Sometimes, travel plans just don't...well, go to plan...
Hubby and I returned on Saturday from a week long holiday on the Gold Coast (Queensland for all you non-Aussies) with the kids. We drove there and back (some 12 hours on the road - each way - which includes stops). You would think I'd have some tales to tell about that, but to be honest, it all went pretty smoothly. (Life is full of surprises.) In fact, the thing that stood out the most about the drive up there was when we saw a RTA (Road & Traffic Authority) electronic board on the side of the road: the kind of one that usually says something like, Roadworks Ahead or Drive Slowly, Wet Conditions. Instead, the sign we saw flashed YOU EAT POO. As my friend, Jen noted - you could be forgiven for thinking the 3yr old had hacked in to the RTA system.
In fact, our family holiday to the Gold Coast was not even the slightest bit eventful (if you don't count me screaming my way down the Vikings Revenge Flume Ride at Sea World, that is).
However, back in 1997 (pre-children), Hubby and I took a trip to France and Ireland for four weeks. It, ah, started well, but quickly went down hill from there. Let me explain.
We'd purchased the most discounted airline tickets from Qantas we could possibly find. (We may have been able to travel cheaper on another airline, but my fear of flying meant that I only wanted to fly with Qantas because of its perfect safety record. Just like in Rainman.) Hubby's cousin had a few contacts at Qantas at the time, and he somehow managed to get us upgraded to business class - right the way through to London (from Sydney). Score.
Seeing that even the check-in lady seemed shocked at our upgrade (she checked, re-checked then rang her supervisor before reluctantly issuing our boarding passes), right up until the plane took off I was convinced we'd get a tap on the shoulder from a Qantas staff member advising us that there had been some HUGE mistake with our tickets, and it was back to cattle class for us.
Fortunately, that didn't happen. However, being a mostly 'glass half-empty' kinda gal at times, I figured that there would be some kind of trade-off, and I was right. Firstly, the couple who sat behind us had, from memory, three children that constantly moved up and down from their seats, and would use our seats to pull themselves up. I don't sleep on planes as a rule anyway, but I did manage to doze off a couple of times, both times woken by the jerky movements of my chair thanks to the couple's offspring. (The experience has made me the Travel Nazi with my own children - they are told quickly if they do the same thing or kick the chair in front of them. Been there, done that, you see.)
However, as it turns out, the flight was nothing compared to what was about to happen.
After arriving at Heathrow, we took our connecting flight to Paris, only to arrive to find that our bags had not accompanied us. We watched in vein as all the luggage gradually disappeared one-by-one off the baggage carousel, and ours failed to appear. Filling in of various forms ensued, and we were assured our bags would be couriered to our hotel that evening.
It was our first day in Paris, and even though we were still dressed in the same clothes we'd been wearing for well over 24 hours by that stage, we decided to go out and see some of the sights anyway. Why let a little thing like lack of clean clothes hold us back?
Eventually, we found ourselves on a Metro train; right in the middle of peak hour. As we crammed in to the carriage like sardines, with Hubby and I facing each other, the train left the station and it was then I suddenly felt something hard sticking in to my buttock. I tried to move closer to Hubby, but the object wasn't going anywhere, and just moved with me; it seemed to push harder and harder in to my buttock.
I whispered to Hubby what was happening, and he attempted to look behind me, but it was so cramped in the carriage, he could barely move and couldn't see past my head. Neither could I. I couldn't even turn halfway around, so crammed in to the carriage were we.
As the train pulled up at the next stop, passengers moved away quickly, and soon the carriage was empty, and my buttock was relieved of the hard 'object'. With the air now flowing freely around my body, I suddenly noticed that the thin leggings I was wearing at the time felt wet, right where the object had been pushing in to my buttock.
Confused, I put my hand down to feel the wet patch, and it was then I realised it was a sticky substance. I knew, even before I looked down at my hand to confirm my suspicions, what it was on my buttock and sure enough, there was...well...semen on my hand.
I panicked, and without thinking twice, I promptly used Hubby's jacket sleeve to wipe it away. Not surprisingly, Hubby wasn't impressed, but he was also concerned about what had happened, and we promptly made our way back to the hotel.
There, I stripped, showered, and waited under the sheets of our hotel room bed until our missing bags finally arrived late that evening, vowing never to get on a packed Metro train again (and I never did).
Yes. Give me a scary ride at Sea World any day, thank you very much.
What's the worst thing to happen to you on a trip? Go on...make me feel better about my experience. ;)
*If some of you find this story familiar, it's because I posted a comment on the now closed blog, Get Real summarising the same story.