Weird travelling experiences

This morning, at my hotel, I go down to breakfast and see someone laying down on the dining area floor. I thought it was strange that the emergency personnel aren’t in more of a rush, but maybe people are just more laid back in Puerto Rico. The police are standing around while the paramedic starts removing the electrode pads and covers the body with a sheet. Apparently, a man who looks like he was in his early 60s passed away while eating. Lost my appetite, started thinking about mortality and now I’m with my husband at the other hotel where his meeting is convening instead of exploring the neighborhood our hotel is in, writing by the poolside, walking on the beach or taking a nap. So I start reading AO threads to distract myself.

What weird, macabre or eerie travelling experiences have you had?

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Yikes! I can see how that would spoil a meal and fast. Somewhat similarly I was in a road trip with a buddy years ago and we stopped in Vegas. It was weird enough pulling into Vegas after spending a few weeks camping in the desert, but we woke up in the middle of the night to lights flashing outside our dive motel in downtown with a bunch of police cars and the coroner van. Curious.

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IKR? Frequent travel in the past couple of decades and nothing as odd as this has ever happened. I know we all have to punch our tickets at some point but the suddenness and ordinariness of it quite jolted me out of the usual complacency. We take living for granted - I think I’m going to tick off more from my experience-life list faster than I’ve been doing, which was really letting things happen versus taking action.

About your dive motel, police and the coroner van, I’m now curious because about what happened.

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I dont know for sure because I have never been there but from knowing quite a few Puerto Ricans who have told me things about the state of their country, I think what you saw in terms of the lax attitude of the medical personal may also be emblematic of the ongoing health crisis that is occuring in Puerto Rico.

Huricane Maria completely destroyed much of the infrastructure of the country including the health care system which was already on its last legs anyway because of continuous federal cuts to public spending and a massive government-debt crisis.
I dont really want to delve into politics , and I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but I deeply believe that a whole new chapter of problems for Puerto Rico started in 1917 when the US simply filled the imperial void left by the Spanish and absolutely nothing very positive has occurred since.

Having said that , self determination and independence are not really feasible options economically at this time either , so it is one big catch 22 type situation. Nevertheless I hope the Boricuas get it one day , for 500 years they haven’t had the opportunity to forge their own future as a free and independent peoples or a sovereign nation.

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I think you have now become a “dreamer of the day” Anya , hehehe , :slightly_smiling_face: Despite the morbidness of this experience it can only be positive in the long-run.

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You’re very right - talked to one of the bartenders tonight and apparently, another man in his 60s passed away by the pool last month and his body was just released recently. He had to be cremated because they don’t have space, so many casualties from the hurricane are still at the morgue and it takes them time to do postmortems.

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My weirdest travel experience happened in rural Thailand. I lost my glasses somewhere in our room. Without them, I’m blind as a bat. This is the first week of a month-long tour, we’re leaving for Laos NOW. I can’t find them, I can’t see without them, and I can’t replace them in this rural area.

One of the staff suggested asking the spirits of the place. Told me to offer them a shot of alcohol, clap (to get their attention), and politely ask them to help me find my glasses. Being desperate, I did that.

As soon as I finished, I heard a loud ‘thump’ in the closet. Like something good-sized fell over. A bit nervous, I opened the closet door. I couldn’t see anything fallen… but there were my glasses, sitting on a shelf. Which was doubly odd because I hadn’t used the closet in our one-night stay.

Said thank you, offered the rest of the vodka… and still had time to make my connection, just barely.

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Not sure if this counts as a travel experience, since I was driving through the western US on a job-related task: but I once stopped at a tiny town in the middle of Montana to have dinner and spend the night. The motel clerk told me the only place to get a “decent” meal was the little bar and grill downtown—downtown being a drugstore, a tiny supermarket, a couple of office buildings and a gas station. It was pouring rain, so I drove to this place and was surprised to find that the little parking lot and surrounding block was packed with cars. When I got inside, more surprise to find the restaurant was filled with people. I looked around the place, as there appeared to be no hostess or anyone there to help me find a table; then I walked up the entrance of the bar and saw an open casket with the body of man lying in state on a long table. As it turned out, they were holding the wake for a well-known member of the community who had just died.

The waitress told me she could seat me at the bar, but I’d lost my appetite. I ended up driving to a convenience store/gas station several miles down the highway and getting a slice of pizza and a bag of chips for dinner. Yes, I’ve heard terrible stories about gas station food, but at least I didn’t have to eat it in the presence of a corpse.

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I sit on my computer everyday wondering when are we finally going to hit rock bottom, cause for me that’s the only way our society will finally wake up. I hardly ever read or watch news nowadays because is all the same: murders, political stuff, everything is getting worse, etc. Nothing surprises anyone anymore, is a daily routine.

It’s been almost two years and there’s still about 30,000 houses with FEMA tarp roofs. Every year more productive people migrate to the states or some other country because it gets harder to make a living.

But you’re right, this has been foreshadowed for decades. Still, people prefer to respond when is too late rather than prevent. If it doesn’t affect them, they turn the other way and pretend is not happening. I’d love to see a turnaround, but I don’t expect it in my lifetime.

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I’ve met quite a few Boricuas in Mexico and in Spain over the years who’ve told me some really depressing things , I really dont know what to think about it other than it is incredibly sad how things have happened.

In my opinion (and it’s probably not the most informed one) the tragedy of Puerto Rico has been the fact that it is a country that has gone from being shackled to one country and empire to being shackled to another country/empire , neither of which appear to have given a damn about improving the lot of the people. I think that Puerto Rico will reach a cross roads in which it is going to have to decide its future with great care.

All I can say is that becoming the 51st US state seems IMO like a very bad idea , almost like jumping from a frying pan into the fire. Especially if you consider that history has so far shown that being a US commonwealth country hasn’t led to any notable improvements in infrastructure or social development.

I think that all the politicians in PR that are pushing for a move of that kind have watched too much Harry Potter because its not going to be a magic wand that wipes away the mountain of debt. Neither will it suddenly spark an outpouring of compassion from the US congress leading to welfare and development.

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Wow! That’s amazing. I do believe in mischievous spirits.

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My thoughts exactly, there’s an uninformed mentality going on about how statehood will magically solve everything. In recent years it seems less and less people believe the fantasy story but prefer voting for the same parties cause they think there’s no other choices. Even with new parties emerging every four years, they never seem to break past 15% of the total votes. It doesn’t help a good chunk of society doesn’t care about the elections and simply stay home or hang out.

I don’t think the statehood (which I oppose) will ever come and politicians know it, but is their campaign seal of approval and will keep using it for as long as they can milk it.

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Mine was more of a “How did I wind up in an episode of some odd, violent HBO show?” than anything else. I had a business trip to Nogales (both Arizona and New Mexico) about twenty years ago.
Part 1: Arrived on the Arizona side, settled into my motel (late on a Saturday night), and was woken up a couple hours later by two truck drivers nearly coming to blows outside my window - one had apparently cut the other off on the road, and the second one was threatening to shoot him. Nearly rolled off the bed onto the floor.
Part 2: Got picked up by the engineer who I was visiting. Getting into the customer’s site was an adventure in armed guards, razor wire, I think an electrified fence. Worked the next day/evening up till about midnight on the Mexican side of the border (problem resolved), and then - had to get back to the US side. One of the customer’s engineers drove us (one Mexican engineer and myself) back to the border, and then we had to split up - the entrances were pretty far separated for US nationals and foreigners. So had to walk about a block in near darkness on one of the scarier streets I’ve ever walked, got to the huge lights at the border, and got in line - everyone else there trying to get back to the US was clearly in some kind of altered state. Lots of odd questions, because I looked really odd for the situation. But got through it and then went to visit my parents, who lived in Arizona at the time. I told them where I was and my Dad casually remarked “Yeah, they’ve had some bad shootouts at that border crossing recently”.

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I guess there are very few examples of States in the region which show a way out of this catch 22 situation.

The Cuban socialist system isn’t replicable , desirable or feasible (Although lets be honest the educational and health care system is kick ass over there) to replicate in PR and neither would it be wise to have a similar strained and conflictive bilateral relationship with the USA , especially at this time with the current administration.

The Dominican Republic is better off than PR in terms of the economy and aspects of the infrastructure but it is another country with deeply entrenched and endemic levels of corruption and again , while it is at least theoretically a sovereign nation state the US wield a disproportionate amount of power behind the scenes. Haiti… well , lets move on.

The recent move in Jamaica to ditch the Queen as monarch is mainly a symbolic gesture and they will probably always be a British commonwealth country.

Then there is Panama , which is an interesting one with historic parallels , but they have had the canal as a bargaining chip which is a massive asset. Not to mention the Panamanians have historically had politically established figures like Torrijos that advocated for greater sovereignty which PR to the best of my knowledge has never had in its deck of cards ( Although thankfully PR has never had a General Noriega).

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On our wedding trip (Halloween 2009), we were walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans. We stopped to admire the mail slot on the door of a house. Later that night while we slept, that house was on fire, and the owner had been murdered. A few years later, on our anniversary trip (Halloween 2014), we woke up in Galveston, walked out on our balcony to enjoy the view, and saw a body lying in a field, the victim of a motorcycle accident.

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Oh my goodness…

I’ll have to give this some thought. I’m currently commenting to get notifications on this, though, because these are incredible!..

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Hey, looking at it from the other side - there are former US territories that have the problems Puerto Rico has without the automatic access to the continental US and with people desperate to get visas. What I’m saying is that with or without the US, countries can pretty much mess up their own government/administration and sometimes it’s cultural in nature - for example, an entrenched patronage system, accepted nepotism, etc.

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Wow. Just, wow.

I know, right? It would probably be safer for everyone if we didn’t travel on our anniversary!

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