When I was in Goa, a fellow traveller knocked on my door and when I opened it the man announced in his bad Indian English accent that he was alone and needed me to take him out and show him Calangute. I politely told him no, that he would find Indian friends alone the beach, and after about 10 mins of saying no in many different ways I finally closed the door.
Two nights later (well early hours of the morning), I was suddenly woken up by a loud banging on my room door. I panicked and sat their in the dark staring at my door, then after I calmed down I told myself it had to be the landlord, since the banging seemed to be going down the corridor. So I got dressed, and opened my door and peeked out, but oddly enough noone was there....(eh?) - so I called out 'hello...?'
All of a sudden a shadow moved out from across the hallway, the door was ajar...and it came straight at me. I practically cacked myself, pushed the door too, but the man had jammed his foot in...so I started shouting HELP, GET THE POLICE, SOMEBODY IS TRYING TO GET IN...HELP!!!! Luckily I was able to grab my whistle and I started blowing that. My door went loose, and I heard the door across the hall slam shut and the bolt go across, so I legged it out of my room and ran down to the family accommodation and banged on their door and woke them up....
They sent me back to my room whilst they dealt with the Indian man, and I listened at my door when he first pleaded ignorance, then when they threatened him with the police telling him this was serious, he then said alcohol made him do it...and then begged them not to call the police. So they told him if he packed his bags and left the area and kept away from me they wouldnt tell the police or his family. So he left.
I was initially very shaky, but I put it down to 'one of those things' and got over it very quickly. No damage had been done, I made the decision I made at that time - Im not going to beat myself up about it, I wasnt to know it wasnt an emergency. It was at the beginning of my world trip too - so I guess it made me a bit more vigilant and wary.
It happened in St. Petersburg, Russia, in july 2004. It is a general custom not to take a metered taxi in Russia's cities ('coz they're expensive) but to just raise your hand and wait for a 'regular russian' to pull over and bring you to whereever you want for half the price a taxi would. So I was waiting at a crossection for a ride (it was 4 in the morning) when a guy came up to me. He happened to be headed for the same direction I was, so we decided to share a ride. When a car stopped and we agreed a price, my travel mate Sergei asked me if I could pay, since he had no cash on him. But we would make a slight detour to get some money from a friend of his. Not the soberest after a night of partying in Petersburg's night club Metro, I agreed. He directed our driver into a very dark suburb, and in the darkest alley, we stopped. Some people were standing on the pavement, Sergei's friends, he claimed. Then he asked me if I had more money on me. When I said I had, he bluntly asked me te give it to him (for drugs, he winked), which I refused. At that moment he yelled something in Russian to his friends, who opened the doors at either side of the car (I was sitting in the back) and sat next to me, once again asking for my money, this time less friendly. As I had only about 600 Ruble, I didn't want to risk my life for such a small amount, and I handed them my money. They then turned to the driver, demanding his money as well. He had about 4000 Ruble (a month's wage)... After they left, the driver even brought me to where I needed to be, apologising himself a thousand times for driving us into trouble! The next morning, when I sobered out, I just realised how my russian adventure could have ended....
[ Edit: Edited at May 2, 2006 12:26 AM by Demian ]
Actually, mine was caused by myself.
...I was catching a tram in Nagasaki, Japan, and when I left the tram I didn't have my wallet. The problem was, no one could have taken it, as I had it tucked under my arm. And the dope I am, I must have dropped it somewhere along the line. Learnt from my mistake though, after losing about 30,000 yen (around US$300). Thankfully, Japan is a safe country.
This isn't as terrifying as some I've read here, but at the time I was more than a little worried!
Last summer I went to Denali National Park in Alaska with my family. They have regular buses from the vistor's building to the center of the park, and the ride takes about two and a half hours. There was one point where this rickety bus was going on a bumpy road along such a high, narrow ridge that I literally thought the vehicle was going to fall into this valley so deep and rocky that it looked like Doom itself. There was only about a foot and a half of road between the bus wheels and the edge of the cliff. There was an elderly German woman sitting in front of me who actually began to pray aloud!
Later that day, we had a bit of a scare when we thought that we had missed the last bus out of the park. It would've taken a couple days to hike out, and we were really worried about staying in the park overnight. It is allowed, but we were literally in the middle of nowhere (there wasn't a soul in sight!), we had no camping equipment and no way to fend off any bears. Luckily we caught the very last bus out!
[ Edit: Edited at May 8, 2006 12:13 PM by anna_mg ]
There was one point where this rickety bus was going on a bumpy road along such a high, narrow ridge that I literally thought the vehicle was going to fall into this valley so deep and rocky that it looked like Doom itself. There was only about a foot and a half of road between the bus wheels and the edge of the cliff.
There's a logging road (several probably) near Burgdorf, Idaho that rises from 800 feet to 6000 feet in a shorter-than-I-cared-for distance. It's gravel, no guard rails, lots of wash-outs and the Salmon River is straight down - way down. If another vehicle is going down while you are going up - one of you has to put it in reverse and try to find a wide enough spot in the road to let the other pass. Thankfully, when my best friend decided to "show my travel companion and me the sights", we had the road to ourselves. (That was 22 years ago and my friend hasn't lived it down yet!) That little excursion absolutely solidified my fear of heights. (Oh, and we are still friends - but I won't take another ride with him like that again - ever!)