The Unfortunate Photo: Flipping Off The Acropolis (not really)

Indira and I take a break from our sprint to the ferry to look at the Acropolis.

Indira and I take a break from our sprint to the ferry to look at the Acropolis in the distance.

Athens, Greece, 1995. After meeting up with my friend Indira at 3 a.m. in the Athens airport, we slept in a hotel for about 4 hours before getting up to catch a ferry to the Greek islands. Underestimating how long it would take to get to the ferry, we ended up sprinting to the port. However, we took a two-minute break so we could revel in the Acropolis. Two minutes, photo, done.

Because we spent all our time island hopping, I never made it back to the Acropolis. So this is my memory. Oh, and it appears that I’m giving the Acropolis “the bird” or maybe just the photographer. Actually, I was pointing with my index finger, but it looks, suspiciously, like my middle finger.

Travel Oops: Packing Weapons of Mass Distraction


© Wikimedia Commons

Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 2011.

In a bulky badass stride, a muscular police officer with a military precision haircut approaches the security scene at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. He wears a flak jacket while pepper spray, handcuffs and extra clips adorn his gun belt. Clearly, this guy is packing heat.

Moments earlier, a group of TSA agents had clustered around a confiscated item. Redirecting everybody but us, one agent shut down an entire row of security and called in the cop.

Travelers shoot withering looks our way while my husband Kurt and I, along with our kids Eddie and Kasey, stand at the end of the conveyor belt. Returning from Mexico, we need to make our connecting flight to Denver.

Although no one actually informs us, Kurt and I know exactly what is wrong. I look over at Kurt, who rolls his eyes. Then our six-year-old son Eddie asks the all-important question:

“Am I going to get my marshmallow gun back?”

© Stephanie Glaser

Eddie (left) and his friends armed with their marshmallow guns. © Stephanie Glaser

Months earlier, Kurt had made Eddie a marshmallow gun out of PVC piping after he had seen one at a carnival. You can actually fire marshmallow “bullets” from the toy by blowing them through any of the pipes’ openings. Like a veteran SWAT team member, Eddie assembles the entire thing, which sort of resembles a white sniper gun, in about 29 seconds.

So now we wait at the Phoenix Airport for the marshmallow gun to either be cleared or confiscated for good. Apparently, due to the Transportation Security Administration’s protocol, a professional must inspect the contraband — especially when it’s material that people use to make bombs.

“I don’t know, Bud.” Kurt answers.

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Travel Oops: Halted by “The Hoff” at Les Halles in Paris

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

What is it with Europe fawning over David Hasselhoff? He was HUGE there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Seriously. The guy actually sang as the headliner at the Berlin Wall on New Year’s Eve in 1989. Perhaps Germany brought “The Hoff” in to provide some comic relief after all the turmoil, tragedy and strife the wall had brought since 1961.

But no. The Germans were serious. Stationed on a crane overlooking the wall, Hasselhoff performed the song, “Looking for Freedom,” which had dominated the pop charts in Germany earlier that year. The Hoff wore a piano keyboard scarf and a jacket blinking with lights. Yep. He did. The Light Bright jacket actually took attention away from the sledgehammered, chipped, chiseled up and nearly demolished wall.

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

Frankly, this news event should not have been that surprising to me since the Hasselhoff had captivated Paris two years before in July 1987, and I was a witness to the phenomenon. If an American can create a French Frenzy well, then what’s to stop him from playing in a prelude to the unification of Germany. It’s almost like Hell freezing over, right?


Two years earlier…

I celebrate with Deb as we land on French soil.

I celebrate with Deb as we land on French soil.

After saving money for a year, my friend Debbie and I traveled through Europe on our own. France was definitely a big part of the itinerary. We couldn’t wait to experience Paris, The City of Lights.

Debbie was fluent in French and while I didn’t know the language, I would ask her to tell me how to say various phrases, and I would blunder my way through them. Trying to blend in, despite the language barrier, I wanted to be French while I was in Paris that summer.

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Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo —Is that Vomit in the Viewfinder?


With digital cameras, it’s so easy to delete photos with mistakes or unwanted shots. Sometimes those pics can be gems, however. At the very least, they may be a reminder about a funny incident or the challenge to get the photo in the first place. So Travel Oops has a new feature: “The Unfortunate Photo!” 

Melbourne,  Australia (above). I really wanted a family photo with a cityscape of Melbourne in the background. We chose a bit of an awkward spot in terms of getting several buildings in the shot. My friend Anne took the picture and was definitely intent on getting the right angle.

Unfortunately, with that angle, she also inadvertently included a pile of barf, which we had almost stepped in moments before. It caught my eye after I picked up the developed shots, and now it’s really the only thing I see when I look at the photo. It cracks me up each time.

Travel Oops: “I have a Million Dollar Idea” — Milo Lids

I had a million dollar idea once — and this was no “pet rock” or “Snuggie.” My million dollar idea was Milo lids. A really good idea, or so I thought…

One day, when my grammar lesson was tanking at the school where I was an exchange teacher, I asked my Australian year 8 students what their favorite food was or what I should be sure to try while I was in Australia for the next year.

The unanimous answer, of course, was Vegemite, Australia’s favourite concentrated yeast extract spread. Aussie kids are pretty much weaned off the breast and on to Vegemite. I had tried it and wasn’t quite there yet with what tasted like congealed soy sauce paste.

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