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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I was in greece in 2003 when the Iraq war started.

    I and some of the people I was traveling with had rocks thrown at us because we were Americans.
    Holy shit.

    --

    The oddest I've had involved Taiwan, Tokyo, and Hawaii in the same trip. We managed to live through a major typhoon (one that made national news), a minor earthquake, and a hurricane in the span of a few days. Fun times.

  2. #12
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    or the time that my sis and I got pulled over in Wisconsin because she was speeding and I had to pay her ticket on the spot to prevent them from finding her stash in MY car and arresting both of us
    They target motorists from other states - especially Illinois. After receiving a couple of tickets there, I found out this is common knowledge by people who live there. There is a term they use - FIBs. It means F#*king Illinois Bastards. Apparently we drive faster or more aggressively on average than they prefer.

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  3. #13
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Most unusual is probably my trips to Bogata Columbia. I was there 4 or 5 times for a project at work. There were a few things that I thought were interesting. First, it is a very beautiful city. I found the people I worked with to be wonderfully nice. When I was working in the office, there were a couple of unique perks. First, there was a woman who came in during the day. She served us coffee and cookies on china plates a couple of times a day and then she washed the dishes. There was also a guy who would come in and shine your shoes. So you would be sitting at your desk working and this guy is shining your shoes. I remember working late at night and this partner was lying down on the floor of his office with his legs up against the top of his desk. He said it was for his back. Then there were the taxis. When you shut a car door, you need to do it very gently or the taxi driver can apparently get upset with you. After slamming the door, the woman I was with said if I valued my life, I would do it more gently. Most of the taxi drivers carry machetes in their car for protection. You can't really walk on the street at night. It's too dangerous and there are people who really don't like Americans. Then there was the trip to the salt mines. There are these old salt mines out in the country that have all kinds of religious statues and carvings in the salt walls. There was a little cathedral in there of sorts as well. You have to drive to the country to get there. At the time, there were groups like the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo) which is a Colombian Marxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization. It is funded by kidnap, ransom, distribution of illegal drugs and things like that. You didn't have to worry about them in the city but they kind of owned the countryside. I was told by my colleagues that if we were stopped, I shouldn't say anything and to let them do the talking. Then there are all those the guys carrying oozies at the airport. I bought a couple of emerald jewelry things and also a gold plated keychain with a little tiki man that had a ring through his nose. I used that keychain for many years.

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  4. #14
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    Not sure what you would call unusual but I normally appreciate the weird travel acquaintances one can make.

    For example, I once met a French guy on a train in Belgium who told me about how he was raised by Jesuit monks, made a career in business and then gave it all up to become a skipper for wealthy tourists sailing the Mediterranean.

    There was the kind Pakistani gentleman I met in Italy and who gave me his son's adress in London in case I should ever be there and need help.

    Or the old Greek couple in a very shabby old train on the Peleponnes offering me their hospitality if I ever came through their village.

    Or the Spanish guy I met in Kopenhagen who had the same problem I had (wanting to go to Norway without a passport) - we spent most of our weekend stay there reasearching the issue, calling the Norwegian police and visiting the Spanish embassy together.

    And somewhere in Sweden - I think it was in Östersund - an old lady saw me waiting for the next train to Lapland late at night and told me to better weait at her place because the train station "wasn't save" as night. She lived right around the corner and I actually spent a few hours at her place. She offered me tea and even read my future from the cards (not that I believe in this stuff), warned me of the dangerous, evil and criminal Sami people that lived in the North and asked me to please send her a postcard if I had savely returned from my trip. She also gave me the adress of her daughter who was a stewardess with an airline. I did send her the promised postcard and she sent me one back that I still have to this day.

    When I was travelling through Spain the list of hostels I had was not exactly up to date and I hadn't booked in advance. So when I arrived in Burgos, what was supposed to be a public youth hostel turned out to be a little hut in a forest in the park that received pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela - and only pilgrims! But when I came to Toledo - almost dying under the hot sun, the weight of my backback and the fact that the city has more stairs than streets and is almost completely vertical from how I remember it - the "hostel" I wanted to stay at turned out to be a monastery! The nuns did not receive visitors but were very friendly. They offered me some water and allowed me to leave my luggage there during the day. The monastery itself was also very old and very traditional - a sight in its own right.

    Then there was the warmhearted and extroverted Andalusian gentleman I met in Italy who told me about the beauties of his home town of Cadiz (he kept talking about the beautiful light "la lu de Cadi!" i.e. la luz de Cadiz) and about the pan-mediterranean brotherhood (in the sense of cultural similarities). To me, he told me, an Italian is like a brother.

    There was this guy in Florence, Italy who followed me through town for 15-20 minutes, talking without interruption, trying to guess my name and wanting to know who I was, etc. And in Salamanca, Spain I once had a senior citizen "accidentally" run into me and grab my ass - I swear! And a group of ten year olf boys followed me for several streets, cat calling me until they finally grabbed my ass and quickly ran away giggling.

    Oh, and when I spent a night in a castle in Scotland (the king of Norway lived there during his exile but it is now a hostel) there was a group of handicapped seniors sharing the room with me. They were snorring so badly that I got up in the middle of the night, grabbed my cushion and my blanket and lay down on one of the historic sofas in the huge hallway. Then the director of the hostel found me, asked what was going on and kindly offered me to sleep on one of the old leather sofas in the castle's empty old library. It was a very big room with several large leather sofas and empty bookshelves and big tall windows with a view over the surounding landscape of the Scottish highlands - the best night of that trip! The director also told me that his castle was haunted!
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  5. #15
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Oh, and my backback got stolen at the train station in Milan, Italy. I told the carabinieri and described the backback in detail but did not expect to ever see it again. As I was waiting for the train back home half an hour later they suddenly called for me on the public speakers. As it turns out, they had found the thief who had still been walkig around the train station with my backback on, listening to music on my walkman!!! They even showed me the guy through the window - a young Pakistani men who looked so miserable I almost felt sorry for him. There were one of two inexpensive objects missing, but everything else was still there. They made me fill out bits of paperwork, but I never heard of them again.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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