I'm planning right now for an autumn trip to Europe (Paris, where I've never been except the airport, and Zagreb, where I lived for 5 months). I'm also putting the finishing touches on a novel in which the protagonist, Jeff, makes a somewhat reluctant journey to Venice. Unlike Jeff, I love to travel. But like him, I tend to plan pretty thoroughly, and I worry about things going wrong (things do go wrong for Jeff, of course). On the other hand, I'm much more relaxed about mishaps than I used to be, because I've come to realize that sometimes they make for the best memories and the funniest stories--afterwards. At the time, they can be problematic!
My favorite travel mishap was 10 years ago, when I went to Budapest and Prague. When I arrived in Budapest it was very, very hot and although the hotel was lovely, it did not have AC. My attempts to use sign language with the maid to obtain a fan only resulted in the delivery of a hair dryer. Then they sent an English-speaking guy who was very apolgetic--they were out of fans. But he brought me a can of Coke and a big bucket of ice instead--no charge--and was very sweet when all I had to tip him with was a US dollar. I went to the market for dinner that night and due to my inability to properly convert kilos to pounds, ended up with way more raspberries than I'd intended. When I woke up feeling ill the next morning I blamed it on the fruit. But the illness stuck around for several days. In a square in Karlovy Vary, a fellow traveler asked me how I was feeling. "Okay," I answered. "It comes and goes. A lot like morning sick....." Ah. It was at that very moment that I realized the existence of my second child.
What's your favorite travel disaster story?