James Ellis’ World Worsts
Name James Ellis
Who? Journalist, photographer and former travel editor for the UK Metro newspaper. Currently writes two blogs: 1095miles.com about his daily running challenge and worldofjames.com
Countries Visited 80 plus
1. Worst Flight Returning from Bangkok to London on Eva Air, a Taiwanese airline. I’ve had some scares in the past on flights, but this was the strangest. Mid-flight, the oxygen masks suddenly dropped down, the lights dimmed and exit lights lit up. Instinctively, I put the mask on and gave it a tug to get the oxygen going. No oxygen. People are panicking. The woman behind me is whaling. The cabin crew has their masks on. It goes on for ages — or so it seemed. It may have only been five minutes. Then the pilot comes out and is clearly astonished that people are wearing masks . He goes back into the cockpit and tells us that the electric system had been refitted and it was a glitch. They had no idea the masks had even dropped.
2. Worst Guides I was in Kenya in 2004 on the Laikipia Reserve taking a camel safari. There was a guide from the hotel and we had two Samburu Warriors (dressed a bit like the Maasai) to protect us. We were walking, leading the camel up a hill when we came into a clearing and saw a bull elephant just 10 feet away. The guide pulled his gun, I froze, the Elephant mock-charged a few steps and our fearless warriors — the ones meant to be protecting us — had made a run for it and were 300 meters away within seconds.
3. Worst Alcohol / Food Combo I typically try whatever. In this case it was Icelandic hákarl. They catch a shark, buried it for a year, dig it up, and pickle what’s left of the rotting meat, then serve it up with brennivin. After choking it down, I managed to say it was good. So they served up some more.
4. Worst Food Poisoning Chicken feet for breakfast in Hong Kong. (They had asked if we wanted a typical local breakfast and we had said yes.) When it started to go bad, my guide treated me with warm sprite and salt (her favorite remedy). I then turned the color of the exorcist girl and sand blasted the wall with my vomit.
5. Worst Statue In Wellington, New Zealand, halfway up the main shopping street. is a statue/fountain known as the bucket fountain. It has buckets on hinges that are meant to gracefully tip into the next and cascade water down to the lower ones, but it doesn’t work as it’s meant to. The top bucket violently tips and splashes everyone with water.