On the Road

Some Embarrassing Travel Stories

Some uncomfortable anecdotes from the road.

Naked on a Rooftop

Some years ago I was in Delhi and was pretty sure there was something living in my gut. A book on ayurveda suggested that rubbing some fennel oil onto my belly might help so I bought a little bottle and retreated to my dingy hotel room on the rooftop of a cheap concrete hotel.. Before going to bed I stripped down and rubbed a few drops onto my navel.

The next moment my body tensed up in pain as a couple of drops of the concentrated essential oil fell onto my penis and began to sear away at the sensitive skin. I looked around the room for a bottle of water to douse the burning sensation but there were only 5 empty Bisleri bottles in the corner next to a hole in the wall where cockroaches scuttled in and out.

Hopping up and down in agony, I opened the door of my room a few inches to see if anyone was in the communal shower. The light was on and I could hear the sound of running water so I knew I was out of luck but there was a tap on the rooftop Id previously overlooked and beneath it a metal bucket. I dashed out naked on to the rooftop and set the tap running before darting back into my room, gritting my teeth all the while as the oil continued to burn away.

The bucket seemed to fill at a snail’s pace and I blew cold breaths of air downwards while I waited but to little or no effect. Almost beside myself with pain I jumped out on the rooftop to drag the bucket into my room but to my horror it would only move a few inches.

It was chained to the tap.

No longer caring who saw me, I lowered my groin into the bucket and found relief n the cold water as I maintained a steady push-up position. Other guests passed from their room to the staircase and refrained from returning the awkward smile from the strange English guy with a penchant for exhibitionism with buckets of cold water on Indian hotel rooftops.

Dancing for the Dead in Africa

I met an Australian guy once who had traveled far and wide, ever on the look out for a good party. It happened that he’d once been way off the beaten track one night in Botswana, enjoying a good smoke with a few friends in the bush. There wasn’t much going on though and when they heard some wicked drum beats from not far away, he and a buddy went to check it out.

They made their way through the trees and they came across a gathering of locals dancing around a fire to hypnotic percussion. He and his friend wasted no time in getting on in there and shaking their thing with all the freaky moves they’d picked up on dancefloors all around the world.

To their surprise, they were set upon by men with sticks and beaten until they fled away into the night to safety.

It turned out they’d gatecrashed a funeral gathering.

Diarrhea in a Minefield

An American friend of mine had been traveling through Egypt and was on his way up through Sinai towards Israel on a local bus when his bowels began to fail him. He had to wave money in the driver’s face before he agreed to stop and let him take nature’s course.

He got down in the desert and hobbled a little away from the bus and was about to let go of his poor sphincter muscles when a coach pulled up and out trooped about 50 European tourists with cameras. In desperation he looked around at the barren, flat expanse and saw just one area that promised a little shelter and hopped towards it as fast as he could.

As he drew nearer the slight dip in the land with the odd, thin bush offering a little respite from the field of view, he noticed a pole with a sign reading:


He said it was one of the hardest choices he ever had to make.