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HONEYMOON SURVIVED

Michael Rittenhouse recalls his Third World honeymoon. Take this as a cue to describe your own Third World travels (or honeymoon; whichever was more dangerous).

Posted by Tim B. on 05/08/2008 at 10:28 AM
  1. We stayed in a haunted room one night on our honeymoon bed & breakfast tour of North Georgia. We didn’t know it was haunted until after that fright-filled night—lamps turned on of their own accord, we felt a strong and hostile “presence” in the room (strongest I’ve ever felt it!), objects moved around on the desk.

    When we mentioned it to the owner she breathlessly told us about the room’s being haunted, and how lots of people requested the room when they learned about it. Hell, I might have enjoyed it had I been prepared for it. As it was, I don’t like hauntings. And I don’t even believe in them, really. But that was weird.

    Posted by bovious on 2008 05 08 at 11:15 AM • permalink

  2. I went to Canada one time. Does that count? Toronto has a nice zoo and some great restaurants.

    Posted by Latino on 2008 05 08 at 11:20 AM • permalink

  3. My honeymoon was four days spent in New Orleans (about as Third World as you can get and still be in the US).  We had a crappy room in a motel in Metairie (it had a cement floor and cockroaches), ate and drank in various restaurants (which had great food and live music and that peculiarly New Orleans ambience), joined the lively and drunk crowds in the French Quarter, got yelled at by native cab drivers for not knowing which way to go in our car, stepped over the passed-out bodies of sailors from the ships in port, jostled by drunken Legionnaires in town for a convention, solicited by the first street beggars either one of us had ever seen, warned not to go down the side streets at night (and NEVER to go into the cemeteries), ventured into a strip club out of curiosity, visited the cathedral, bought some souvenirs, and all in all, had a good time.  That was decades before Katrina.

    Eventually we visited the real Third World in the form of some Caribbean Islands and Central America, and I didn’t see a great deal of difference, except for being able to escape by car.

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2008 05 08 at 11:42 AM • permalink

  4. Since I haven’t been on a honeymoon (bridal candidates, please email rajanr[at]gmail[dot]com), and I kinda am from a somewhat third world country (Malaysia) - my only story would be going to a more third world country: Indonesia.

    Or specifically, Bandung. Love the place - but while on one of their tuk-tuks (“angkot”), but all-too-important cellphone, with unbacked-up phone numbers and both my Malaysian *and* SIM card, was stolen. Okay, fine, not that nightmarish.

    But it was slightly irritating being a Malay speaker in Indonesia - I understand the locals almost perfectly, but because of my strong, overbearing Malaysian accent, the locals make absolutely no attempt in figuring out what you’re saying.

    Posted by Rajan R on 2008 05 08 at 12:31 PM • permalink

  5. Uhm, “Malaysian *and* Singaporean SIM card…” (I cross the stupid Causeway between the two countries wayyyyy too often; I study in the stupid island state)

    Posted by Rajan R on 2008 05 08 at 12:33 PM • permalink

  6. Negril, Jamaica, 1979. It wasn’t a honeymoon, but some college friends and I thought it would be a great idea to go there for spring break. We landed in Montego Bay and for the princely sum of $40 took a cab for the two hour drive to Negril. Along the way we thought it would be a great idea if we immediately sampled some of the local ganja, which the cabbie was happy to help us obtain for $20 US, about five-times the going rate (as we later discovered).

    No matter. We got our money’s worth at any price. We were completely wrecked, and suddenly quite aware of the fact that we were the only Caucasians for miles around and we’re driving through the “suburbs” of Mo’Bay. I’ve never felt more conspicuous, particularly since I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sporting the full Jesus look popular at the time, that said “here’s someone with dope or with money to buy it.”

    A very uncomfortable cab ride dragged on, so our next great idea was to stop at a bar to buy some beer for the ride. The cabbie and four of us walk in this place to buy some carry-out Red Stripe, and it was like the scene in the western movie when the gunslinger steps though the swinging doors of the saloon. Sudden silence and every head in the place turns to look at us. If there had been a piano player he would have stopped playing. Again, we’re the only white boys on the premises, and stoned out of our minds.

    At this point a local woman decides she would like to make my acquaintance. Out of nowhere she pretty much tackles me, pins me up against the wall while grinding her hips into mine and saying “Oh mon, I’m so drunk, why don’t you take me home?”

    She has me in a headlock and seems to be in no hurry to let go any time soon. I’m sure before she grabbed me she turned to her friends and said “Hey, watch this. I’m gonna freak out this white boy.” She succeeded. 

    My friends buy the beer and start to leave, shaking their heads and giving me a look that said “You couldn’t even wait until we got to the hotel? OK, have fun you pig.” I literally had to pry her arms from around my neck and run after them while she is screaming curses at me, and questioning my manhood. At that point I decided that maybe spring break in Ft. Lauderdale might not have been a bad idea after all. The trip really didn’t get much better after that either.

    Posted by DanG on 2008 05 08 at 12:54 PM • permalink

  7. If there is a next time, I’ll save a few bucks by spending my honeymoon sitting in hot tub drinking glasses of amoebas.

    Posted by Mystery Meat on 2008 05 08 at 01:01 PM • permalink

  8. Paris, on a high school field trip in 1983.  Got stuck four-to-a-room in a crappy little hotel.  The bathroom had one of those not-even-close-to-a-toilet bidet things ... and no shower curtain.  The concierge hadn’t the faintest clue how to make hot chocolate, either.  Then there were the tiny, narrow little twisty streets with cars parked halfway up on the sidewalk and restaurants with the tables jammed so closely together you couldn’t even pull out your chair all the way let alone walk between them.  The waiters were rude and the food was pretty nasty, except for the bread, which was almost as good as Irish bread, albeit not as available. 

    I will say, though, that the Metro was a handy way to get around—as long as you kept one hand on your wallet and the other on your passport.

    Posted by Achillea on 2008 05 08 at 01:21 PM • permalink

  9. Jamaica, at an all-included resort.
    Quite noce, plenty of food and drink.

    My wife had family who retired there and lived up in the hills. We visited them and they took us on a ride around the area. Places visitors don’t usually see, but are breathtaking.
    Later, the maid brought us cool drinks and we watched the sun set below the mountaintops.

    Posted by Merlin on 2008 05 08 at 04:07 PM • permalink

  10. Ixtapa, Mexico, 1988. A wall of highrise resort ghettos on a wide boulevard at night. Not a soul there but girlfriend, self, a couple we’d met from New York and one Mexican kid who spoke pretty good English. We’re chatting and up show three federales, armed (M-16s with extra clips) to the teeth. The lead federale is in a shabby uniform with what look like soda bottle caps for medals.

    He starts giving the New York guy some menacing crap so the guy pulls out his wallet and flashes an ID card. Lead Guy backs off, becomes really polite. Then he turns to the Mexican kid and starts shoveling some serious crap at him, in Spanish. It was bad because the kid became increasingly worried and told us to run. So we did. The cops—one guy was wearing short shorts, panty hose and a filthy pink T-shirt with his badge stuck on it—toss the kid in the cruiser.

    I asked the New Yorker what ID he flashed. It was some minor government bureacracy card. Told me he used it all the time because the Mexicans thought it was from the United Nations and he was there to help. Then he asked why we were wandering the street at night by ourselves. Message received, we got a cab back to our hotel.

    Next day around the pool some Michiganders were chatting about the events of the day before. A body washed up on the beach.

    A woman asks, “Was it American?” The Michigander said, Yeah. Third time it’s happened since he’d been going there, he says.

    Stayed on the hotel grounds the next two days and flew home. Haven’t been back since.

    Posted by Gary from Jersey on 2008 05 08 at 04:22 PM • permalink

  11. This is offered SOLELY for the reason that it is a honeymoon story; it took place in Oklahoma, yes, but let that not lead to any third-worldliness-type inferences.  Please.
      Preface to honeymoon: Mother and Grandmother (Patton vs Stonewall Jackson)both in from out of state,  had started WWIII with each other over MY wedding plans & flown home in a rage, so husband to be & I ordered a cake, then advised the folks in our office one Friday & walked across the street to the courthouse & were married by the magistrate, who worked us in between a small claim and waiver divorce.  Had the reception at the office, then spouse & I took my MG to Jones, Oklahoma, to pick up his wedding present from me, a Golden Retriever puppy who, as it turned out, had a car-generated retch response which kicked in at one mile; he puked on my lap all the way back to the city.  Rest of the honeymoon weekend was spent housetraining the wedding present & trying to convince him that the cats were not chew toys. The cats’ way worked better, actually. Back to the office Monday.  Heigh-ho.

    Posted by Celaeno on 2008 05 08 at 04:31 PM • permalink

  12. I went to high school in North Philadelphia.

    Posted by shockcorridor on 2008 05 08 at 04:45 PM • permalink

  13. When I got married in September 2006, I said to my wife:

    “About the honeymoon…there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that it is two years long and will be on a Pacific Island.  The bad news is that the island is Sakhalin.” 

    We came here a week after our wedding, and we’re still here.

    Posted by Tim Newman on 2008 05 08 at 04:55 PM • permalink

  14. I lived in Yarraville before it became trendy. LONG before. 1961-64.
    Between that and a Catholic education it’s no wonder I’m a scarred individual.

    Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2008 05 08 at 05:05 PM • permalink

  15. You guys haven’t really been anywhere scary.

    I had two trips to Nigeria (Port Harcourt) with work.  Imagine being shuffled into a car with a guard armed with a submachinegun in the front passenger seat.  Walled compound topped with broken glass.  Really gets the blood pumping.

    Best trip was the second.  Our company laid off some workers at the Onne port facility.  They in turn hired a local ‘protest’ group who waved AK47s around outside our main gate for 3 days. 

    I asked one of the English guys who worked there why none of them owned personal weapons (considering the danger of kidnapping etc).  His reply “because we’d use them”.

    Posted by Blink on 2008 05 08 at 05:07 PM • permalink

  16. In India, up in Himachal Pradesh.  The road was swept away by floods (and this was before we had heard of Al Gore) so the bus had to stop for the night.  I was on the back seat, wedged between two fellows who appeared to be wearing the very wet fleeces of newly killed sheep.  The driver came to the back of the bus and put the back rest up so that he could sleep on it, so the night was spent by me bent double, wedged between two such felows, one of whom appeared amorous.
    The next day we all got out and waded across a swollen river, with a couple of dead cows in it, and finally a tractor with a trailer came along.  Fellow at the other end of the trailer kept giving me the thumbs up sign, so being a friendly chap I kept giving him the thumbs up back.  It turned out later from the girl that I was travelling with that he was effectively asking ‘do you mind if I fondle your girlfriend’s tits whilst pretending to hold onto her’ and I was enthusiastically agreeing.
    Got to a hotel, and was told that one bus was leaving.  I said to my friends that I was not leaving as I had not had a beer yet, and had also found out that the back of my leg had been cut open and had flies crawling all over it.  Lucky escape, as that bus went into the river killing everybody on it.
    Mind you, the Indian trip was still more fun than being gassed and robbed on an Italian train by a Moroccan, which was the year before ....

    Posted by Bohemond on 2008 05 08 at 06:44 PM • permalink

  17. # 8 Achillea - if this was the same trip that I was on, you may recall that we found out that 2p pieces looked quite smmilar to 10 franc pieces (but were worth c. 50 times less) and that we could load up on frites and beer from the stall owners who were straight off the boat from Algeria.
    I feel rather guilty about that, now.  The next year’s school trip to Amsterdam was even better, though ...

    Posted by Bohemond on 2008 05 08 at 06:48 PM • permalink

  18. I had a few good ones doing escorts of detainees back to various locations.
    I did one trip with a fairly young Sri Lankan bloke (Tamil) to the airport and through cutoms. We were met by the local Australian Embassy lady and a “Intelligence officer” and 2 police of the Sri Lankan army. The officer was dressed in grubby naval whites and looked like hed knife his own granny for a buck.
    The young bloke quickly asked me to take his cash (About $500) as he was sure it would all be gone by the time his “Wecome home” party was over.
    I did a quick bit of dealing with the Australian offical and arranged for him to be able to pick up his cash from the Australian commision when he was released.

    The 3 Sri Lankan blokes were spewing at all this but didnt know how much was involved.
    There was some concern back with his mates in Oz when he wasnt heard from for the first couple of days, but he was able to get out by handing over only about $50 of his $500.

    Oh And when we landed you could still see the burn marks near the runway of a couple of planes that were set on fire during the civil war.

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2008 05 08 at 07:01 PM • permalink

  19. I grew up in Bankstown.

    Before it went third world/6th Century.

    Posted by kae on 2008 05 08 at 07:19 PM • permalink

  20. Our honeymoon (1999) was spent driving down the South Coast of NSW then on into Victoria. Not Third World, but we came close to violent death, thanks to an overtaking truck coming straight at us on the Great Ocean Road and missing us by inches.

    We mused that at least we’d have made headlines - HONEYMOON COUPLE KILLED IN HORROR SMASH. Ah, something to bring a tear to the eye of thousands over their breakfast next day.

    Posted by David Morgan on 2008 05 08 at 08:23 PM • permalink

  21. OT—Paco, you really need to screen the franchisees a bit more carefully.  paco in Argentina

    Posted by bad cat robot on 2008 05 08 at 08:40 PM • permalink

  22. #21 Bad Cat: Just another cheap Argentine knock-off. We have sent a steady stream of lawyers to Buenos Aires to present cease and desist documents to the drug dealers, but, strangely, none of the lawyers have reported back to us.

    Posted by paco on 2008 05 08 at 09:35 PM • permalink

  23. #18 thefrollickingmole

    Which years were you up at Hedland?

    Posted by Mr Simmon on 2008 05 08 at 09:42 PM • permalink

  24. Well I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. We used to jokingly call it a “third world city.” Does that count? Sometimes the naiveté of my fellow Americans (they talk to strangers in the street! Leave their car doors unlocked, etc.) still astounds me.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2008 05 08 at 10:46 PM • permalink

  25. Well, you know what they say about surviving the honeymoon… “Any marriage you can walk away from is a good marriage…”

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2008 05 08 at 11:18 PM • permalink

  26. Andrea,

    Third world city or “turd world city”?

    On joining the Air Force I was processed through Homestead AFB.  The accomodations for the three days were on the edge of Liberty City.

    Didn’t leave the hotel for 3 days, left on day 4 only to take the bus to the airport and a flight to Texas.

    Posted by joe bagadonuts on 2008 05 08 at 11:19 PM • permalink

  27. Our Honeymoon was meant to be three days in SW WA.  The new Mrs Razor cried for 1.5 days and then I took her back to Mum.  I am happy to report things have improved since then (1994).

    Spent 10 days in Bali and Lombok about 2 months after Australia had been invited into East Timor.  The local markets had been burnt down the week before by rioters.  There were almost no Aussies and bugger all Euros around.  As I was in the Army at the time and had short hair etc I felt like I was always being watched.  In the crowded shopping markets I always felt like somebody was going to knife me.  Most unrelaxing holiday ever.  Haven’t been back to Indonesia since and wouldn’t anyway after 12 Oct 2002.

    Posted by Razor on 2008 05 08 at 11:32 PM • permalink

  28. 23. Mr Simmon
    About from 99-03, most of the riots anyway.

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2008 05 09 at 12:07 AM • permalink

  29. Thinking to save a plane fare back in the day, I took a bus from Bogota down to the coast of Colombia. No Greyhound this, just an old clapped-out schoolbus from the USA, in its original livery. The locals fit the seats OK, but I sure didn’t, and I reckon the various animals aboard didn’t pay full fare.

    Leaving at midnight to the sound of tear-gas grenades and the nightly riot, our driver soon discovered faulty electrics. Not wanting to go back into the melee, his solution was to drive without headlights, just flashing them for a moment when we encountered another bus. There was a full moon out and it was perfectly possible to drive by it, but the Andean switchbacks meant that even 30 mph down hill was hair-raising.

    Several hours of this apparently drove our pilote mad—or maybe it was the cocaine. He began driving with more and more verve and brio, actually sliding the rear tires (surely bald) around on the dirt in super slow-mo drifts. I didn’t think it was all that awful, but the locals started cursing and throwing things at him, which didn’t help his attitude at all.

    Dawn found us on the long straights of the flatlands, but more traffic and our pilote’s still demented driving meant constant strife. He actually resorted to bumping the side of an over-loaded cane truck until it let us pass, and we left it eating our dust.

    Until the village of Buga, that is. The cane truck caught up with us and blocked our way, while its crew jumped out waving revolvers and hurling special Columbian insults they reserve for these occasions.

    El pilote had his own set of insults, and his own pistola, too. This all took place right in front of the police station, from which a dozen machinegun-toting young half-wits were glad to join in.

    The passengers now reached the limit of endurance and began to shout, scream, plead, cry, quack, bray and wet the floor, according to their sex, age and species. I contemplated a premature demise in a surreal foreign land.

    We had been on this bus for about 12 hours now. The emergency exit was sealed to prevent freeloaders, so we couldn’t escape until all the armed parties had run out of breath, pointed their firearms at the ground, and decided against a blood-bath. This takes quite some time in Columbia, as it must follow some mysterious Latin protocol.

    After what may have been an hour’s stand-off, our crazed villain allowed himself to be taken into custody, the cane truck drove off, and the hostages stumbled into the dusty streets of Buga, leaving the bus blocking the Pan-American highway.

    Film rights available, inquire within.

    Posted by Harry Bergeron on 2008 05 09 at 12:29 AM • permalink

  30. #28 FrollickingMole- if you dont mind me asking- what are your initials, I think I may know you.  You would have been there under Bob McK right?

    Posted by Mr Simmon on 2008 05 09 at 12:36 AM • permalink

  31. We went to Thailand for our honeymoon. We stopped in Bangkok before catching a train to our idyllic beachside holiday destination. Making the most of it, we went to see some of the Bangkok nightlife. Mrs Sharpe had heard stories about what goes on at a “Tiger Show”, so I took her to Patpong Rd to see for herself. She was doing OK, more intrigued than disgusted, when the girl with the darts misfired……..and landed one in Mrs Sharpe’s bra! No skin was broken, so immediate thoughts of a horrible death from AIDS were discounted. It makes a good dinner table conversation point at the in-laws now.

    Posted by Richard Sharpe on 2008 05 09 at 03:11 AM • permalink

  32. 30. Yup R.T., Use the email link by clicking on the name at the bottom of my post. That way we dont interrupt the others.

    Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2008 05 09 at 04:04 AM • permalink


  33. Some People Have No Sense of Adventure:
    Third World Honeymoon Has Downside

    I said ‘Dear, let’s go to a place
    Where everyone hates a white face
    And cops shrug in Spanish
    When touristas vanish
    In daylight, and don’t leave a trace.’

    ‘They’ll steal all your luggage, of course;
    Their haute cuisine’s fly-crusted horse;                         
    And hookers have bugs
    They can’t cure with drugs –‘
    She said, ‘Lyle, I want a divorce.’

    Posted by lyle on 2008 05 09 at 12:16 PM • permalink

  34. #29, Harry, stories like yours make me realise that I take life wa-a-a-a-y too seriously.

    RajanR, I am not a bridal candidate just yet, but am happy to swap dating stories anytime.

    Paco, don’t you think the time is right for a Honeymoon Insurance Scheme? Something like - Post-nuptial Agonies Carefully Overturned.

    Something like that.

    Posted by carpefraise on 2008 05 10 at 07:00 AM • permalink

  35. #21 Does that sound like what some in Canada call “crack”?

    Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2008 05 10 at 06:43 PM • permalink

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