Joys of travelling: the day someone peed on my sandals

14 Mar

I had originally self-censored this post. Travelling has its ups and downs. The below blog post was a matter of me writing out the irritation. Though intended as a bit of self-theraphy and not for publishing, I nevertheless sent it to my family. Not surprising, they found it utterly hilarious. And upon reflection, there should be some balance to the positive travel stories I normally share. So, here it is. The day someone peed on me.


Travel blogs tend to be about destinations. Nonetheless, a lot of the time is spent travelling in the true sense of the word. The boring bus ride, the uncomfortable train journey and the waiting. Or in my case, the women peeing on my feet – completely unnecessary and unprovoked.

Yes, that´s right. Two days later, and I am still so mortified that this is the story I would tell you if we met tonight. So yes. I´ll pour us some imaginary drinks and tell you the truth about our travels two days ago.

Okay. So we were travelling from Can Tho to Phu Quoc. The first leg of that journey is a bus ride. Buses in Vietnam have so far come with very comfortable seats and air conditioning. Unfortunately, they also come with a maniac for a driver. And of course, an extremely violent movie in Vietnamese blasting at top volume. Chainsaws are normally involved.

After nearly having killed 57 motorbike drivers and barely missed 12 head-on collisions, we stumble out of the bus at Raich Gea. Actually, we can barely get off the bus. We have been spotted as the only foreigners by the waiting taxi drivers. Instead of finally putting our feet down on the ground and sighing of relief, we find ourselves surrounded by shouting people. “Where you wanna go?”, “Taxi?!!”. Realising that we are not responding, all six start tugging at our clothes to get our attention. “TAXIII???”

Scrap that.

So, we do what anyone would do. We walk out of the station. Obviously we need a taxi. But when you´re fed up, your power seems to be to take your tourist dollars and walk away.

I´ll fast forward until we have realised that even our small backpacks are annoying backpacks in 35 degrees heat. We finally find a taxi that we insist takes us to a non-existing place, before we eventually realise we have the wrong information and ask him to drive us to the ferry stop instead.

Tired and hungry, we walk along the harbour until we spot a nice breezy restaurant. When we ask for the menu, we are given a tourist version…with no prices. We ask for one with prices. Oh, afterwards, we are told. But then how do we know what things cost, we ask. Afterwards, the guy repeats. But how do we know what to order if we do not know what it costs?, we repeat – still not eager to give the guy a blank cheque. He shrugs. We start pointing at items on the menu, asking for sample prices. A bottle of water? Fried rice? Again, he shakes his head. Only after we have eaten.

Fed up, we set off with our backpacks for the waiting area of the boat station. On my way to the toilet I realise I need money. At the time, I was rather happy with having to pay for the toilet, thinking it would probably be cleaner then. I return a few minutes later and push open the door, but stop just inside because of the people in front of me. A queue, I assume.

A women smiles at me and says something in Vietnamese. I, of course, do not understand. Until I look down. Two grown women are squatting on the white tiles, facing me and a few metres away from the three cubicles. They are both peeing. Two other women are standing behind them. I keep staring. I slowly realise that I – and everyone else – are standing in an increasingly large poodle of pee. I´m wearing flip-flops.

I catch the eyes of the peeing woman closest to me. She looks at me and grins. Now, I´ll admit that what happens next sounds like a bad American teenage movie…where I star as the snooty teenager. Because I simply turn on my heels and walk out. Hands to my temples, half shielding my eyes. “Oh my god”, I horror. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god”. I keep repeating this as I walk away, to the amusement and chuckling laughter of the Vietnamese women.

So, sometimes the slogans are simply bad slogans. The airline companies have it all wrong. Travelling is not always the destination. Travelling is sometimes the annoying part.


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7 Responses to “Joys of travelling: the day someone peed on my sandals”

  1. Elisabeth 15. Mar, 2013 at 15:37 #

    Bonjour Domi et Kari,
    votre voyage semble plutôt “culinaire” mais je n’aurais pas pu avaler les insectes!
    Cela m’a rappelé mes voyages en Thaïlande….j’avais dû te rapporter quelques t-shirts!
    Bonne route, God bless you!
    Gros bisous

  2. Nicole 16. Mar, 2013 at 14:25 #

    j’ai enfin tout lu et j’apprécie ce que toi Kari avec tes commentaires très imagés et spontanés ( pipi sur les sandales par exemple) et toi Domi avec tes magnifiques photos ( la nouvelle photo de la couverture et une photo “noir et blanc” d’une barque ) m’apportez
    je vois que vous testez allègrement les différentes spécialités culinaires assez surprenantes parfois, attention à l’huile !!!
    Gros bisous de Nicole et Marius

    • Idontdocamping 21. Mar, 2013 at 01:42 #

      Hi Elisabeth, Patrizia, Marius and Nicole! Very happy to hear that you are following the blog! Hopefully some of the postcards we have sent have also reached you! 🙂 Gros bisous de Kari (We try to speak a bit of both Norwegian and French every day, so I promise that the next reply from me will be in (pigeon) French!)

  3. Roger 19. Mar, 2013 at 12:44 #

    Hi Roger here from luang prabang.
    Nice to talk to you two. I will be making the most of the tips you have me.
    We arrived in vang veing around 2pm after a very speedy minibis ride, he was a man on a mission. Im glad I didn’t opt for the overnight bus as they were the winydest roads I have ever been on, and that’s saying something coming from nz. Laos is extremely mountainous and there are some amazing views on the drive here. Vang veing is a major tourist town with loads of tours to do. I’m going kayaking tomorrow with a bit of tubing as well.
    Catch you later

    • Idontdocamping 21. Mar, 2013 at 01:34 #

      Hi Roger! Thanks for letting us know! We’re having such a good time in Luang Prabang that we still haven’t figured out how long we will stay. A few more days at least. Hope all is going well with the finger and that the tubing turns out to be good fun. Happy travelling!!

      • Roger 29. Mar, 2013 at 02:11 #

        Could you please tell me the place you stayed in battambag.

        • Kari 30. Mar, 2013 at 14:32 #

          Hi, we stayed at the Seng Hout Hotel. See Wikitravel for details, Hope you have a great time – don’t miss out on the bat cave! 🙂

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