A *cough, cough* Contest!

June 5th, 2009 • Kate

vacationsGrr. Every time I try to put a cute little picture on a post lately, it crashes my browser. I’m sure that’s EXACTLY the reason why I didn’t blog yesterday! Sigh.

But I am feeling a little better, as you may have heard from Twitter. I only have a cold, not Swine Flu. Or any other flu, for that matter. Hooray!

And speaking of other things I have: brand spanking new copies of Vacations From Hell, with short stories by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Sarah Mlynowski, and our very own Maureen Johnson. Want one? I’ll give one to the very best/worst horrible vacation story posted in the comments!

You have until Monday to share your story of vacations gone horribly awry. Let’s hear ’em!

UPDATE: I had to use Internet Explorer to get the picture up. Grr!

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21 Responses to “A *cough, cough* Contest!”

  1. Christine Nguyen Says:

    My Vacation From Hell?

    It's been 10 years since my family's gone on a road trip. We used to do them all the time, but doing things together as a family got a lot harder when my sister and I past puberity. One day, my parents finally put their foot down: we're going on a family vacation – no arguments and definitely no boyfriends!

    So we packed our bags (including two cockatiels and a travelling cage), piled into our mini-van, and road tripped it to Arizona to see the cactuses. We played card games, my dad told corny jokes, we took lots of pictures with our tongues sticking out and, honestly, it was pretty freaking great … until my sister and I both decided to order THE MARGARITA.

    4 hours after THE MARGARITA, my sister and I both had a serious case of food poisoning. I don't think I've ever seen my mom's face so pale as she watched my sister and I pray to the porcelain Gods and struggle to breathe. My dad called all the hospitals in the area and then decided to just drive 14-hours straight to get his family back home and to our own doctors. While my dad raced us out of the desert, my mom sat in back with my sister and me, and patted our sweaty foreheads in that cool, soothing way that only a mom can do.

    Moral of the story? If you're going to go through Hell, take your family with you. It's the only way you'll make it out alive.

  2. Erin Says:

    We got married about a year after I had a major accident that required extended use of a wheelchair and intermittent use of a walker and crutches. I'd gotten an orthotic to support my foot and leg in the appropriate position, and so had no crutches or other such aids with me on our honeymoon.

    We went to Disney World in May. It was over 80 and humid, but I was shivering. First night of honeymoon, I stayed in the hotel room while the husband checked out the Boardwalk. Next day, I discovered that the orthotic in fact had irritated the sole of my foot and I had major blood poisoning. We spent that day talking to hotel and park staff to try to find what medical facilities Disney World had (answer: unless all you've done is skinned your elbow, you're out of luck; however, you can get wheelchairs from Disney hotels and take them off the grounds if need be), then riding shuttles to get to a local emergency clinic (where they lanced my foot) then to a nearby drugstore for antibiotics then back to the hotel, and finally collapsing of exhaustion at the hotel.

    I spent the rest of my honeymoon in a borrowed wheelchair, receiving comments from park staff such as, "So you could walk but you *choose* not to?"

    The fever dropped for the first couple of days after treatment, but then a low-grade fever came back, and I had a rash by the time we left. I had developed an allergy to the antibiotics, and my own doctor had to prescribe something else after we got home.

    There were further issues with airplanes, missed flights, and late arrivals on the way home, but somehow, one expects those.

  3. Beth Says:

    A trip to the Outer Banks. 12 hours by car. During a hurricane. With a toddler, a baby and various in-laws and relatives. Really, I don't even think I need to use full sentences to share the horror.

  4. Jamie Harrington Says:

    Wow… I can't believe I am about to do this…

    I'm fourteen at the water park. So you can imagine the body image issues I am facing, right? They're bad. I feel uncomfortable in my skin, my suit, heck even my cover up just knowing that there's a siwmsuit underneath there.

    But, hey this is a part of growing up, right? Hanging out by the pool and sliding down frighteningly open slides with your hands across your chest just hoping everything goes right and that I don't slip out and fall to my death.

    My super cute friend that's wearing her stringy two piece says, "Oh, hey–let's go slide down the mega mondo slide. (You know, the one that you can see from the highway with all the kids standing in line on the spiral walkway that goes up the tower.)

    Crap.

    I grudgingly follow her up the staircase, and the cutest guys are standing behind us. They had to be at least sixteen–I think one of them even had some chest hair!

    They start whispering and looking at me. Oh, wow. Those cute guys are checking me out. I mean, of course they are. I look pretty good in my little suit, and hey I have pretty good boobs for a fourteen year old. I bet they think I am older!

    We get to the top of the slide, and just before I'm about to go down the giant mega slide of scary death (did I mention my fear of heights?) the cutest of the bunch leans in to whisper in my ear.

    Is this guy really about to talk to me? Swoon!

    "Hey, you have a huge hole in the ass of your swimsuit."

    Now, imagine sliding to your possibly imminent death with THAT on your mind.

  5. Kristen Says:

    I have to go to El Paso in two weeks. It's in the furthest corner of West Texas, New Mexico, Mexico, and hell. People get murdered on that border. Can't wait.

  6. Paula Says:

    ok, so the vacation itself was great, but getting there was hell!
    http://maureenjohnson.blogspot.com/2009/02/love-b

    i know that's cheating, but i had to comment.

  7. meaghan Says:

    when i was younger and my brother was still in diapers, my parents took us on a road trip from florida to north carolina. we were staying in a cabin infested with roaches and generally not what was advertised.

    one day we were driving through the national park there in the smoky mountains when my brother came down with an insane case of diarrhea. after changing him two or three times, my mom realized she was ot of diapers. he was still sick, so she had him wrapped in an old t-shirt and was stopping the car every so often to rinse the shirt in the river (i know this is totally disgusting and probably illegal but thats what happened). smoky mountain park has some bears, and one started following our car from a distance. this made my mom really nervous, and she was already stressing about my brother being ill. then, we realized the sun was setting and the park closed at sundown. and we were really really lost. we finally made it to the gate of the park right as the ranger was closing and locking it. he gave us some extra clean towels for my brother, and we made it home safe and sound. but, worst 5 hours of a vacation EVER.

  8. Sara Raasch Says:

    My worst vacation wasn't bad for me, but SUCKED for my mother.

    My dad and I took a road trip to Disney World when I was 5. Just us, driving the lllooonnnggg stretch of highway down to Florida. We stopped at a motel one night, and my mom, back at home, was watching the news. A story came up about a crazed murderer who had attacked a motel and killed a father and daughter traveling to Disney World. My poor mother obviously flipped. This was before the use of cell phones (or at least the use of cell phones in my family), so my mom called a number of random motels in the Georgia area to find us and make sure we weren't the unnamed victims on the news. We had no idea what was happening when the phone rang in our motel room and my dad answered it to my mom's frantic voice. My dad, being very sensitive, laughed.

  9. Karen Says:

    So I’m noticing a theme…a lot of these vacations from hell happen in Florida! Well, mine is no different. Being a single woman with no children, I got the brilliant idea to go to Disney World with six kids and three adults (including myself). We took the auto train and as I tried to tune out all of these children whom I did not birth, I buried myself in the just released Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. Life was good in the beginning, but before we even made it out of Virginia, someone was crying because they lost their game, someone’s toy was broken, and someone had spotted the cute boys on the train and was trying to tart herself up.

    By the time we’d made it to Florida, the nine year old had told everyone in the dinning car that Dumbledore died(in perfect earshot of 3 people who were just starting to read the book!), we were hours late and everyone was in need of a shower! Five days of hell fire heat, a terrified NINE year old who thought every ride we got on was real (including the aliens from MIB), a 12 year old who we caught in the resort hot tub with 2 grown azz men (fortunately they were more interested in each other than her, but still, she was WAY to hot for her own good) and one who couldn’t stop stealing if his life depended on it. And just when I thought I couldn’t take another day of other people’s bad azz kids, Amtrak called to say that our train home was cancelled due to a sink hole!!! WTF? I was going to commit serious homicide if I had to stay another day, but the thought of being stuck in a car with those kids for 16 hours would end with me on the news and not for a good reason. Fortunately, we only had to wait a day and got another train. I will NEVER again go on vacation with kids who haven’t actually traveled through my birth canal.

  10. Katie Hartnett Says:

    He had no intention of building a vacation home, but Dad had to see his pieces of Florida. His brother as well, he had to see his pieces of Florida, and neither one of them would fly.

    Accustomed to rising before dawn, Dad and Uncle Sam declared that we would leave at four in the morning, to beat the traffic through Chicago.

    In no time, we were past the city limits and engulfed by the fog that is ever present in northern Indiana.

    "Sure is foggy," said Dad.

    "Yeah, I could go for a cup of coffee," said Uncle Sam. "How's the gas? Need gas?"

    And so, we learned that Uncle Sam, besides sharing his brother's hearing impairment, had prostate problems.

    After hitting every rest stop between Gary and Chattanooga, after listening to two grown men giggle like little boys when they weren't snoring, we pulled into a hotel in Marietta, Georgia, sometime around ten p.m., exhausted.

    I phoned the desk for a wake-up call at six and we fell into bed, the television blaring in the next room where a couple of half-deaf old men were supposed to be sleeping.

    Hadn't we only just shut our eyes? Uncle Sam was at the door, in a panic, knocking, we were late. My husband stumbled across the room and let him in.

    "It's six-thirty," Sam said. "We've got to get going."

    Dad came in, shaving cream on his face. "What happened to the wake-up call?" he grumbled.

    "Look, it's six-thirty," Sam said, displaying his watch.

    A string of curses resounded in the hotel room. My husband took Sam's watch and turned it, right side up, to show him that it was not six-thirty, but midnight, and we had slept for one hour.

    "Never again," my husband declared. "I'm not doing this again, not ever. Don't ever ask me."

    Short-tempered and dead tired, we continued our journey the next day. Through Atlanta, into Valdosta, a conversation ran in the back seat that made no sense to those with functioning ears.

    After a tour of the weed-strewn lots in Port St. Lucie we dropped them off at their hotel and checked ourselves in to another that was two blocks away. The distance was not enough to deter the brothers, who felt bad that they had caused so much grief during the trip. Breakfast, their treat, was offered the very next morning to make up for all the trouble. At five a.m.

  11. The Compulsive Reade Says:

    When I was about 10, my parents bought a brand-new camper. My four brothers and I were excited to test it out, especially after we found out, much to our chagrin, our parents would not let us live in it for a week.

    So, being the lame camping family we are, we hitched it up one weekend and drove to the next state (Indiana) to a campground with a pool (a body of water is crucial to keeping 5 kids under the age of 14 happy on an extended stay in the middle of summer), store, and activity center for kids. On the wat, my parents sang showtunes and exclaimed over the camper's "maiden voyage".

    So anyhoo, we got to the campground, set up, and went swimming. We had fun, and my mom was able to cook in the tiny kitchen, which made her happy. I distinctly remember her saying, "This is so much better than the last time we went camping! We won't have to worry about being flooded!" (Last time we went camping, a rainstorm had washed our tent away, prompting the purchase of the camper.)

    And so we went to bed that night happy. My brothers were sleeping on the floor, my parents on the bed, and me on the pull out sofa. At about midnight, my second youngest brother woke us all up yelling, "I'M WET!"

    Thinking he had wet the bed, I ignored him…until the lights were switched on, revealing an inch of water on the floor.

    I've never seen my brothers move so fast.

    Next thing you know, all five of us are huddled on the couch, sopping wet, while my mom is frantically trying to mop up the water and my dad struggling to stem the flow of water, which only made it worse. So soon, we had a nice little waterfall of water coming from below the sink. When we opened up the door, it began to tumble out like a fountain. I think my mom almost cried.

    We never did discover the cause of the leak, or how to stop it…my dad just ended up unplugging everything (electricity, water, sewage) and hoping for the best. The waterfall turned into a stream, and that's the best we could do. We all tried to sleep. I grumbled because my nice warm bed was now overcrowded and wet. My baby brother started screaming. My older brother told my mom we were not happy campers. And my dad, attempting to find humor in the situation, dubbed the camper the Titanic (the movie had just came out), and said cheerily to my mother, "Flooding on the maiden voyage! The only thing missing is Jack and Rose!" She was not amused.

    We left the next day, damp, grouchy, and hot, with the smell of mildew lingering in the car, lugging our "Titanic" behind us.

    Thanks for the contest!

  12. NinjaFanpire Says:

    I think every time my family goes on vacation is just a terrible experience. Now, work with me and imagine this. We have a seven passenger van. There are seven people in my immediate family. With their luggage. And not just luggage, mind you, but extra toys for the three kids riding in the back seat. Plus a backpack or some sort of bag for six out of the seven people. Each bag contains entertainment for the trip. Did I mention how long that was? About 20 hours, closer to 22, I think. Oh, that's just driving time, by the way. Doesn't include bathroom, food, or gas breaks. So to recap, there are seven people with their luggage plus extra useless junk crammed into a seven passenger van for 20+ hours. You cannot truly know how terrible that is until you've experienced it. There is hardly room to move your feet, not to mention, three kids under ten years old don't seem to like riding in the car for more than two or three hours, five at the most.

    Okay, so we stop once during the 20 hour drive. But that's still at least 10 hours in a car, if not more the second day depending on how later we leave the first day.

    Did I talk about the first day? Well, we don't get the van fully packed until the day we are to leave. So everyone who is not three kids gets up and has to help clean and pack stuff up and rush and we don't end up leaving until hours after we 'planned' (I don't think we've ever left on time). By that time, step-dad is ready to say "Let's just leave tomorrow."

    But, once we FINALLY get there…..

    We have to unpack a good portion of the van and find somewhere to put it in a relatives house. And so the vacation continues, seeing numerous relatives in the same area.

    I think our last vacation may have had the worse sleeping conditions yet. Okay, so it was only a few days, but NINE people stayed in a one bedroom house. Yes it was cramped and more difficult than usual to live with my family.

    And then there's the ride home….Which pretty much goes like the ride there, except we seem to have picked up some extra items while there….And here I thought there wasn't room for anything else when we left home. Oh, so not true. So now we have more luggage and stuff!

    But once we FINALLY get back home……Step-dad insists we empty the van NOW. Even though it's at least 8pm at night, if not later. And pretty much everything needs to go inside.

    That's EXACTLY what I want to do after a 20 hour car trip, work!

    So that is what I go through once a year, usually.

  13. NinjaFanpire Says:

    There was also my trip to Philadelphia last Summer….Let's see if I can remember the details.

    So there was a group of about 30 of us, I'm not sure if that was counting chaperones or not. Well for starters, we left very late. Gosh, I could dig out my schedule, but I just don't feel like it. So we left late. We were supposed to sleep on the plane. Oh, by the way, we were traveling form Arizona to Philly. So, we were supposed to sleep on the plane. The ride was probably not more than five hours, not to mention we had to switch planes after about two hours or so.

    But we get there. And it's humid like nothing I'd ever been in. My hair spent the week frizztastic.

    So we get there. And we get our luggage. Well, I want to go to the restroom, so this other girl and I ask our teacher, as it was a school trip, if there was time. Yes, if we were quick. Besides, the bathroom was right by the door we were exiting.

    Well, the other girl had to fix her shoe or something, so we took a bit. We get out there and have to run because the tram or whatever it's called is getting ready to leave. I think our teacher had to ask them to wait for us. So, as we continued along, Mr. S, as we'll call him, was taking a head count.

    Guess what?

    Someone was missing.

    Now, everybody pretty much had a friend or two or more on the trip, so nobody was likely to get lost without being noticed.

    Somehow, this kid must not have had friends on that trip. I don't think anybody had his cell number. So Mr. S calls the airport and has them find the kid so he can wait.

    How did this kid get left behind? Well he asked to go to the bathroom too, before us two girls did. So he should have been out before us, right?

    Well we get to where we were going and Mr. S has to go back and pick up the kid.

    So, I was kind of like an extra person who got to go on the trip, so there were five people in a room. I ended up sleeping on two chairs every night in Philly/New York(we went there too).

    Yes, two hotel chairs makes the best bed, let me tell you.

    Not to mention, EVERYBODY on that whole trip got very little sleep. I remember one girl told me she fell asleep part way through the LIVE BROADWAY SHOW of The Phantom of the Opera. Yes, we were THAT tired. Very little sleep, and full days of walking. Well, not quite FULL….but a lot.

    Alright, so I think ALL FOUR of the other girls in my room were having boyfriend issues like no other! Okay, maybe two…..I know one for sure….I don't care to recall just all the messages left and drama and what not….But I was ready to leave that room.

    So I knew some people and asked if I could stay in their room. Well, they let me. And I slept on two chairs. So the next day one of them approaches me and asks me, basically, not to stay in their room. Because they thought it was "too crowded". And none of the other three girls wanted to talk to me about it because they didn't want to hurt my feelings. HOW MUCH SPACE DID I TAKE UP? Seriously, I didn't ask for a bed or anything. TWO CHAIRS.

    Oh ya, and we were visiting some old war place, I don't remember exactly, and we got this tour and everything and our guide talked about all these ghosts and what not. So after the tour, some of us went and walked around some more, looking at the buildings and taking pictures. (By the way, as the tour went on it got darker and darker, until it was night.) So there's a group of us, maybe five, not quite sure, and we're going by this house. Well, somehow I ended up walking up to the porch, being unscared as I was (mostly). So they take some pictures of my 'bravery', and they want me to touch the door. Um, no thank you. So this guy with us goes up and touches the door (I can't remember if there was a screen door or not, if not he touched the handle).

    Well, this other girl comes up on the porch after the guy leaves, and then all of a sudden, there are two or three girls screaming (one or two standing in front of the house, one on the porch, plus me, who was not screaming). The one on the porch by me JUMPS clear off the porch, which is five steps to the top. And then they take off. I found out that supposedly they saw a ghost.

    Okay, so there was another day something went wrong. We were supposed to take this bus to New York (I believe we were in Philly, could be wrong). So we walk a little bit from the hotel and wait at the bus stop. And wait. And wait. Well, come to find out, I guess the bus driver didn't show up…..So there was just no bus. So we had to walk to a different bus stop. I don't really remember what happened after that, or when we went to see the Empire State Building. But somehow we missed out on something because something went wrong…..But it may have originated with missing the bus. Or the bus missing us.

    But somehow we all made it home. I don't remember much else terrible that happened, but excitingly we were in Times Square and saw on the news, a guy climbing the New York Times building.

    So we were tired all week but we got to see a lot of cool stuff, even though the whether was humid and not cool.

  14. Amy Sonnichsen Says:

    After I graduated from high school in Hong Kong, my parents were due for a year back in the United States. They decided to take our family of five through Holland and Germany, and then fly to the East Coast to attend a conference.

    We arrived at Schiphol Airport with ten 70-pound suitcases, planning to store most of it at the airport in lockers until we were finished with our European tour. My dad found a locker, paid for it, and we walked away. Minutes later, though, my mom remembered a certain bag that had been inadvertantly stowed with the rest.

    "Peggy, are you sure you need that thing?" my dad said.

    My mom assured him she did, so my dad reluctantly went back to get it.

    He found the locker no problem. But it was open a crack. Startled, he swung open the door. No luggage.

    Speed walking back to where we stood in a huddle, his mouth set in a hard line, he cried, "The luggage is gone! We've been robbed!"

    "Well, what're you going to do?" my mom cried back.

    "Get the police, of course."

    The Schiphol police were soon roused and on the scene of the crime, sniffing around, investigating the six pieces of stolen luggage.

    "Are you sure you looked in the correct locker?" asked one officer.

    My dad went puce. "Of course I'm sure!"

    "Please give me your key," said the officer.

    He checked the number against the number on my father's key and tapped the locker next to it. Sliding the key into the lock, he clicked it open.

    "Sir, here is your locker."

    We retrieved our needed bag and slunk out of the terminal. My father was quiet. Very quiet.

    And I wondered, "What else is going to go wrong?"

    Well, plenty.

    We rented a camper, the kind with a roof that lifts up to make an extra bed. Well, it only turned out to sleep a maximum of three people. We had five.

    My father then proceeded, on the first day in possession of the camper, to fill the water tank with gasoline. So, we spent two weeks in a hot, cramped camper with no water.

    The camper travelled at a maximum speed of 60 miles-per-hour on the autobahn, my dad growling at every sports car that whizzed past us and my mom screaming, "For heaven's sake, David, stay in the slow lane!"

    Ach du meine Güte!

  15. Scott Says:

    Can one simple vacation warp a family for life? Can one simple vacation make four children (well, now grown adults) all refer to it with just five words? Oh, yes, such an event can happen. Such an event did happen way back when, in the days of childhood and innocence when we trustingly believed our parents when they said "this will be the best vacation ever!"

    Oh, no, such false words had never been spoken before, nor would they again. Four children would be forever scarred by the events of two weeks in the 70s when their parents thought it would be a brilliant idea to go . . . camping!

    Let me list the horrors for you:

    1) It rained absolutely every night. Yes, every night.

    2) We slept in a tent every night. Yes, every night.

    3) We had to use public, community showers.

    4) My mother had to cook over a campfire for four children, none of whom were happy.

    5) The mosquitoes swarmed us every night.

    6) There were spiders in the tent with us . . . every night.

    7) My father snored loud enough to wake the dead . . . every night of his life. He once snored so loud in a hotel that people were talking about it in the elevator the next morning. Oh, yes, they were. My brother and I just wanted to shrivel up and disappear. I'm sure the nearby campers in their tents thought a grizzly bear was coming out of the woods.

    8) The few pools at the campgrounds were bitterly cold.

    I could go on, but I'd end up back in therapy (kidding, never went to therapy over the trip). To this day, none of us camp. Not one out of four children. Not one. To this day, we refer to that delightful summer vacation as . . . the camping trip from hell.

    It was probably the worst vacation we ever took. It shaped our lives and convinced us that camping was a very, very bad thing. We start to twitch at the mere thought of camping. I'm entirely convinced that my fear of spiders began on that camping trip so very long ago. I've never been the same since.

    S

    yes, this is an unfortunately true experience. you could asks my brother and sisters about it . . . but we've taken a vow of silence never, ever, ever (out loud at least, writing is differnt) to mention the trip again.

  16. ChristaCarol Says:

    My husband and I had been married for 2 years and we decided it was time to do some vacationing together. You know, the couple thing, like a wonderful cruise! I'd never been on a cruise before, let alone step foot off of American soil, so I was ecstatic!

    We booked in the summer for a January trip. And in the Fall? We were pregnant! Great news, yes. I really wanted a baby. But I'm a woman who LOVES food, especially any sort of buffet, and who was very excited about spending endless time with the love of her life in paradise. I was optimistic . . . I'd have a good first trimester!

    Hah! I spent the majority of my time on the ship giving back whatever food I tried indulging in. It got to a point where a single smell disgusted me so bad up on deck where the buffet was I couldn't partake in it anymore (at least I got two meals from there!). It wasn't a horror story by any means, but talk about suckage! The only cruise I've ever been on, still to this day, and I couldn't fully enjoy it. It would have REALLY sucked if I hadn't lied to the Dolphin lady when she asked if I was pregnant. The hell if I was going to give up my swimming with the dolphins! (No worries, kid came out good and all).

  17. Anna Says:

    I've never had a horrible vacation. Can I tell you my best vacation story for a chance to win?

  18. Leslie Ann Says:

    My worst vacation stour. The hotel that we were going to stay at lost our reservations. We ended up staying at the motel across the street. One word: Hookers.

  19. Kiersten White Says:

    I was seventeen. Out of the country for the first time in my life, but a resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, probably didn't count for much. Still, it was like a microcosm of the world–the weathly Western world, at least. Watching the racial dynamics was both interesting and depressing. The whiter the employee, the more interaction with guests. Some exceptions were made for being very goodlooking, but in general, if your skin was too dark, you were relegated to the kitchen or maid duty. Why present anything other than a white face to the guests? Heaven forbid that you should have to, say, interact with Mexicans while in Mexico.

    Ah, those guests–every European nation was represented, with some Americans thrown into the mix. It was odd watching all of those stereotypes in one small area. The Americans were loud and dressed obnoxiously. The British were pasty white and complained a lot. The Italians made sleazy comments to any girl they saw. The Germans were stoic. Sure, I'm making generalizations, but it seemed like a resort of running gags.

    But I get away from myself. The point of the story is not to examine preconceived notions, and how when we expect to see people act a certain way, we nearly always will. No, the point of this story is the atrocity of nude beaches.

    When, as a young, innocent girl, I heard about nude beaches, I always thought they would be dens of lasciviousness. Beautiful, toned bodies parading around, showing their assets (ha!) for all the world to lust after. I couldn't understand anyone being brave enough to wander around nude, but surely only those most perfect of bodies would be willing to. However, other countries lack my nation's puritanical roots. Nudity on the beaches is not a sensual thing; it's a practical thing. As I discovered when, on those Mexican stretches of sand with no regulations, the European women regularly discarded their tops.

    Oh. My. Heavens.

    It wasn't the young, firm bodies that opted to lose clothing. No, no indeed. For the most part I didn't see much–partly because of diligent eye-aversion on my part, and partly because not many took the clothing-optional option. However, the worst was yet to come.

    I'm not a strong swimmer. I have a hard time fighting currents. I was out in the water with a boogie board, when I saw I was drifting ever closer to an area that was, for whatever reason, roped off. I began paddling to shore. After a bit I realized that I wasn't moving in the direction I wanted–I was being pulled closer and closer to the ropes. And, in between me and the beach, was a woman. A large, large woman. A large, large woman with no top on.

    It was like something out of a horror movie. There I was, kicking desperately, but the woman had somehow created a whirlpool of currents around herself. The panic set in as those two, humongous, pasty white floating monstrosities loomed ever larger and closer. Please, I thought, please whatever happens–don't let me touch them.

    That trip I dodged a kiss, hid from a psycho Dutch stalker, and got stung by a jellyfish. But I avoided the horror of those hideous natural flotation devices–if only just barely.

    No wonder I'm scared of swimming in the ocean.

  20. Jean Says:

    You know, I've been on many vacations that usually makes people's eyes roll back in their head when they hear the details. However, I've never found them to be the 'worst vacation ever'. I mean, the time our motorhome cratered several thousand miles from home in a downpour in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic…no worries! Or the time we got stuck in (enter appropriate adjective) sand, mud, snow, etc–it isn't a family holiday unless we get stuck in something. And last summer when we met the highway stalker who wouldn't leave us alone for an hour of driving in the middle of nowhere, and kept taking his hands off the wheel and we had to do evasive James Bond type driving to get away from him–well, that was just amusing. Even spending days in the airport trying to catch a flight home–no problem. It *was* a little embarrassing when my dad picked through garbage at Sea World for those 'great' disposable cups (for the motorhome). But that was all part of vacationing with the family.

    Okay, hang on. I DO have a worst holiday. My parents and I decided to go on an overnight canoe trip with some of their long-time friends. I was 17. No worries. I can canoe. I can camp. 40 miles down river. Sure. Fun.

    Then we got there. I was in my OWN canoe and had to keep up with power adults in their canoes. My dad started picking at me as soon as the stern left the banks of the river. Then it got windy. It was so windy, it was whipping the bow of my canoe around so I was facing backwards. Only 39 miles to go. Then it started to rain. "Keep up. Paddle harder. Sit in the front. Paddle it backwards." Yeah. Right. Still not going anywhere.

    That was the worst 3 days of my life. My dad–because we were arguing so badly–kicked me out of the tent. In the rain. I was about to sleep under my canoe, when my mom stepped in. It would look bad to their friends, right?

    Yeah, by the end of those 3 days, I was so done with the trip, I didn't even care if I smeared bugs in the peanut butter I was spreading on uncooked Itchiban noodles.

  21. Best (Worst) Vacations EVAH! | kt literary Says:

    […] you guys, you have had some tough times on vacation! I think I have to give a copy of Vacations From Hell to Kiersten for the mental image of […]