I was watching Banged Up Abroad last night with Daughter and The Turk. Definitely showing my old age I shook my head and tut-tutted in various points throughout the show as ridiculous stories were told by hapless tourists or morons trying to make a quick buck. I mean we had all been there (or maybe not) but if we were all honest with ourselves we’ve done things that, perhaps on reflection, may not have been the most sensible thing to do while travelling. You know you’ve done it too, maybe ending up on the wrong side of the law, ending up with a hellish hangover or, in my case, ending up pregnant to a Turkish fisherman.
After it had finished I turned to The Turk and piped up, “You know I bungy jumped while on holidays in Zimbabwe. Did you know that?” His reply was, as usual, full of wise rhetoric, “that must have been one big-ass elastic band” while Daughter rolled her eyes and replied with a snarky, “You’ve never done anything remotely dangerous – or interesting – in your entire life! You are boring!” Challenge accepted!!
And so in no particular order I give you “Banged Up Abroad – Janey Edition”:
Canoeing through a herd of hippos in Botswana. Did you know that hippopotamus are responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other large animal? No I didn’t know either. I do now.
Smoking some weird shit in Nepal. My entire trip through India and Nepal was full of crazy but this incident definitely came in at no. 1. On our first day in Kathmandu my friend and I hopped a rickshaw that was kismet-ly waiting right outside our hostel. The rickshaw driver was very friendly and before we knew it we were sitting on a hilltop being blown away by the beauty of the Himalayan Mountains before us (with a little glimpse of Mt Everest through the clouds). Our driver then pulled out a rollie and offered us the first toke. Twenty minutes later we woke, totally dishevelled, robbed of our belongings and abandoned on that hilltop. Luckily neither of us had anything of value on us (as we had dumped everything at the hotel) and thankfully we were not assaulted but it was a valuable lesson learned. Don’t smoke strange shit handed to you by randoms in Nepal folks!
How about paying off a border patrol with two packets of my precious B&H Extra Mild and a bottle of whiskey trying to enter Zambia? I was not happy about the loss of my cigarettes let me tell you but it was better than being left behind at the border!
And speaking of border problems we ‘misplaced’ a friend in Israel while trying to cross from a Palestinian checkpoint. Six hours later he was delivered back to our hotel in Jerusalem a little shaky but happy to re-live his story for us over and over again (and still to this day he will tell the story … over and over again).
Jet skiing through a cyclone in Cancun. In our defence none of us knew it was actually a cyclone. Maybe it wasnt a cyclone, maybe it was a tropical storm. I mean sure there was wind, there was black clouds and there was a really big swell but, honestly, I’ve seen worse at Manly beach during a summer storm. I did question about whether we should start making our way back but no one else seemed perturbed by the strength of the wind or the very black skies. By the time we got back to shore and saw the damage that had been done we realised the danger. At least I realised the danger.
The gift that keeps on giving. Whilst camping on the banks of Lake Malawi and ignoring the clear advice given to me by my Doctor back home in Australia, I and the rest of our group swam in the beautiful clear waters of the Lake at Cape Maclear. Three months later I was diagnosed with Schistosomiasis or Bilharzia. Google it people and a word of advice – don’t swim in Lake Malawi!
I have also been mugged in NY city, slept under the stars in Jordan (and was unceremoniously dumped in the desert by our tour guide the next morning), hitched a ride with some very dodgy dudes that were packing heat in Egypt (although I suspect everyone packs heat in Egypt) and was nearly sold off to a village chief in Tanzania. Oh, and finally, getting pregnant to a Turkish fisherman. Have I mentioned that one already?
We all love a little adventure, after all it makes a great story when we get home, but none of us want to find ourselves in Bangkok Hilton or perhaps worse dead on the side of the road (or death by firing squad). Safety first folks! I glanced at Daughter and wondered what type of crap she would get up to while travelling the world. She is already talking about her “Gap Year” and the places that she wants to go with her friends. Brazil, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Kenya. Good God! I can already see a “Banged Up Abroad – Daughter Edition” in my future! Nope, I am locking her in her room.
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