Newlyweds Share Their Honeymoon Travel Disasters

Newlyweds Share Their Honeymoon Travel Disasters

When it comes to honeymoons, the stakes couldn't be higher. This first trip as a newly-minted couple tends to show whether a couple is going to make it in the long run, or not. With so much riding on such a short amount of time, things are bound to go wrong. From deeply buried secrets to a case of indecent exposure, these honeymoon tell-alls will have you questioning whether these consummation vacation are as sweet as the name implies.

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26. Bitten, But Not By Love

My sister-in-law got sick flying out to their honeymoon in Jamaica. Their flight stopped in Dallas and they went to the hospital and found out she had a brown recluse spider bite. They tried to treat it and went to their honeymoon but they had to leave after only one day because she got sick again. They didn’t get travel insurance so they lost all the money they spent for their honeymoon.


25. It's Getting Hot In Here

Our bad honeymoon started at the wedding. My wedding was on the hottest day in recorded history for my town (in Texas, so think triple-digits). The photographer shows up with a point and shoot camera, so all of our pictures are crap.

My husband booked a "cabin in the woods" in Tennessee because I have social anxiety and we wanted privacy. We get there and the area is more crowded than our place back home. It had a giant un-covered window about 8 feet up on the wall that the neighbor's back porch looked directly into. We had to be careful because if you stood 3 feet from the bed you were in plain sight of the neighbors.

Then on the second day of the honeymoon we both came down with a horrible flu and had to come home 3 days early (both still madly sick), taking turns driving the 12 hour trip home.

It was another full week before we were well.

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25. Love Is Like A Hurricane

I went on my honeymoon to the Dominican Republic. On the 3rd night, we woke up to what sounded like cannons firing every 5 seconds. Looking out the window, we could see the palm trees silhouetted by the lightning-- they were completely sideways. It was hurricane Hannah, the hurricane which devastated Haiti (which is on the same island as the DR). It rained hard for 3 days and finally cleared the morning we left the country. Also, we were in the 3rd floor of a 5 story building, yet our ceiling leaked.


24. Third Time's The Charm?

My first wife and I never had a honeymoon at all.

My second wife and I went to Hawaii and scheduled five islands in two weeks, which turned out to be a mistake because we spent at least five of our days just getting from one island/hotel to the next, leaving us not enough time to do things on a couple of the islands. We were generally too busy during the day, and tired at night, to do any consummating, so we didn't do that either (though we'd been living together for two years at that point, so it wasn't as bad a deal as it might otherwise have been). Got home (opposite side of the continent) to realize that a comet had been in the sky the whole time and we'd never even thought to go outside and look at it in the completely clear night sky over the Pacific Ocean...



23. Good Guy Credit Card Company

Got married in 2008, when the economy started really tanking. One of the two airlines taking us to Kauai went bankrupt. Sucked, but it was for a short island hop so we figured we'd rebook with someone else.

A few days later, the OTHER airline also went bankrupt. We were paying for everything ourselves--wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon. We didn't have the cash to just buy more tickets.

Thankfully, we'd booked with AmEx, who really go to bat for you. One phone call to their customer service, and they sent me a letter in the mail. Signed it, sent it back, and the charges were removed from our card, freeing up the cash to rebook with United.

Who, we found out at the airport, don't check baggage when you arrive less than 45 minutes before the flight (we arrived at the 43 minute mark). So we ended up missing our flight to Kauai anyways. United kindly moved our booking to the next day.


22. You Don't Need Clothes Anyway

This happened on the way to our honeymoon. After waiting in a baggage check line for an hour, we notice that the bag we planned on checking was not our own. We had grabbed an identical bag from the rack on the parking lot shuttle. After talking to a bunch of AA staff that had no idea what to do, we got the parking lot people to pick up the wrong bag we had while we waited for them to find ours. They called us to tell us they had our bag and were bringing it to the check counter 3 minutes before our flight was boarding. After coordinating with an AA baggage supervisor and the manager of the parking lot, we got our bag to the baggage supervisor. So here we are in Jamaica without tooth bushes, deodorant, sandals, lingerie (most bummed about), etc. We have our clothes thankfully, and we can buy most of things we need while our bag sits forgotten in some supervisor's office. Our last call to AA confirmed that our records have not changed, and as far as anyone knows, the bag is still in the supervisor's office.

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21. It's An Investment

Not mine, but my parents'. Apparently, my father spent all of their honeymoon savings right before the wedding because he wanted a new computer (and, mind you, this was during the 80s, so there really wasn't anything to get excited about in the first place). So he comes home one day with this clunky Macintosh and says, "Hey, look what I got!"

Now, back then my folks were living pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck, since they both were paying their way through graduate school. They simply didn't have enough money to spare on an overpriced piece of junk (i.e. an 80s computer). Confused, my mother asks, "Where did you get the money for that?"

"Oh, I found this extra account we had when I was looking at our bank statements! Isn't that neat?" my father said eagerly, and all my mother could say was, "You goddamn idiot."

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20. Don't Forget To Pack...


A while back, I worked at a 4-star hotel. One night couple came in for their honeymoon but they forgot to bring any protection. They didn't have any in their rooms and the public toilet on the first floor was out, so the guy asked me in an low voice where he could procure himself some contraception. I told him I would get him some. I went to the staff bathroom got 4 for 2$ (yes we get them cheaper) and brought them to him, he was so relieved that he gave me a $100 tip.


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19. That Better Be Chocolate

The honeymoon suites were always the worst at the hotel where I used to work. There was never a real best.

I guess the best of the worst was the room with the chocolate. The shower and jacuzzi were covered in it. Cleaning it was awful, but the chocolate butt print impossibly high up on the shower wall was pretty impressive.

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18. No Room At The Inn

After little sleep on our wedding night we head out about noon to drive to Bodega Bay, five hours away.

We had no hotel reservations for the night. Wait, what? You need hotel reservations? Actually, we had none for the whole week. I’d been left in charge of that. Oops.

We hit Bodega Bay as the sun dropped into the Pacific. It looked so big on the map. Figured there had to be a bunch of motels. Nope.

On we drive. The sun has set. It’s growing dark. Highway 1 is desolate. We drive for a while hoping to see any sign of civilization. Now dark, off in the distance, I see lights. The only lights anywhere.

As we get close we see it’s a rustic but beautiful hotel overlooking the ocean. We go inside and explain our pathetic situation.

The manager says, “How about the Honeymoon Suite? It’s available.”

“I’m not sure we can afford it,” I respond.

“Oh, it’s empty tonight. Just pay the regular room price,” he continued.

“Ok, sounds great.”

When we went to our room a chilled bottle of bubbly was ready for us on on the dresser. A wedding gift from the manager.

And after that the honeymoon just got better. Even the adventure of another week of finding hotels.

Don't you love serendipity?

Doug Armey

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17. Just... No

A Christian couple I know had never done it before their wedding night. The guy wanted to break the ice so he took his clothes off while his bride was in the suite bathroom on their honeymoon. He lay face down and aimed his butt towards the bathroom door, thinking he'd pull a silly prank to lighten them both up. His bride comes out and he rips a fart, but instead he... got more than he bargained for. He pooped the bed and she locked herself in the bathroom for 7 hours crying. They're fine now, but she wanted a divorce that night.

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16. Pay Per View

My dad and his first wife had a nice honeymoon at some fancy resort. Apparently, 5 years later on their anniversary they went back to rekindle the romance and booked the same room. They requested some raunchy VHS tapes to get them in the mood. As they popped one in, they couldn't help but feel that the room in the video was a bit... familiar, shall we say?

Unbelievably, it was the very room they were in, albeit decorated differently. It didn't take long for them to realize that the people doing their thing on the videotape were actually them and the whole video had been filmed by a hidden camera.

This is all true. There was a lawsuit, and people at the hotel were fired. Unfortunately for me and my trust fund there wasn't a major payout as it was the 70's and people weren't as litigious back then.

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15. Echo Throughout The Eternities...

I worked nights at the Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake City, UT through college. To save you a search, it's an over-priced themed-room inn that Mormon newlyweds absolutely go crazy for. Want to spend your wedding night in a pirate ship? We got you covered. Egyptian tombs? Yep. There have been many Mormon cherries popped while I was on shift, and a ton of really weird, funny, and sad stories.

Funny - 20 minutes after an obviously nervous newlywed couple checked in, the husband opened the door and yelled "DOING IT IS AWESOME!" He did this multiple times through the night. Made us laugh every time.

Weird/Creepy - We had a dad drive the newlywed couple to the hotel, and then come in to help them check in. Their kids were clearly adults, so I thought this was weird. Once they were checked in, the dad gave them a mini lecture about the sanctity and spirituality of lovemaking, and how what they were going to be doing that night and through their honeymoon would "echo throughout the eternities." Super creepy.

Sad - More than once we would have bride come running from their rooms in robes, sobbing and in a totally delirious state. They weren't ready for intimacy, and it was clearly a traumatic experience for them. I always felt really bad for them, because it would be really difficult for someone who has been told that hooking up before marriage is evil to suddenly flip a switch and be expected to be comfortable in their own skin.

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14. At Least The Water Is Warm

I frequent a natural hot springs in Alaska that has a high influx of Asian tourists and newlyweds during wintertime. The hot springs create huge steam clouds that make the visibility very low while you're wading in the waist-high water.

Apparently, the newlyweds from Japan (I think) believe that consummating their marriage under the Northern Lights will give them a male child. So they go to the hot springs in the middle of winter when it's dark outside and hook up in the water.

It's really weird to be in there, wading around, accidentally bumping into couples consummating their marriage.

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13. Such A Blake

My wife and I had a ship cabin next to a couple that was on their honeymoon (coincidentally, we were on ours as well).

The first two days went well enough, I suppose. They, as expected, were inseparable. At some point on day 3, though, they got into a very loud fight and proceeded to continue their fight, very loudly, for the next day. By day 5, he was sleeping in a different cabin. On the last night, they were back to quietly hooking up and watching DVDs. I don't know if that boded well for their relationship, but best of luck to Tiffany and Blake.

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12. At Least The Monkeys Are Using Protection

I was on a vacation in southern Africa, and when we went to Zambia to see Victoria Falls there was a honeymooning couple in the suite next to ours. These were open-air suites. A couple of monkeys - I think they were vervet monkeys - went through the couple's things and stole the woman's birth control pills and ran off into the woods. The couple was not thrilled.

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11. Nice Day For A Wet Wedding

Did valet at a hotel in the south. Wasn't necessarily a honeymoon hotspot as a resort, but for some people, they loved the thought of a wedding in Nashville, TN.

One day, a co-worker was walking the bride and her family into the hotel. Took them all the way to the top floor to the Presidential Suite. Out of all the rooms, this was obviously the best one.

As he is unloading their cart, he decides that the sprinkler on the wall is the best place to hang the wedding dress.

And the rest is history. Before long, the sprinklers went off and from the top floor a waterfall was raging into the lobby.

Miraculously, he kept his job through all of that.

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10. Open Door Policy

My first marriage was back in 1987. We were both 20 and barely had enough money for food and rent -- you know the drill . We went on a honeymoon to a resort location nearby in a hotel. They gave us a room right next to the door leading to the indoor pool area.

We checked into our room and I did the whole 'carry her over the threshold' thing. After that, we got busy pretty fast. Our clothes were piled on floor and we were doing our thing right there on the bed. Everything was amazing until I heard a noise behind us. I looked toward the door and I saw a couple of families staring through our open door that I completely forgot to close.

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9. A Swinger's Honeymoon

I got married in Hawaii. My new wife and I were staying at a swanky resort.

Late one afternoon, my wife was getting out of the shower, and I was lying on the bed in my boxers after a long day at the beach, when out of nowhere I hear the front door opening up. I thought it was my wife, and she thought it was me, but in walks a couple with luggage and key card in their hand. When the see me, they angrily demand to know what we are doing in their room...

Needless to say, we were upgraded to an ocean front suite for the rest of our stay due to the screw up at the front desk. We were also comped meals for the rest of our stay, and half our bill was also comped.

Worth it! Although we are lucky they didn't catch us in a more compromising position.

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8. In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle

We were in India for our honeymoon.

After enjoying our stay for two days at the hotel, we were strolling in the market. We wanted to explore some out-of-the-way places we can boast to others. A guy at the tourism office offered an exciting adventure only about 20 kilometers away. He said during the daytime, you can go see trained elephants and their tricks at the campsite and the night will be an exclusive one.

He said: "You two could even spend the night in the jungle, among wild animals. It is by the side of a small river. Exclusive, four rooms have been constructed. There is a kitchen and common dining etc. You will hear the roar of tigers. Jungle-calls from jackals after dark. Many predators come to this spot for drinking water. Deer come near the rooms. Wild elephants roam around, freely, from place to place and often they pass, in groups. There is a caretaker and it's totally safe."

This sounded exciting to us. We booked a jungle hut for the next day.

We reached the place by 10 am. Took an elephant ride in the jungle; saw monkeys, wild boar etc. The show was of some trained elephants breaking the coconut and ringing bells. One elephant painted on canvas with its trunk. But we were eager to reach our room to have some fun with just the two of us!

We hadn't been in there long when there was a knock on the door. When we opened it, we saw the caretaker standing outside with another couple. WHAT? The other couple was allotted the same room by the tourism office. All the other three rooms were already occupied. The last transport back to town had left.

After some heated arguments, seeing no option, we all calmed down and agreed we would have to share. We didn't have much choice.

Now, there were five couples on honeymoon at this camp, all in the same age group. At the dinner table, we started mingling. Thereafter, we all were in the verandah overlooking the river and jungle, chit-chatting and enjoying the night setting in.

The caretaker was talkative and jovial. We noticed a change in his mood after he returned from his room. He looked very serious. He told us he had received a radio warning about a jungle fire that was heading our way. Worse, he added that wild animals run, to escape the jungle fires... meaning the entire forest would be running toward us!

After about an hour, we spotted a small but distant red glow in the jungle. Fire confirmed. The boys grabbed all available sticks for protection against wild animals and all us girls were ready with buckets from bathrooms, filled with water, to fight the fire. Time was ticking. The cracking of bamboo and the sound of falling dry trees were terrifying.

Thankfully, the jungle fire fighting team arrived in the nick of time. They cleared dry brush from the path of the fire. The blaze died out.

By that point, it was 3 in the morning and we weren't the least bit concerned about having to share a room anymore. We were just grateful to be alive!

Janak Vakil

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7. Monkey Business

We were honeymooning in Langkawi at the Barjaya Resorts. One afternoon (post lunch luxuries!), when we were trying to get our ‘act’ together, this happened.

My wife and I were getting intimate in our room, trying our hand at fancy positions. The resort room had a balcony with a big window. We had not latched the window but it was very well tucked together and closed.

In the middle of our gymnastics, we heard the window creak open, and a grown up, full-sized monkey walked in. We were, as you can imagine -- TERRIFIED! He gazed at us, and in a surprisingly composed manner, walked to the side table where some food items lay. He picked up an apple, and started eating it.

I regained my senses and realized I was supposed to ‘do’ something about the situation. So there I was in my birthday suit, trying to shoo away this monkey!

It did go away after jumping across our bed, lending a final blow to my wife’s shocked state! Phew! A wild honeymoon afternoon - not the way you might want it to be “wild”. But literally!

I later learned that monkeys were a regular in that resort's rooms, so guests were asked to latch the windows all the time.


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6. Through Sickness And In Health

My wedding was great, but the honeymoon was a DISASTER.

We went on a 7-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera. The day we left on the cruise, a HUGE hurricane hit. Most of the cruise ships didn't stop at all the stops (Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan) but our cruise captain decided to just re-route. The hurricane ended up cancelling the one excursion I was looking forward to the most, swimming with Sea Lions. I was pretty heartbroken, but that was the least of the problems.

At our stop in Mazatlan, we went horseback riding on the beach, then ate at a little place that came HIGHLY recommended by tons of people online. Well wouldn't you know it, we got parasites. (Didn't drink anything unless it came from a can... it came from shrimp!) So I woke up the next morning in horrible pain (I've never ridden horses and didn't realize it was so rough on the back!) and sick as I've ever been. Horrible fever, the worst diarrhea of my life, constantly felt like I was going to throw up. This lasted the remainder of the cruise and for a week and a half after. I was so sick I couldn't eat a damn thing besides a little white rice so I missed out of the lobster dinner.

Since we were cruising THROUGH a hurricane, the ship was rocking so badly they had to leave barf bags out all over the ship. As if having parasites wasn't bad enough, pile on the worst motion sickness of your life on top of that.

Try having a "romantic" time while not able to be away from the bathroom for more than 15 minutes at a time. Gawd it was horrible.

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5. Trial By Fire

First, it rained the day of wedding. Lightning struck the church as I was driving up (power stayed on though). But, alas, we were married.

Then, in the pouring rain, off to the reception. Right after the obligatory cake face slam, dancing ensues. Within 20-30 minutes, a relative dies of a heart attack while dancing with my grandma (her nephew, probably 58). Thing is, he wasn't even invited to the wedding and just happened to be in the area so we let him tag along.

Given the major turn of events, we cancel the reception. Wife's dream wedding reception is now blown. We end up getting wasted in the bar with a few close friends. Hotel won't refund any food/beverage expenses. I understand the food, but wouldn't even refund untapped kegs or unopened wine. Doubletree, for those wondering.

Anyway, next morning we leave for the Honeymoon - throw the bouquet and garter at the airport to a very small group of friends. Haven't consummated yet. Off to a remote island for our romantic getaway. At the airport, there's one cab (probably a honda civic) and we have to share it with another newlywed couple. She is unbelievably obnoxious and LOUD. I tell the cabby - I need beer. We get some for the rest of the 30 minute ride. Cabby was going about 50 down winding mountainous roads while dodging wild cats.

Check in the resort. I was told this is a nice place by my travel agent (this was before internet reviews) and I requested a premium room and informed them that this is a Honeymoon so need Champagne, flowers, chocolate covered-strawberries, etc... in the room when we arrived. Nothing was provided and ALL rooms were exactly the same, complete with two twin beds bolted to the walls and a bathroom that fit only one person at a time. No TV, no room service, electrical outlets down the hall. My bride actually had to blow dry her hair in a public area.

What we found out the next day is that we had been sent, not to a romantic couple's get away, but to a family resort that catered to families with young children. All the activities were geared around a circus theme and we had kids marching around us all week singing silly chants and wearing costumes.

We spent the week drinking heavily. Didn't consummate until we got home.

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4. Family Not Invited

My husband and I planned to just go to courthouse and get married--with no parents getting involved because mine couldn't come. Husband couldn't get off of work the first time. The second time we couldn't find two witnesses. Husband ended up telling his parents. They insisted on being there. Made an appointment. Get to the courthouse, his parents are late and tick off the magistrate. His Dad, for some reason, can't stay off of his cellphone, which also ticks off the magistrate. Wedding was 15 seconds.

We leave to go on our "honeymoon." We were going to go to the aquarium, all four of us, our treat. His parents didn't really want to go and complained about it the whole time. Complained about the ride. Complained about the place we ate (we ate at a bar and his parents are strict vegans). Complained about the ride home. His mother told me I needed to lose weight. Finally made it home and went to bed.

Told his mother I didn't want anything for a bridal present or bridal shower--she insisted because she had friends that she had given their children presents and she wanted us to get presents from their parents to make up for it. She never could come up with a day, so none of my family could come (they all lived very far away). She didn't invite any of my family and then told everyone that my family didn't care about me because they didn't bother to come. She told me that what I was wearing was incorrect, I had a black shirt on, and was going to force me to change. We sat around with her church friends (none of who knew). After the party, she asked me what I had gotten which was $200 in cash and $50 in gift certificates. This made her mad. I didn't care at all. A week later a get a nasty call from her wondering why I hadn't sent out the thirty or so thank-you notes yet.

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3. Should Have Stayed Home

It started off well enough. We decided to get married at her grandparents house on the river. My parents had traveled from 5 hours away to get there and couldn't find the place so I left to go meet them. They weren't where they said they were and I ended up being 30 mins late. Her grandparents, whom I hadn't spoken to that much, turned out to be bigots which didn't go over well when my black grandfather showed up. I decided it would be fine to let my soon to be wife pick the music, so she walked down the isle to "In The Arms Of An Angel" by Sarah McLaughlin, (I wanted the Imperial March) which later turned out to be the song on the commercial for animal abuse... still gets talked about among the family. That song is quite the mood-setter and I cried during the vows to the point of not getting out the words so well.

Finally when I thought it was over, we get an envelope from my dad with a week's stay a hotel on the beach in Panama City, Florida... Awesome! Because we hadn't planned on taking a honeymoon because we were so broke, but after the wedding gift money we had enough to have a decent time after the gas cost of driving 14 hours there and back. However we go to get in the car and discover somebody thought it was a great idea to tie a bungee strap around the drive shaft as a prank, so we spent the first hour and a half untangling a rat's nest of bungee strap from under our car.

We head to our house to pack, starts pouring rain, we hydroplane into a ditch. Two hours and a tow truck fee later we get packed and leave. We drive all night (so no consummating the damned thing) get there and they tell us our hotel tickets aren't recognized. Fight with them for an hour, they call the regional office, they give us our key. We go to our room and pass out from exhaustion. Wake up to the sound of construction happening in the next room and it's raining buckets outside (little did we know it was going to last all week).

We explore the town alittle, go to Ripley's, go eat etc. Come back to room, and my wife now has a yeast infection (probably thanks in part to all the stress) so no direct bedroom fun our whole honeymoon. The fifth day we get a knock on the door and told our tickets were only for five days and if we weren't out by 11 we were paying for another day which was fine with us because at this point all we had left was gas money after all the unexpected cost. Drive back home and get a ticket for speeding 5 over, less than a mile from our house... The cop says "Congratulations" and hands us the ticket.


2. Run Like Forrest Gump

We were on our way to Singapore for our honeymoon. Both our parents had come to drop us at the airport. We were eagerly looking forward to this trip.

At the check-in counter, (after an excruciating 30 mins long line!) we presented our passports and ticket copies. While we were silently hoping for an upgrade, god had other plans in store.

The lady at the check-in counter said something like this - “Ms. Jain, your seat is XX & Mr. Jain your ticket is not valid.” It took me a while to realize what she was saying. “Ma’am, I think there has been some mistake, can you please check again?” I asked her. The lady took her time, checked and double-checked. Unfortunately, her findings were still the same.

I just stepped out and called my travel agent. He also could not make sense of the situation. He asked me to connect him with somebody at the airport counter of the airline. I may have beaten Usain Bolt’s record on my way to the counter. That ‘somebody’ was at the other end of the airport for some reason. Which meant another mad dash in front of an unappreciative audience.

I caught hold of said individual and my agent had a long discussion with him. Meanwhile, the check-in time was almost over and my wife was begging the check-in ladies to wait for a few more minutes. However, the conversation did not result in anything substantial and they had to let the flight go.

My parents called me after a few mins asking me whether our boarding was done. Till then I had held off on explaining the situation to them to avoid unnecessary anxiety pangs. But there was no way out now.

I was in constant touch with my agent to review alternatives. Next day was not an option, since we were supposed to board a cruise the next day and we would have missed that, ruining our entire trip.

There was another flight by a different airline in an hour, but they did not have a counter at the airport and bookings could only be done via their city office.

Murphy’s law was playing havoc with my life.

Finally, we found out that the last flight out was by Indian Airlines, which we could book at the airport. My agent confirmed that he would reimburse everything and I should book the tickets using my credit card. I did. The only advice we got at the airline booking counter was -- run like Forrest Gump or else you will miss this flight as well!

We did not need telling twice. So we made it to the check-in counter on time and secured the prized and elusive boarding passes. All this action had taken up a good 4 hours of our evening and hence we were famished. Once security check was done, we found a quiet spot at the food court and ordered something to fill ourselves up. I was sitting next to the electronic display of flight statuses. We had just unwrapped our sandwiches, when we saw “FINAL BOARDING CALL” written next to our flight. Which meant, you guessed it, another running spree towards the boarding counter.

As we came down from the food court, an airline official asked me if I am Mr. Abhay Jain. I replied in the affirmative and then he asked us to follow him as we were the only passengers who were yet to complete the boarding.

Going through the boarding gates, I thought that we would be looking at angry faces for delaying the flight. However, to our surprise, the flight was only 20% occupied. We had not even our put our seat-belts before the plane was on the runway. The good part was that we could sit wherever we wanted to and could even lie down flat and sleep.

All in all, it was an exciting way to get things going on our honeymoon. After returning, to our agent’s credit, he refunded the entire additional expense that we had to bear. The reason behind all this confusion apparently was that there was another Abhay Jain who had also been booked on the same flight by my travel agent. But the airlines thought that it was a typo and that triggered a chain reaction!

Abhay Jain

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1. Truck Chase

This was just part of our honeymoon, but it was quite a part.

This was the late 1990s, before many people had cell phones, and when phone coverage was pretty spotty anyway. We did a little California tour. First we went to San Fran for three days, then rented a car and drove to Napa for a day. At the end of that Napa day, we drove to Lake Tahoe, where we would spend three more days before driving back to Sacramento and flying home. This story happens on the highway from Napa to Tahoe.

We left Napa in the evening, after dinner. It was early fall, so it was still light out, but by the time we got to Sacramento, the sun was setting. We'd be driving the rest of the way in the dark.

Let me pause for a moment here and describe the rental car. It was a crappy four cylinder GM that could barely get out of its own way. Apart from being an unfamiliar car, it was downright unpleasant to drive. There was virtually no road feel at all; it was more like I was making suggestions to the car, and it was grudgingly relenting.

We approached the mountains in short order, but had no idea what we were driving through, because it was dark. Those of you who live in the sparse West know that when I say "dark," I mean "there's not a light on for miles and miles in any direction." It was pitch black.

Not only pitch black, but extra pitch black, because now we were passing through (unbeknownst to us) Eldorado National Forest. The road here goes up and down long, steep hills, and takes some fairly tight turns from time to time. Oh, did I also mention that it's mostly two lanes, with an occasional extra lane uphill for trucks to climb slowly in and let people by?

So here we are, on our honeymoon, in an awful rental car, trying to navigate a narrow mountain road in absolute blackness. I'm driving at a reasonable speed, at the speed limit as much as possible, but not knowing when I'm about to send us plummeting to our doom is making me very cautious.

Another vehicle comes up behind, riding very close, a pickup truck. I try to appease by speeding up to what I feel is a more than reasonable clip, but that doesn't help. Dude turns his brights on, and since his truck is considerably taller than my economy rental, I'm pretty much blinded. I turn the rearview away, but can't manage to do anything about the manual side mirror.

Finally, one of those extra lanes comes around, and the guy does a jerky crazy pass. In this moment of weakness, I flip him off and flash my brights at him when he gets in front of me. I figure whatever. I see it's a yellow Ford Ranger, and there's a passenger.

Oh, no. He falls back and gets behind me again.

I only have one choice in this situation: put some distance in between me and him. I have to speed up the mountain.

So I floor it, taking hills and turns as fast as the S-rated tires will allow. I am managing to put some distance between us, somehow, and I start looking for a place to escape. But on this road, through a forest, there's just not any place like that.

The best I could do was find a wide shoulder to pull off on. The guy was back behind a corner when I pulled over and stopped. I shut the lights off and waited.

Here come headlights, that has to be him. I'm hoping he just goes blowing by without seeing me. The lights aren't going as fast as I'd hoped. He's pulling over behind me.

Thankfully, he stopped his truck a few car lengths back. My new wife is looking out the rear window, she's telling me to go, go, go. "No," I say, as he opens his door and steps out. "Wait."

I watch him in the side mirror, coming up to my car. My wife is screaming at me now. Wait for it. Wait for it.

As soon as he got up to the rear door of the car, that's when I took off again. Now he had to run back to his truck and get in, I'd bought myself about ten seconds.

Now I'm back to driving, focused. My wife is quiet now. I'm looking, looking, for any road to actually turn off on, get out of view from the highway. I've got enough distance between us now that I haven't seen him in the rearview for a while, but I know he's back there. I know he's coming.

I remember seeing a road sign for the town of Strawberry. There was a little general store with a gas pump or two, but it was late at night, and it was closed. Just beyond it, however, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a road off to the right. I dived down it off the highway. No idea what was down there, but I could get us out of sight of the road.

That extra pitch black I mentioned got blacker as we crept down this one lane road through the dense forest. Now I was starting to wonder if I could even get myself turned around. We might be trapped.

As luck would have it, the road opened up to a large clearing, apparently paved, or maybe hard packed gravel. In any event, I could drive on it, so I got myself turned around so I could face nose out. Backed way up in the corner.

I shut the lights off. I turned the car off. We waited.

I don't think we even breathed for two minutes, sitting perfectly still. We could conceivably sit here till morning if we had to, or at least long enough that truck guy would be far away.

Suddenly, headlights, approaching from the left, from the direction of the highway. We are frozen. The lights clear the trees to our left, and it's the yellow Ford Ranger. We're frozen.

He drives by, and keeps going down this side road. We have evaded him.

My wife and I look at each other incredulously. A long second passes and I start the car. I quickly put it in drive and slink out of the cul-de-sac and back up to the road before I turn the headlights back on.

Truck guy is gone, but it's not until we get into Tahoe that I'm able to breathe easier.


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