Here’s to you, the boneheads, the scoundrels, the I’m-going-to-act-however-I-please-no-matter-how-it-affects-other-people travellers. We’ve compiled the year’s weirdest tales in travel for Globe Travel’s 29th Annual Hall of Infamy Awards.
The Making His Mark Award
… goes to a Chinese schoolboy who was so moved by his visit to the Luxor Temple that he scratched, “Ding Jinhao was here,” in Chinese characters onto a wall lined with 3,500-year-old hieroglyphics. Subsequent visitors from his home country spotted the scrawl and posted photos and outraged comments online, triggering an e-search for the naughty defacer. When he was traced to China’s Jiangsu Province, his chagrined parents quickly issued a national apology. No word from the boy himself, who may have lost his Weibo access for more than a week as punishment.
The Leaving on a High Note Award
… goes to the female passenger on an American Airlines service from Los Angeles to New York who insisted on warbling Whitney Houston songs at the top of her lungs. Fellow passengers were left fondly recalling those flights where babies scream their heads off while the plane was diverted to Kansas City to deal with what authorities later called a “very unruly passenger.” Restrained and cuffed by an onboard air marshal, the karaoke queen was escorted through the airport by two grim-faced officers – whilst belting out her hackle-raising rendition of I Will Always Love You.
The Worst Use of a Fire Extinguisher Award
… goes to 20-year-old Joseph Small, who startled hotel staff monitoring CCTV screens at the Premier Inn near London’s Leicester Square by emerging from a storage cupboard naked with a fire extinguisher hose trailing from his buttocks. After urinating on the carpet and hurling racial abuse at a Bangladeshi staffer who rushed to wrap him in a towel, he urinated in front of tourists while shouting – presumably to explain his behaviour – “I come from Sheffield in England.” Courts later gave him a curfew and a fine, and he stated he was “truly ashamed of himself.”
The Duly Restrained Passenger Award
… goes to the drunken first-class flyer on a LOT Polish Airlines flight to Toronto from Warsaw who, in a rage at being denied more booze, attempted to storm the cockpit and strangle the crew. Desperate for assistance to subdue the man, an attendant approached the plane’s largest passenger, only to find that he was an off-duty police officer and a goalie with Justice Hockey Canada, and that the rest of his 17-member team – all cops – was also on board. The officers took control of the situation and restrained the man in a seat, averting an emergency landing.
The Morning After Award
… goes to a fuzzy-headed Italian tourist at this year’s Munich Oktoberfest who spent a burptastic night chugging Bavaria’s finest liquid asset – then awoke the next day completely oblivious to where he’d parked his Volkswagen Golf. The hapless 40-year-old spent hours trundling the tramlines looking for his ride, later pinning flyers around the city and offering a $390 reward for its recovery. After five weeks and three return trips from his South Tyrol home, he got lucky: A local spotted the vehicle. The Italian was reunited with his wheels, no doubt triggering a night of partying and a possible long walk home.
The Rapper of the Year Award
… goes to the Air India pilot who posted a YouTube video of himself in uniform “singing” a self-penned ditty that, for some reason, did not go down well with his employers. The expletive-heavy tune has been viewed more than 225,000 times online and includes lyrics such as: “It’s been more than five months since I haven’t got paid” and “The news is everywhere, the airline is in a mess.” Describing the video as “immature,” Air India said it was investigating. The pilot, meanwhile, is mulling an album and a possible tour.
The Ignore the Velvet Rope Award
… goes to a group of young Russian photographers who waited until closing time at Giza’s Great Pyramid – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – then scaled its 137-metre stepped exterior to the summit. But they were not just taking cheeky selfies. Instead, the unconventional Egyptologists shot some breathtaking panoramas of the desert-fringed district, including the dusk-lit Sphinx and several surrounding pyramids. Now, Egypt’s government officially banned pyramid climbing in the 1980s – but the stealthy climbers probably knew that already.