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From mankini-wearing tourists to short-sighted adulterers: The Globe’s 2017 Travel Hall of Infamy Awards​ ​

The 2017 Travel Hall of Infamy Awards

To those who should have stayed home

Boneheaded tourists continue to pack their suitcases – much to the vexation of fellow travellers and the eye-rolling amusement of the rest of us. From coffin-wrecking children to short-sighted adulterers, John Lee anoints this year's egregious globetrotters in our 33rd annual Travel Hall of Infamy Awards

The In-flight Workout Award…

…goes to the Bali-bound Qatar Airways passenger who decided to peruse her husband's phone while he was snoozing next to her. Idly swiping past social media posts and digital to-do lists, she suddenly stumbled on evidence of the guilty catnapper's apparent adultery – which is when all hell broke loose. The Hindustan Times reported that the spurned spouse launched a flailing physical attack on her now-wide-awake hubby, slapping him senseless while he struggled to defend himself. Flight attendants were unable to calm the incandescent wife, prompting an emergency landing in southern India, where she was presumably able to tear him to pieces on solid ground.

The Parental Excellence Award…

…goes to the couple visiting Britain's Prittlewell Priory Museum who decided to adorn photos of a fragile 800-year-old stone coffin by lifting their child into it for a grinning snapshot. Unfortunately, most of the snapping came from the coffin as a large chunk of masonry fell off and thudded to the floor. Setting a great example to Junior, the parents seized their sprog and ran off – leaving nothing but a holey relic in their wake. Museum conservator Claire Reed told the BBC the coffin was repairable but the incident had shocked staff: "You really don't expect people to try to get into the artifacts."

The Aussie Entrée of the Year Award…

…goes to the fun-loving Queensland men who were photographed swimming in and around a baited crocodile trap – close to where a toothy critter had killed a local two weeks before. Images of the grinning quartet emerged on social media, prompting regional Environment Minister, Steven Miles, to tell reporters, "I've seen some pretty ridiculous things in my time, particularly when it comes to crocodiles, but this one takes the cake." Local Mayor Julia Leu added her own incisive observation to ABC Radio: "I'm wondering if these fellows are vying for the idiots of the year award or the idiots of the century award."

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The Bare-faced Cheek Award…

… goes to six Czech tourists who donned those queasily revealing lime-green mankinis made infamous by Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat character to cavort around the "I love Astana" sign in the capital city of Kazakhstan – the country mercilessly lampooned in the infamous 2006 movie. Not everyone saw the funny side, though: Police detained the goose-pimpled bum brandishers, fining them $68 (U.S.) each for "committing hooliganism," according to a local news site. Baron Cohen later offered to pay the cheeky chappies' fines calling them his "Czech mates" in a Facebook posting.

The Old Lady Luck Award…

…goes to the superstitious 80-year-old China Southern Airlines passenger who did what any slightly nervous traveller hoping for a smooth flight would do while walking across the tarmac toward her plane: She tossed some coins into one of its engines for good luck. Maintenance crews scrambled to the scene at Shanghai Pudong International Airport as 150 passengers trudged back into the terminal. The woman later told police she was "praying for safety" but she should have added a plea for an on-time departure as well: The flight eventually left five hours late.

The No-fly Baby Award…

…goes to Brit Paul Kenyon who ticked the wrong box on U.S. visa waiver forms for his three-month-old grandson. Apparently, answering the question "Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?" in the affirmative is frowned upon, triggering a swift travel ban and a U.S. embassy summons for the drooling minor. "Baby Harvey was good as gold for the interview and never cried once," Kenyon told the Guardian, revealing the family had to pay almost $5,000 for replacement flights for their Orlando vacation. "Harvey's obviously never engaged in genocide or espionage but he has sabotaged quite a few nappies in his time," a rueful Kenyon explained.

The Cheapskate Philander Award…

…goes to Indian travel agent Motaparthi Vamshi Krishna who, according to a CNN story, allegedly concocted a nifty way to avoid vacationing with a potential online paramour. Realizing he couldn't afford the promised tryst, the intrepid (and married) lothario did what any self-respecting but cash-free playboy would do: sent the woman a fake airline ticket then tried to have the flight cancelled by dispatching a hijacking tip-off from a hoax e-mail account. Authorities beefed up security at area airports then quickly traced the e-mail via its IP address. The failed love rat was arrested on four charges.

The Old Bait-and-Switch Award…

…goes to Lithuania's national tourism department, which deployed breathtaking images of lovely buildings and landscapes to convince social-media followers – hashtag #RealIsBeautiful – of the joys of visiting the country. Which country, though, was the big question. Images of slightly less-than-Lithuanian places – including Finland and Slovakia – were used in the campaign, prompting the department to claim these non-local photos were simply meant to "communicate emotion." The online community responded with gleeful derision, posting images of other well-known Lithuania landmarks from Big Ben to the Acropolis.

The Scrumptious Selfie Award…

…goes to wildlife-loving tourist Loh Lee Aik, who was enjoying snapping photos of the famous dragons in Indonesia's Komodo National Park, until the giant, tongue-flicking reptiles snapped back. Watching the scaly revellers feast on a goat carcass, Loh got a little too close, prompting one of them to consider a human-flavoured side dish. "Luckily, it was a small dragon that bit him," a not entirely sympathetic police spokesman told reporters, adding that the visitor was rushed to hospital with leg injuries but none of the paralysis and hemorrhaging often associated with Komodo dragon chomping – which makes him lucky, right?

The Bum Rap Award…

…goes to the 29 men on two India-bound flights from Sri Lanka who tried sidestepping those annoying cabin-bag restrictions by deploying what customs officials later described as "rectal concealment." The uncomfortably seated passengers were found – upon "thorough investigation" – to have wedged a combined 10-kilograms of sparkling nuggets into areas where the sun doesn't usually shine. Authorities seized the bottom-based haul but as the value of the gold wasn't criminally significant enough, each was allowed to walk – somewhat gingerly – away. A spokesman quoted in the Guardian commented, "Rectum concealment by this many guys is a first."

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The Eeyore and Tigger Award…

…goes to San Diego's 18-year-old Luis Eudoro Valencia who drove up to the U.S. border from Mexico with one passenger and an all-too-hasty "nothing to declare" statement on his lips. But there was more than one other traveller in the car that day. Border inspectors shone a flashlight on a stripy furball curled between Valencia's feet, with the nervous lad claiming it was just a regular, if slightly sharp-toothed tabby. A biologist later confirmed the seized feline was an endangered Bengal tiger cub that the wildlife-smuggling teen had allegedly bought in Tijuana, apparently unaware that it could have grown to 250 kilograms and really messed up his bedroom back home.

The Ryanair Rompers Award…

…goes to the two just-met passengers on an Ibiza-bound flight who decided to create their own in-flight entertainment. But rather than squeezing into the washroom for their apparent mile-high shenanigans, the woman in question straddled her tattooed consort in his seat while appalled passengers looked away – or filmed on their phones. The videos soon went viral as Britain's Sun newspaper swung into action, revealing the man had left his pregnant fiancée at home to join friends on a boozy stag trip. Fellow passenger Kieran Williams told the newspaper he'd overheard the pair plotting their mid-flight assignation. "I thought they were joking. But 10 minutes later they actually did it," adding – somewhat unnecessarily – "They seemed so drunk."

The Lofty Lens Award…

…goes to the two camera-hugging U.S. visitors who couldn't be bothered to shoot the standard Vancouver tourist photographs. Bypassing the boring Gastown Steam Clock and the Stanley Park Seawall, they began scaling the landmark Lions Gate Bridge – towering 111 metres over Burrard Inlet – for some grand cityscape panoramas. Dozens of 911 calls reporting the backpack-wearing climbers flooded in and rescuers were quickly deployed to return the Americans to terra firma. Some locals tweeted their admiration for the wayward spidermen but others – mostly drivers – launched slightly more colourful comments after bridge traffic was snarled for more than two hours.

The Bridge of Sighs Award…

…goes to the gondola full of tourists who were so bewitched by the gorgeous Venice architecture sliding alongside them that they spent much of their voyage glued to their individual cellphone screens. Their unimpressed gondolier surreptitiously filmed the heads-down four – on his own cellphone, of course – then posted the clip on Facebook. Local online columnist Aldo Cazzullo responded, tutting over the tourists' behaviour but adding the gondolier should have distracted them from their devices with songs and stories – or perhaps he should have just tipped in the water and created his own viral video.

The Fragrant Feet Award…

The Fragrant Feet Award.

…goes to the twentysomething European backpacker on a hot and humid long-haul bus trip in Thailand who decided to get comfortable by putting her feet up – on a headrest just inches from a fellow passenger's face. Narong Thaopanya says he politely asked the woman to move her grubby totters but after she graciously declined he began snapping photos of her persistent, sweaty-socked rudeness – which was doubly offensive in a culture where feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body. Uploading the pics to a Facebook post that quickly went viral, he commented, "This woman's face was beautiful but she had no manners. The smell from her feet was filling the whole bus. It was hot and made me feel sick."

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