Have you ever ended up in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation whilst traveling in other countries or places?
I did a road trip across the US, which lasted 3 months, some years back. I was traveling with my then boyfriend.
One night, (I think this was in Louisiana), we had an argument and I decided to pack my one bag and leave. So that is exactly what I did, I packed my few belonging, picked up my bag and left the car. Big mistake!
It was night time and I had no idea where I was, I just knew it some city and once I started walking around I realized it was definitely the bad side of town! So not knowing where to go or exactly what I was going to do, I stood on the sidewalk in front of a big building.
Then the cars started circling, going around and then back again, strange men looking at me in the most peculiar way. Oh no, I thought, this is not good. All the warning signs suddenly started flashing in my head.
Thankfully, my boyfriend came around and picked me up, before anything could happen. What a relief.
I'd like to hear any stories of your travels and the tricky situations you may have found yourself in. What happened and how did you handle it?
I was mugged at multiple knifepoint by 6 gentlemen in Johannesburg and divested of my principal possessions.
I was nearly taken hostage by a Bedouin tribe in Jordan.
Things were stolen in Saigon, Malang and Los Angeles.
But it was in lovely Paris that I was attacked and robbed and had my face smashed in a bloodbath of broken facial bones, right in front of my building in a safe area. I spent about 10 days in the hospital and a total of 20 days away from work. I was supposed to leave for Colombo the next day, but it does not really count as a travel event.
It is an easy date for me to remember, because I fell the same night that the Berlin wall fell.
That's really bad luck Kerouac. Of all the dangerous places I've ventured in to, I've never been attacked once. Perhaps men are more of a target in some ways? I dunno. And I've put myself in various dangerous situations ever since I was 9 years old. I must have the luck of the devil I reckon.
Did they ever catch the person who attacked you? You did report it to the police didn't you?
I once had a knife held to my throat at the railway station in Orense, Spain. It made me so mad that I hit the guy over the head with a spade after he let me be. Then he started screaming and ran off. Then I called the police and they stuck around until morning. I didn't feel happy for a week though. I felt violated.
Two of my most chilling moments were in Spain, years ago when I spent the year in Europe.
Six of us were travelling together and had arrived in Barcelonea. We had a beautiful evening and decided to go down to the beach area to sleep overnight. I was kicked awake (in my side) and found myself staring at a locked and loaded machine gun (?) a foot from my face, held by a mean Spanish guardia, the local state police. The torrent of violent spanish suggested we get out, immediately. We did.
A few weeks later, I had left the group and while travelling on my own had met a middle aged couple who invited me to stay with them in the tiny town of El Saler. However, within a few days it became clear one night that certain questionable things were expected from me. Being young, proud and stupid, I grabbed my knapsack and walked out into the night ....about 2AM. There was no hotel. One light was on, I called up and the shutters were slammed shut. Earlier that day I had noticed a couple of vans with north american kids down by the beach. I had to walk about a kilometre down a road, then cut through the bush another kilometre to find them. It was a moonless, black, black night and the longest walk of my life. Only recently there had been reports of american tourists being shot by the guardia if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Finally, I found a van and this wonderful guy offered me a place to sleep in his van.
Just two or three weeks ago I was driving home and slowed down for a traffic light. There was just one car in front of me and he was slow. So slow in fact, that we missed two greens! So when it turned green a third time I used my horn a couple of times. At that point the car stopped completely and the driver got out, opened his jacket and showed me his revolver. The small problem was that when I saw his door open, I'd opened my window and started swearing at him at the top of my voice. It was half out before I realised what I was looking at I was silent immediately. Then something else happened. By the time the driver was back in his car a line had formed behind me and yes, you guessed it, now they started horning! I nearly started praying.
First trip to Paris. We were in one of the metros, don't remember which one. Kirk had walked away from me and was looking at one of the maps, when I noticed that he was being circled by two young men. He had noticed it too and I just walked up to him and said let's go. We did and we were ok, but I think they were going to try to rob us.
When you're chewing on life's gristle[br]Don't grumble, give a whistle[br]And this'll help things turn out for the best...[br]And...always look on the bright side of life...[br]Always look on the light side of life.[br]Monty Python's Life of Brian[br]
Kyrgyzstan is a nice little country that I recommend to visit but its police is not renowned for its integrity. The authorities are so aware of this problem that the tourists can, on demand, be issued an official copy of their passport, a document which has the same validity as the original one – this to keep the policemen from taking your passport ''for control'' and ask for a bribe to give it back. I don't know where you can obtain this document. I hope it's not in a police station. Anyway I should have looked into it, this would have spared me an unpleasant moment. This was on my last (or latest) trip in Central Asia in 2006. It was my last day in Bishkek, the capital, I was leaving the next morning for Tashkent, Uzbekistan from where I was flying back to France. It was 9 o'clock, a Sunday morning, I was going to a travel agency to buy a flight to Tashkent. The flight was already fully booked the day before but the employee of the travel agency had told me to come back the next day, in case there was a cancellation. I was passing by the most photographed building in Bishkek, a sort of obelisk of concrete which is supposed to represent the Kyrgyz nation. The monument in itself has no interest but the real attraction is its two guards, perfectly immobile. OK, you can find that elsewhere but that's about the only place of interest in the city, so since I was passing by and it was my last day here, I pull out my camera to took a few shots.I hadn't noticed that someone was looking at me – a policeman. He waved at me, a finger pointing to the monument and to my camera, a no sign with his head. OK, it was forbidden to take photos. It was not actually, every tourist does it, but it was Sunday morning, there was nobody else in the street and I'm not used to arguing with corrupt policemen. So, I showed him that it was a digital camera and I deleted every picture of the monument. I hoped that he would be satisfied with that. He didn't care.
He asked me for my passport. I was about to tell him that I had left it in my hotel room, but I was afraid he would take me to the police station, and search me, so very reluctantly, I gave it. He made me follow him to a little booth not far from there but conveniently hidden from the street by some trees . Another man, in plain clothes, was standing with a big keyring. As he waited for his mate to open the door, the policeman asked me a series of question: what I was doing in Kyrgyzstan, in which hotel I was staying, where I was going at the moment; he asked if I carried a gun, if I had drugs on me, he pointed out the date of expiration of my visa – it was still valid for three days and I was leaving the next day so what? While I was answering his stupid questions I was looking at the other guy wondering what they had in store for me. They obviously were after my money – I had several hundreds of euros on me – I was not keen to leave them behind.
The other guy was still busy with his keys. He was trying one after another - there were at least a dozen of them – no luck! he apparently had taken the wrong keyring. Now his mate the policeman was a little bit embarrassed. He had run out of questions. He didn't know what to do with me. Finally he handed my passport and waved me away.
I was quite proud not to have given up but I'm not sure if I would have been so brave if they had locked me in the booth for a few hours.