Two amusing, yet sad, travel stories.

Fun in Italy
Told to me by my mom, about a friend of a friend.

So this guy’s travelling in Italy by himself. He comes across a gorgeous beach. He’s dying to go swimming. However, he’s heard that Italy is full of thieves waiting to steal your stuff. He checks out his wallet: 35 euros and his credit card. Passport, et al. are safely in his hotel room.

He decides that this beach is so beautiful that even if he loses 35 euros, it might still be worth it. But just in case, he takes his credit card out of his wallet and puts it in the pocket of his swim trunks. He leaves the wallet and his clothes on the beach and proceeds to have a fantastic and refreshing swim in the ocean. Finally he’s had his fill and heads for shore. At that moment he spies his credit card 20 feet away just sinking under the waves. Doh! He shakes his fist at the gods.

Oh well. He gets back to shore and goes to retrieve his clothes and his wallet…. only to find that they are not there. STOLEN. He curses at the gods in several languages. So, credit card lost and wallet and clothes purloined, he trudges back to his hotel in his wet trunks. Luckily in Europe you don’t often take your hotel keys with you, so he gets his key from the front desk and goes up to his room.

He enters his room and finds that it has been TOTALLY RANSACKED. Someone has coincidentally decided to burglar his room and divorce him of everything valuable therein. His remaining money. His laptop. His passport. He realizes that he has run out of all ammo against the gods and admits defeat.

So, armed with no money, no credit card, no proof of identity, he goes to the US Embassy, where he is denied entrance since he cannot show he is a U.S. citizen. He ends up having a friend back home fax in a copy of his birth certificate.

Moral of the story: Don’t ever be as unlucky as this guy.

Fun in Indonesia
(But more harmless fun.)
As occured to my brother’s old roommate when he was travelling through Indonesia with three friends.

One night they retire to a hotel at which they have already made reservations.

The clerk takes the four of them up to a room… with two tiny beds. “We thought we had reserved a room for four people,” they protest. “This is your room,” the clerk says, and that’s that, although they are sure there is some kind of miscommunication and resulting error.

But what can they do? So they squeeze onto the beds and fitfully try to fall asleep. After an hour they hear a knock on the door. “Ah, relief!” they think. “The clerk has come to remedy the error.”

Sure enough, it’s the clerk. “Sorry, we have made a mistake,” he says. “Relief indeed,” the four think. The clerk continues, “Our fault. This is a room for EIGHT people. I will show you your proper room.” At this point they notice the small crowd of people waiting to enter the room, with little idea of what lay ahead.

Flabbergasted, the four companions follow the clerk to their new room — “Four people,” says the clerk smugly as he walks away — to find that it has only ONE bed!

They end up sleeping sideways on the bed, with one on the floor.

Moral of the story: When in Indonesia, do as the Indonesians do, but make hotel reservations for 4x as many people as are actually in your party.

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3 Responses to Two amusing, yet sad, travel stories.

  1. Anonymous says:

    i think it was the same thief (who stole the stuff on the beach)that made the move on the hotel room because he knew that the guy was in the water and swimming and couldn’t possibly be in his room. tourist man had left his hotel key in his shoe and so it was a perfect situation for the robber, especially since the hotel was sitting on the beach. p.s. tourist man had to do all of this (including US embassy) in a bathing suit.

    -maya
    (aj’s little sister who probably heard a varied version of the story from our mom)

    • aj says:

      Hrm… How do you know this? How would the robber know the room number? (since it wouldn’t say on the key?) Also in Europe mostly they don’t let you take your key with you…

  2. Anonymous says:

    urban legend

    These have classic hallmarks of urban legend – true or not they reinforce stereo types.

    The USA is among the most dangerous countries in the world, with very many strange customs. But these make other countries look differnt in a bad way.