Author Topic: Wish you were here, wherever it might be  (Read 460 times)


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Wish you were here, wherever it might be
« on: November 02, 2014, 08:55:13 PM »
I enjoyed the tale in the Post this week of the young Japanese tourist who for years had set his heart on visiting Myawaddy, the Myanmar border town opposite Mae Sot in Tak province.

A taxi driver took Daisuke Iwama to a bus station where he was given a ticket and duly climbed aboard. After a lengthy journey he was told he had reached his destination. However, when he got off the bus he was puzzled that no one spoke Burmese, although their Thai was pretty useful.

He then discovered he had arrived in Moeiwadi, a small town in the northeast of Roi Et province. The locals were very helpful, however and treated him to a traditional Isan breakfast before putting him on a bus back to Bangkok.

Hopefully, by now he has made it to Myawaddy, but I bet he will never forget his tasty breakfast in Moeiwadi. Just as long as he declined the ants eggs and bugs on toast.

Travel pioneers

Mr Daisuke should not be too embarrassed by his little diversion, as he is not the first tourist to arrive at the wrong place.

A few years ago an English couple booked a dream holiday on the internet to Sydney, Australia. Upon arrival they thought the place seemed rather quiet for a major city and not a soul greeting them with “G’day”. They were then informed they had in fact landed in Sydney, Nova Scotia, a small town on a different continent.

One suspects they were not exactly the brightest couple in the world — after all, it takes some skill to end up in Canada when you’re aiming at Australia.

Turkish delight

My favourite tale of travel misadventure also features a Japanese person, this time a female tourist, Kumiko Tsuschida, who was in London and wanted to get to Turkey.

Her English wasn’t too hot, but at least she knew how to say “Turkey” and after meeting some friendly Londoners at Waterloo station, they got her a ticket and put her on a train which they said would get her to the correct destination. She duly took a seat and waited in anticipation for her arrival in Istanbul. After a long journey, the train inspector duly informed Ms Kumiko she had reached her destination.

What she didn’t know was that she had not arrived in Istanbul, but the English seaside resort of Torquay, which to the English ear sounds horribly like Turkey. Ms Kumiko’s adventures were only just beginning.

Journey’s end

Still unaware she had not quite reached the Orient, Ms Kumiko set off in search of her Istanbul hotel. Not surprisingly, Torquay residents had never heard of it.

Her ordeal concluded some hours later when she was picked up by Torquay police who spotted this forlorn figure traipsing the streets, still clutching her suitcase and looking for her hotel.

Ms Kumiko, who only possessed Turkish banknotes, was reportedly still convinced she had reached Turkey, despite the overwhelming presence of pubs, fish ‘n’ chip shops and no one remotely Turkish.

“She even thought she had been through the Channel tunnel,” said a policeman.

Ms Kumiko later explained: “I thought it was a long ride to the airport, but when I asked people ‘Turkey? Turkey?’ they told me I was on the right train.”

The next day Ms Kumiko was whisked back to London and taken to Heathrow. Hopefully she finally made it to Turkey, but with her luck, it could well have been Turkistan or even the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Long and winding road

Apparently the Beatles are responsible for some travellers getting lost. According to police, at least a dozen tourists a day show up in London at the Docklands Light Railway station called Abbey Road, mistakenly believing it is the same place as featured on the Abbey Road album.

The real Abbey Road is at St John’s Wood, about 15km to the west. This still doesn’t deter tourists attempting to recreate the Beatles’ iconic cover, by posing on the much less impressive pedestrian crossing outside the docklands station.

London Transport has even put up a poster at the station explaining to fans they are in the wrong place.

Using Beatles song titles. It begins: “Day tripper, looking for the Beatles pedestrian crossing?” and proceeds to inform travellers “we can work it out and help you get back to the correct location’’. However, it does warn passengers they will need “a ticket to ride”.

The magical mystery tour doesn’t end there however. According to staff at Liverpool Street railway station in Central London, tourists regularly show up asking for directions to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.

Some even want to walk to John Lennon’s house, a minor stroll of 340km up the road.

Now, where am I?

There have been a lot more distinguished personages who have not been entirely clear where they are.

It will probably come as no surprise that the best of the lot was former US president Ronald Reagan.

While visiting Brazil in 1982, Mr Reagan finished up a speech in splendid fashion with: “I ask you to join me in a toast to President Figueiredo and the people of Bolivia … no, that’s where I’m going.”

His second stab was almost right — he was actually going to Bogota, capital of Colombia. Well, at least they were all in South America.]