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I should have just stayed home:

Award Winning Tales of Travel Fiascoes

Edited by Roger Rapoport, Bob Drews, and Kim Klewscewski

Roger Rapport, Bob Drews, and Kim Klewscewski have put together a conglomeration of true stories of travel fiascoes from destinations all over the globe. In I should have just stayed home travelers share their true vacation nightmares and unique touring debacles with interested and weary readers. Whether you find yourself naked on a beach in Indonesia after a wave steals your bathing suit or you're nearly strangled over a spilled beer at the Oktoberfest, this collection of short stories will humor, enlighten, and even terrify its readers.

Things That Go Boomp in the Night

By Eric Steiner

If this had happened in Albania or Burma, it would merely have been local color. In fact, it would be disappointing to travel all the way to an exotic destination without encountering major deviations from the game plan. But this was Belgium, a well-oiled tourist machine accustomed to providing culture and comfort in equal measure.

Brussels is Belgium 's political and commercial hub. I went there to meet some colleagues, all very routine. I arrived by train the evening before. It was a short walk to my hotel. "La Coupole" was old, but clean and centrally located, just right for my one-night stay.

World War III Breaks Out

I'm not exactly sure when World War III broke out. There was loud crashing, followed by the smell of dust. I felt stuff landing on me, I tasted gritty bits of plaster. I saw little beyond shapes and blurred motion.

Time passed. Maybe all of ten seconds. The turbulence in my brain receded just a little. I was groggy, but so far-undamaged. Surprise: the lamp on my nightstand worked. Now to check off the items for the traveler's mantra: Passport-Wallet-Tickets, Passport-Wallet-Tickets, Passport-Wallet-Tickets.

They were on the dresser on the far side of the room. Problem: there was no longer another side of the room. Where it used to be - along with the bathroom and my suitcase - was a gaping void, and a mess of splintered timbers, mortar, twisted wires and broken glass.

Sink Hole Catastrophe

I'm a San Franciscan, and my first thought was, "This is the Big One." But I was a long way from the San Andreas Fault , and it just didn't feel like an earthquake. What it turned out to be was much more prosaic - part of the outside wall of the building had collapsed, because of a sink hole.

The place was in shambles but nobody was seriously hurt. Four rooms were affected. We huddled in a little group in the lobby in various states of undress. The night clerk, the fire department and assorted functionaries comforted us, twittering their concern. Apologies and glasses of cognac were offered and accepted. Within a few hours new, and presumably more durable, accommodations were found for us.

A Suitcase with Character

When I returned to the hotel, after meeting my colleagues the following morning, repairs were already under way. There were more apologies, and even better, my belongings had been found, only slightly the worse for wear. My suitcase bears a wonderful array of dings and scratches from the incident, bestowing character and status, much like those colorful luggage labels that used to adorn old steamer trunks.



Buy This Book From Amazon I Should Have Just Stayed Home: Award-Winning Tales of Travel Fiascoes (Travel Literature Series)

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