Embarrassing moments while on the road! What’s yours?

A recent interview with Jeff Jung from Career Break Secrets got me thinking about all the embarrassing moments I’ve had while traveling, and all the funny stories people have recounted to me; it’s amazing some of the situations travelers get themselves in to. I’ve started off the discussion by confessing my most embarrassing moment:

On as bus journey in Argentina and I had bad stomach and needed to use the on-board bathroom. The only problem was the toilet on this bus was only for urine and not No2’s and it clearly stated this on the door. Of course there was no way I could control it and ended up spending too long in the bathroom, the driver then realized I might be breaking the rule. So he stopped the bus and started banging on the door until I came out red faced.  He then proceeded to tell me off and say, “the toilet was only for urine and that other people had to use it. If I needed No2’s I should have told him to pull over.” All I could reply in my very bad Spanish was “Yo no tenía tiempo.” I didn’t have time!”

Now it’s your turn describe your most embarrassing or funny moment while traveling, add it to the comments section below the post.

Come on be brave!

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13 thoughts on “Embarrassing moments while on the road! What’s yours?”

  1. In Kenya, we stopped at the side of the road for a bathroom break and I got stage fright. The bus and everyone on it waited, watching me as I tried to force myself to think about anything other than hundreds of eyes on me while I did my business. Then I got stuck in the bushes on the way out.

  2. I was in Turkey in 2001 and after riding the night bus across the desert for about 6hrs we (finally) pulled in to a rest stop at around 5am, being the quintessential ‘cheap-assed backpacker’ I realised I could save 5p by sneaking into the toilets while the attendant was chatting with someone else. Score! Though after I was done I realised there was no toilet paper anywhere!!! ..so I frantically checked my travel wallet for any paper-esque substance to use and realised I had:

    a) My 2 passports
    b) 4x £50 traveller’s cheques
    c) 5x US $20 bills
    d) 3x 10 Million Lira Notes (about £5 each back then) and
    e) My return plane tickets…

    …damn. I went through it all about 50 times though as the panic steeped a little I realised that tucked inside one of my passports were a few Italian 1000 Lira notes (about 30p each) which my mate Sammy had given me before leaving the UK! Rockstar!!! So using them in a way which I am sure would have me banned from Italy for life, I walked out of the toilets and was noticed by the attendant who stared at me in that ‘where the hell did you come from’ kind of way. At which point I kinda panicked and hastily paid him the 5p (which I should have given him in the before going in) and he quizzically took it, then reached under his counter and gave me a wad of toilet paper… aaaaah, so THAT’s how it works! Feeling like an idiot I returned to my bus, which I noticed had left…

    Though as I stared out at the rolling 5am Turkish desert holding a wad of toilet paper and wondering what to do next, the attendant ran up and pointed out that the bus had moved to get petrol in the neighbouring service station behind us and was now waiting for the last passenger… Panic averted, though I had to explain why I was late and THAT was some sweet embarrassment.

  3. I kept using the world “duro” in Italian to mean “tough” – it actually means “hard”, but it worked fine when referring to say, a hike. So, when teasing a friend, I described him as a “tough guy” – so I said he was “duro.”

    I actually ended up saying he was “hard”. A.K.A., “erect”. Sigh.

  4. When my Spanish was not very good, I asked my Chilean partner, in front of a group of people who lived in the same house, if he had seen my comb (peine). Instead of asking him if he had seen my comb, I was inadvertently asking him if he had seen my penis because I couldn’t find it(pene). The whole house was roaring with laughter.

  5. @ Jill — this is really funny.

    Mine — Having my 1 year old scream “BOOBIE BOOBIE BOOBIE” all the way to Hawaii.

  6. @ Hoorsfeldt: Brilliant, just brilliant!!! 🙂

    My personal embarrassing story took place when I was in Costa Rica and wanted to book myself some tickets for the ballet “The Nutcracker” (El Cascanueces) at the Teatro Nacional. The problem was, however, that I asked for “dos entradas para cacahuetes”, i.e. “two tickets for peanuts”. I got some rather perplexed looks from the ticket vendor…

    We have a similar blog about those lovely embarrassing mistakes Spanish learners are likely to make! (www.catchthelingo.com/blog)

  7. I haven’t had anything too bad, mostly just minor language mixups. When I was studying abroad I asked my host mom “puedo ducharse?” when I meant “puedo ducharme?” 1 letter difference, but I asked “Can I shower you?” instead of “Can I take a shower?”

  8. I somehow managed to use the wrong bathroom even though all were clearly marked diagramatically, in english and in thai not once but three times during a taxi ride from Nai Yang to Krabi in thailand. After the third time the driver looked at my partner and said…why you bring your own ladyboy to thailand? have better one here…

  9. I had an awkward moment in Uganda when I told the group of children I was working with, “Njagala amazzi” (I would like some urine) rather than “Njagala amazi” (I would like some water). There is a subtle difference in both spelling and pronounciation and I didn’t quite get it right – the kids were just cracking up with laughter… It happened more than once as well! Oh dear…

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