Mistakes happen in all the time, but they can pack a punch when you’re on the road. I made a few bad mistakes while traveling in Asia, some of them could have been prevented and others were just stupid. It is very important for me to learn from my mistakes and if I commit them again, shame on me. Without further ado, here are the crimes I committed while traveling in Asia.
No Full Face Helmet and a Mouth Guard While Riding a Scooter
I guess it’s time to talk about the worst mistake I made while traveling in Asia. The toll of this mistake I will pay until the day I die.
I have great reflexes on a bicycle as I ride every day. I know how to fall from it without hurting myself. I’m not a good scooter rider. I do not know how to fall from a scooter, so when I lost control of my scooter on a quiet mountain road in Jogjakarta I stopped the fall with my chin. I ended up with a gaping wound on my chin and two broken teeth. This is not only the worst mistake I ever committed, it was just the worst thing I ever did to myself. This was the worst day of my life.
Next time: I will not stop riding a scooter, hours before my kiss of death with the pavement we rode our scooters to Borobudur temple and it was so much fun. So I will seek out a full faced helmet and bring a mouth guard for my next trip
Thinking Traveler’s Insurance is for Suckers
It’s not. Accidents happen. I could have saved hundreds of dollars on hospital bills.
Next time: I’m getting the stupid insurance
Going to the Local Shaman and Instead of a Real Hospital
I got better treatment in hospitals in Indonesia than I could have ever gotten in Canada. When I came into a dodgy looking hospital in Jogjakarta to get stitches I was seen immediately. And yes, the stitches could have been done better, but the care of the nurses and doctors was incredible. They did the best with what they had.
When I had to get my stitches taken out in Labuan Bajo, I went to see some local “doctor” who cut one stitch and proceeded to poke my chin with rusty scissors. Her excuse? She didn’t have her glasses. Oh yeah and I had to pay 10 dollars for a bandage and the rusty scissor poke. She didn’t even take out the stitch she cut.
Next time: If you are in Labuan Bajo, do not visit Doctor Monica. There is a clinic nearby.
Missing Out on Diving in Flores
Vanity got in the way and I didn’t want to risk my wound not healing properly. Looking back on it now, the wound was dry enough and I could have dove in one of the best places in the world. Jonathan dove while I fiddled my thumbs on dry land. When am I going to be in Flores again? 🙁
Next time: Vanity is not getting in the way of diving
Rushing When Climbing Out of Dive Boat
Silly of me to think that I could easily carry fins, a waterproof bag and a BCD while climbing down a precariously balanced ladder. Well, one of my legs slid off and went on the inside of the ladder. I ended up with an awesome bruise that was four inches in diameter.
Next time: Jonathan is the designated carrier of heavy things.
Drinking Unfiltered Mountain Water
While climbing Mount Kinabalu we had no choice but to drink water that was in giant cisterns along the trail. That water and possibly badly cooked food at one of the restaurants gave Jon and me severe food poisoning. We are very careful with water while traveling in Asia. This was the only lapse in our judgement and it did not go unnoticed.
Next time: Drink the mountain water and pray? There isn’t a way in hell I’m carrying liters of water up a mountain for 4 hours.
Eating Raw Seafood in Questionable Places
After doing some research I found out that badly cooked seafood is one of the big culprits of food poisoning. The day before my birthday, Jonathan and I indulged in some raw oysters from Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan and a sushi tray from Costco. Let’s just say that I had the worst birthday that year. I blamed it on the sushi and vowed never to eat sushi from Costco again. Couple of months later we and our friends had oysters while at Jagalchi. The only friend who did not participate in raw oyster feast came out unscathed. At last, the connection was made in our tiny little brains.
Next time: No raw oysters, no raw seafood on any trip for me
My plan is not to do anything so stupid ever again… until the next crazy idea pops in our heads and we are compelled to act on it. I’ll let you know how that pans out. 😛 There are definitely worse mistakes one can make, but I still would not wish any of the ones above on anyone. I will try not repeat my mistakes, however I am bound to make new ones. It is, after all, in our nature.
What I will continue doing
Tap water is just for showers – While we had no trouble with tap water in Busan, in seedier places don’t even trust it with your teeth. The only reason we drank milkshakes in the Philippines was because they were sterilized with Rum and we were assured it was filtered water safe for our weak foreign bodies.
Go with the flow, not book things ahead of time unless absolutely necessary
Bring a 4G device – because the world is awesome and better than Canada at being connected
Travel with a 6’1” man because I don’t like the look of some of these people.