge while visiting Zambia in 2012 when the cord snapped and she plunged 364 ft into the crocodile-infested Zambesi River below. She was swept down the swollen river, her feet still bound together by 30 ft of rope, and spent 40 minutes in the water, until she finally managed to grab onto some rocks and an employee of the bungee company pulled her onto the river bank.
Erin was taken to Victoria Falls Clinic in Zimbabwe, but didn’t reach the clinic until five and a half hours after her jump. Her lungs were partially collapsed and her body was covered in bruises, Langworthy didn’t suffer any serious injuries and returned home two weeks later. She was jumper number 106 of the day.
How in all that’s holy did she even survive such a fall in the first place?
4. Everything but the Toothbrush
Victims: Preferred to Remain Unnamed
There are really few stories more disturbing than this one when it comes to travel nightmares. Especially when the truth creeps up on you after the fact:
A couple from California were on vacation in Jamaica when their room was broken into. Everything was stolen with the exception of their cameras and their toothbrushes. Having been robbed of everything, the couple thought they were lucky to at least have their cameras containing the pictures from their island vacation.
The couple eventually had the film developed from the cameras but a few were difficult to identify. They were dark and fuzzy and looked like a pole stuck between two mounds of dirt. They later realized that it was a photograph of their toothbrushes stuck up someone’s rear end.
5. Tragic Case of Traveler Not Getting What They Paid for
Victim: Cheznye Emmons
The first four stories have a real comical element to them (except the terrifying #3), but I wanted to leave you with a travel nightmare that didn’t end too well. Because they don’t always. Of course, I could rehash the horrors dealt out by Aussie Ivan Milat, to whom which the Wolf Creek movies were (apparently) closely based upon. But I wanted to leave you with a story that’ll get you thinking before you go partying all willy-nilly on your next overseas vacation:
Cheznye, a UK therapist, was on vacation in Indonesia with her boyfriend and a group of friends when she became so ill that she had to be rushed out of the jungle and to a hospital. The couple and their friends had been drinking from a few bottles of gin they had bought earlier, when Emmons started to show signs of serious illness and couldn’t see. At the hospital, she was placed into a medically-induced coma after it was discovered that she had ingested methanol.
Unfortunately, she never recovered. Her parents were tragically forced to pull her off life support when it was clear to doctors that she was brain dead and would never recover. An investigation showed the bottles were actually home-brewed methanol. Much cheaper than gin, but which can cause seizures, blindness, kidney failure and in some cases, death. This sort of bait-and-switch is apparently very common in Indonesia, as the profits are great and it’s hard for Indonesian authorities to pinpoint the criminals responsible.
Main Image Credit: pjah73/Flickr