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The Chinese words “Ding Jinhao visited here” is seen on bas-relief in the 3,500-year-old Luxor temple in Luxor, Egypt. The teenager who defaced the ancient temple in Egypt came under fire in China earlier this year. (AP)
The Chinese words “Ding Jinhao visited here” is seen on bas-relief in the 3,500-year-old Luxor temple in Luxor, Egypt. The teenager who defaced the ancient temple in Egypt came under fire in China earlier this year. (AP)

The best of the worst travel behaviour in 2013 Add to ...

The Creative Use of Gourds Award

… goes to an airline passenger arrested at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport when two kilograms of drugs were found stuffed in some pumpkins in her luggage. The substance was believed to be cocaine, but since the offence took place around Halloween an even more addictive substance – sugar – was not immediately ruled out. The International Alliance of Drug Mules (an organization I just made up) has since criticized the woman for not diverting attention by dressing as a sexy witch or naughty nurse.

The Cereal Traveller Award

… goes to cornflake-loving Brit, Mick Hobday, who told London’s Daily Mail that his main motivation for spending $64,000 to travel to 63 countries in 10 years was to sample his favourite cereal in as many international varieties as possible. The 33-year-old flake muncher, who claims to have scoffed 4,000 bowls of brekkie goodness around the globe, says he likes to buy the local brands and take photos of himself eating them in situ. His favourite breakfast spots include Turkey, Egypt and Germany – which is fair enough since there’s obviously nothing else to do in those little-known places.

The Maple Leaf Award for Travel Excellence

… goes to Justin Bieber, Canada’s favourite export (i.e. we don’t want him back). The bouffant-haired Biebs hogged tabloid headlines wherever his spoiled entourage landed this year. Not content with allegedly urinating in buckets in public or smuggling his pet monkey into Germany, the uber-brat attempted a spot of oh-so-rebellious graffiti tagging on walls from Brazil to Australia. In the latter, his Gold Coast hotel gushed about the impromptu art bestowed on them – while the local mayor said he would be immediately supplying the popster with a graffiti removal kit.

The It Wasn’t Me Award

… goes to a U.S. tourist at Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo who took a closer look at the museum’s priceless 14th-century Vergine e all’Angelo Annunciatore statue. The unnamed American was reportedly attempting to measure the figure’s little finger when it broke off. Museum head Timothy Verdun accepted his apology, but felt it necessary to remind visitors: “The fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten – that is, ‘do not touch the works.’”

The Get A Room Award

… goes to the “former vintner and salon technician” on an Allegiant Air flight to Las Vegas who felt inspired to share their love with fellow flyers. Or, as they later pleaded guilty to in court: exposing themselves and engaging in oral sex and “other acts” in full view of appalled passengers. An attendant persuaded the amorous couple to cool off during the drinks service, after which they reportedly indulged in an encore. According to Oregon’s Mail Tribune newspaper, one passenger complained: “This is not the sex education I wanted to give my teenage sons.”

The Girls Aren’t Everything Award

… goes to 19-year-old Joe Stuttle, a British backpacker who left his bike, passport and personal belongings at a notorious Tasmanian suicide spot – then headed off to party with some young women he’d just met. When he returned the next morning, everything was gone but – handily – a large contingent of police officers was nearby. Reporting his missing possessions, the teen discovered the authorities were just about to begin a large-scale ground search for him. Stuttle’s parents later told the Daily Mirror: “Anyone who knows Joe will not be in the least bit surprised by this story – we certainly weren’t.”

The You Think You’re So Clever Award

… goes to U.S. TV producer Elan Gale, who kept the Twittersphere engrossed with a live blow-by-blow account of his battle with Diane, a fellow passenger on his Thanksgiving flight who was rude to attendants and everyone around her. Their spat swiftly escalated – he sent a note telling her to eat a part of his anatomy and she later slapped him – while thousands giddily retweeted everything as it unfolded. Several days later, Gale – who accrued 150,000 Twitter followers during the argument – admitted he had made the whole thing up. In a rare show of social media unity, the entire Internet curled its lip and called him a jerk.

The Traveller’s Revenge Award

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