Do you have any memorable travelling experiences to share? By that I mean not after you reached your destination but while in transit.

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    Feb 04, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    I'm pretty sure mine will pale in comparison to most others, but its the most memorable travelling experience I've had so far.

    Last April I had to leave my friends in Rome and fly to Paris to meet my ex-boyfriend (he wasn't my 'ex' then). The cheapest carrier that I could find was Easyjet, which flies from Ciampino to Orly. Two weeks back I'd travelled abroad for the first time and now it would be my first flight all alone. I was a little apprehensive, but thought what could go wrong?icon_cool.gif

    The train attendant at Roma Termini was very helpful and assured me I'd bought the right ticket. I can rattle off Italian arias by the dozen(Amo Cecilia Bartoli) but can't converse in Italian to save my soul.
    However she seemed to understand my sweeping hand movements and my arched eyebrows and told me I'll reach Ciampino in 11 mins. So I happily got into the train. The journey was quite uneventful, except that 11 minutes later I watched in horrified fascination as the train sped past the Ciampino railway station and only halted a good half an hour later at some obscure suburb. I had no idea what to do. I lugged my suitcase to the next platform and caught the next train back without a valid ticket. There was no ticket counter that I could see and I knew I had a one way ticket.

    Now were I in a different mood, I would have been content ogling this hot backpacker. I was still ogling of course, just not as much as I normally would (and yes, my ex boyfriend did not mind). Wonder of wonders, this train halted at Ciampino. I got of at once and ran to the bus stop, only to see that the next bus (there was a free bus service from the railway station to the airport) would arrive 15 mins after my flight was scheduled to commence. I think the flight was scheduled for 2035hrs and it was already around 2010hrs.I guess some of you, if in my place would've thought,I'll just catch another flight, but you see a few Euros is a lot of Indian rupees. I was brain dead by now. My cellphone had enough credit to last me just one call, so I was saving it till the last minute. What do I do?

    "You goin to the airport?" said a voice behind me. It was the same hunk. "Yes" I exhaled. Someone I could finally communicate to. He was American. Or maybe Canadian (hope no one's offended, but I really cannot deduce nationalities by accents)
    He offered to split a cab. I accepted. While he spent precious minutes haggling over the fare, I prayed for a miracle (born and raised a Catholic, in times of stress I've been reciting the Memorare nine times ever since I heard Mother Theresa used to do it. I know, sounds crazy, but it always calms me).

    To cut a very long story short, I reached the airport about 5 mins before take off. No queue at check-in counter. Well Duh! The lady's smile vanishes when I say "Heh heh. Hope I'm not too late". Her jaw drops when I give her my flight no (I love how expressive Italians are... or maybe she was Frenchicon_confused.gif)

    She spoke to someone over the internal phone network. In hindsight, I think she was suppressing a smile as she quickly checked in my baggage and urgently said: "Please hurry to Gate no xyz" I ran as fast as I could, only to came panting to a screen that cheerfully informed me that my flight was delayed by an hour. I made that last call to my ex, informing him about the delay.

    After more than an hour, we finally began boarding the flight. An elderly gentleman glanced at my boarding pass and tried to communicate: "Group? A? B? C?"
    Glancing at everyone's passes I saw they were classed from A to D. Mine had no such marking. That gentleman looked flabbergasted. Yes, flabbergasted. He began discussing this with the other passengers who all seemed to share his stupefied fascination. I was ready to cry now (yes, I'm a big wuss).

    The crew did not seem to care about the categories. After finding myself a seat I found it awkward that no one sat next to me. I was later told that nobody likes to occupy the seats I sat in because they are next to the emergency exiticon_eek.gif

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    Feb 04, 2008 9:53 PM GMT
    I reached Paris Orly between 2300 to 2330hrs to find that we were the last flight for the night and the airport was closing. One could stay only if one had an early flight to catch the next morning. I wouldn't care except that my ex was nowhere to be seen. I had no idea that airports even closed for the night.

    My ex finally showed up at half past midnight. Apparently even the metro cstopped services earlier than we expected and he had to split a cab with an english hunk!!! The english guy had to pick somebody up from the airport. I saw the hunk. My backpacker was hottericon_twisted.gif

    Since there was no public transport we had to catch a cab. The driver would not go below 35 Euros. He dropped us at Gare du Nord. Funny place. I would never have guessed we were in France. Anyway, now that my journey was over, I could laugh about it during breakfast.

    The end! Sorry for being such a drag icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 05, 2008 12:36 AM GMT
    Oh, I can think of dozens of adventures like that. One that springs to mind is the day that I was flying to Costa Rica, when I was 17. It turns out that was the day that Jimmy Carter sent the U.S. Marines on a mission to rescue the dictator Somoza from Nicaragua, just ahead of the revolution. Apparently, the marines were broadcasting a radio message that they would shoot down any plane that they saw, so our flight made an emergency landing in San Salvador. We stayed there for a day, until the airline was sure that full-scale war wasn't breaking out.

    I remember a wide-eyed taxi ride through the narrow streets festooned with anti-U.S. banners. It made quite an impression on a hick kid from the sticks. We spent the night at a nice hotel on the mountain overlooking the city. The walls had tiled life-sized photo-montages of the 1975 Miss Universe contestants. (I guess the pageant was held there.) It all seemed quite surreal. In the following years, I sometimes saw that hotel on the news, in the midst of machine-gun battles and fire-bombings.

    For the rest of the trip, every single person that I met angrily asked me "Why did you rescue that thug Somoza?"
    Umm... sorry, I'm sure that Jimmy meant to ask me first, but you know, cell phones haven't been invented yet...

    Oh... sorry was the story supposed to involve a hot guy? Can't seem to think of one off-hand.
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    Feb 05, 2008 1:05 AM GMT
    Well it is late and I should be in bed because I am leaving for India tomorrow. But your story tickled me and I wanted to tell one of mine.

    I used to come to Italy in the 80's often but I never travelled by train. Also, I did not speak Italian at the time.

    I was in Piacenza and needed to get to Pisa where I was to be staying with friends. My hosts in Piacenza took me to the train station and eventually loaded me onto a local train that trailed its way through the Appenine mountains.

    I was given the name of the place where I should get off the train but everything went wrong. The train was totally empty and stopped at every mud puddle. I lost track of stops and time.

    Suddenly like a beacon I saw an illuminated sign for the place I was supposed to get off (I think it was La Spezia but I cannot be certain).

    I jumped off the train with my luggage and as the train sped off I turned around (it was heavy twilight verging on total darkness) to see the totally empty platform and the sign that said La Spezia (minore).

    To my horror I realized I was in a commuter station that was closed. The whole place was surrounded by fence and concertina wire. The little station house was shut tight.

    Across the tracks was a commuter enclosure with glass folding doors that were open just a crack. I thought I could wait in there until morning or something came along.

    I entered the shelter only to hear loud snoring. The whole place was filled with sleeping hobos and Roma Gypsies.

    I had a lot of cash on my and new that if I made the slightest sound I would be dead. Basically I moonwalked backwards out of this place.

    By then I was in a total panic.

    I hid in some bushes next to the little station house. It was cold as hell.

    At some point a gate opened about a quarter mile away and a little truck pulled up to a switching hut. In my state of mind I thought, oh my god they are robbing that hut. Then I realized that they were obviously railway employees.

    I ran down the tracks leaving my luggage behind.

    When I got to the hut I started to try to explain my predicament, beginning with stupido Americano. These guys made me understand that they would radio to the next train to stop and that I should go back and wait.

    Maybe an hour past and this amazing object came rolling into the station. It was some one car art-deco strange wagon that looked for all the world like a ghost train. I thought of Large Marge from the Pee Wee Herman movie.

    The doors opened (more or less like a bus) and cigarette smoke billowed out of this contraption.

    I hurried on and as I turned the corner to head down the aisle realized I was on a military train filled with Italian sailors. Well, that was good.

    I was so nervous as I looked for a seat. I took the only open seat in an empty row.

    Sitting across from me was a very handsome young man (as I was myself only 20 at the time) dressed in a black turtleneck and reading Proust. He was the only other civilian on the train.

    He asked me in quite good English if I was American. I replied yes. He asked me where I was from (I was from Los Angeles) and I replied California. He looked pleased and asked me if I was from San Francisco.

    Somehow I understood that question as a proposition and I thought a second, then replied, well yes I am from San Francisco.

    He was very kind and got off the train with me at La Spezia. He wanted to know if I would like to get a hotel with him or go on to Pisa. I guess I was a prude or really dumb but I chose to go on thinking my friends would be worried.

    He took care to put me on the right train which was a night train to Reggio Calabria. This train made two stops Pisa and Rome. I boarded in a sleeping car (not realizing).

    Ten seconds past and I ran into the very irate steward. I tried to ask where I should go to sit and he just screamed at me in Italian. I turned to walk away.

    At that point I passed from the sleeping car into the atrium between this car and the next. Once I was on the connecting atrium this bastard locked the door behind me. The door to the next car was locked from the inside.

    Here I was stuck on the outside of the damned train with the prospect of riding that way all the way to the tip of Italy and for the entire night.

    I kept banging on the door until I was just literally desperate.

    Finally, just before midnight some Turkish man in pyjamas and a night hat (literally the kind of thing with a string and a ball on the end) came and opened the door.

    I hid in the bathroom until the train came to a stop in Pisa where I finally stumbled off.

    My friends had long since gone home but they came the second I called.

    They asked what had happened and I tried to explain. They told me this kind of stuff happens all the time. Not to me it doesn't.

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    Feb 05, 2008 1:39 AM GMT
    Two that leap to mind, neither pleasant mind you.

    In 1973 I was travelling with my parents to our cottage in New Brunswick. My mom lost her temper with my dad and threw hot coffee on his lap, we almost crashed! My mom had anger management issues at times icon_cry.gif

    In October 2006 my partner and I were flying from Amsterdam to Venice on the last leg of our trip to Italy. The plane from 35,000 feet had to make a quick descent into Frankfurt because the fuel system was broken and was draining fuel from just one wing. Needless to say a very dangerous situation. The pilots made a successful emergency landing but it was very stressful.icon_eek.gif
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    Feb 05, 2008 1:59 AM GMT
    LOL, late one night, flying to Texas, I was seated behind two extremely loud individuals who were a) Exacerbating my raging headache and b) Inciting homicidal fantasies.

    Suddenly, the starboard engine flamed out. (It sounded like someone was outside banging on the fuselage with a sledgehammer) BANG BANG BANG BANG. It was some fuel system problem, because when the pilot descended, the engine restarted, but each time he tried to return to cruising altitude, it flamed out again. Those planes can fly fine on one engine, so we just continued to our destination.

    At least it shut the loud-mouths up. In fact, there was dead silence on the plane, for the rest of the trip. I was greatly relieved! In fact, I've since fantasized a couple of times about asking a pilot to choke off an engine to create a little silence in the cabin.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Feb 05, 2008 2:00 AM GMT
    When I was 6, when my family was touring "Carlsbad Caverns", I was told that if I fell into one of the holes in the caverns I might fall forever. It scared the shit out of me...

    After the long (but good) previous posts... does this count? LOLicon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 05, 2008 4:36 AM GMT
    travelling from barcelona to paris by train. my friend and i realised, we were both too tall for the "reclining"(liberal use of the word reclining) chairs for our overnight 12 hour ride. so we went to the bar/sandwich car. there we met a guy from Guadelajara, who owns a flower shop, still have his card, and we chatted with him for a while about how we look very white canadian (though my friends parents are lebanese). and then these 2 girls doing year abroad in alicante joined us. one of them from alaska, and she was rooming witht he other girl who was from Columbia. and we all spent the night getting drunk in order to hopefully fall asleep in said uncomfortable chairs. which didnt work. cuz we sobered up and all got hangovers as the sun came up. it was an awesome time though. wish we'd kept in touch.
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    Feb 05, 2008 8:38 AM GMT
    Awww jms84, that was a sweet story. However so far, I think Terry's story takes the cake.
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    Feb 06, 2008 7:46 AM GMT
    That's it? Nobody else has any anecdotes? icon_eek.gif
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    Feb 06, 2008 7:48 AM GMT
    I was indecently assaulted by a guys finger on the dance floor at an after hours club in Vancouver B.C. once. Okay, it was more than once.
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    Feb 06, 2008 8:16 AM GMT
    lol. ...and did you retaliate RBY71?
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    Feb 06, 2008 8:34 AM GMT
    RBY71 saidI was indecently assaulted by a guys finger on the dance floor at an after hours club in Vancouver B.C. once. Okay, it was more than once.

    Guess you were flying? Afer that?
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    Feb 06, 2008 10:00 AM GMT
    A few months ago I was waiting to check in for a flight from Sydney to Auckland on LAN Chile (they stop in AKL for refueling on the way to Santiago and sell cheap tickets). The queue was long, and to top it off there was a big sports team of loud annoying girls in the queue... with two coaches. Two HOT coaches.

    Well, some furtive glances were exchanged but I thought to myself "hmm... macho sports coaches, this could go wrong and I AM in a Redneck country so best play it cool"... but I couldn't help but keep looking. Anyway, the sports team checked in and disappeared.

    Back at the gate/mall, I bump into them again... and one of the coaches looks at me again... and suddenly has a very itch crotch. Well I ain't stupid, so he follows me to the bathroom and whips out a massive piece. I didn't really want to do a Larry Craig, so we just did a bit of show and tell LOL. The bathroom got crowded so we left, and played it discreet outside (I'm sure he didn't want his whole girl-team knowing what he was up to).

    After boarding, I saw him and the other coach coming up the aisle... the other one giving me a knowing smile and I knew they both must be fooling around. He came over and spoke to me, but he didn't speak English or French and I hardly spoke Spanish... I managed to swap emails, find out they were from Buenos Aires and that he was a world iceskating champ (explains the girls!).

    Unfortunately he was flying on to Santiago and only had a couple of hours transit in AKL. I thought we might be able to fool around there, but they recent changed the layout and we were soon split up. Still, I have his email if I'm ever in BA... LOL ;)