Travel unvarnished: A series.

posted in: Travel Tips | 2

Feet in a Panama hotelWe just started watching a travel show on Netflix called “An Idiot Abroad.”  The series documents Karl Pilkington, a British man who hates to travel, as he’s sent on journeys across the globe by his sadistic friends.

They’re sadistic because they put Karl in situations they know he’ll hate: A seedy hotel in Cairo; a night in a transvestite’s cockroach-infested home in Rio; a meal of a bull’s penis, testicles and brains.

Throughout each episode, Karl accepts these situations with resigned disgust and mumbled commentary. We find the show hilarious.

And Karl, we also get it. As much as we love travel there are moments that range from head shaking to face palming to crying “I surrender!”

So here’s the first in a five-part series of travel situations that are never part of anyone’s plans, but you’ll be sure to remember long after you return home.

The Love Shack

Whether you’ve been there or not, you know the place. Often a dive with paper thin walls, you’re kept awake all night by moans and a slamming headboard. It should be titillating but never is.

I’ll never be able to hear the words “Mi amor” again without thinking of our neighbors in a hotel in Bocas Town, Panama. It was actually a nice hotel and brand-spanking new. We had a balcony with a beautiful view across the water to Isla Carenero. But it seemed like whenever we were in the room we’d hear a crescendo of female moaning and screaming punctuated with those words of passion:

“Oh mi amor!” Giggle, squeal, mumble, mumble.

“Mi amor!” Moan, squeal, groan.


Julie would then look at me and say “Let’s go get a piña colada.”

We began to wonder what kind of stud was pleasuring this woman. Who was this exotic Panamanian lover who brought his companion to such unbridled ecstasy? Several times a day.

And then one afternoon we passed the couple in the hall, a dolled-up Latina in her thirties — who gave me a smile and a wink — hanging on the arm of a pasty-white American senior who was simply getting his money’s worth.

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