After a semester abroad in Costa Rica, I traveled with a friend through Central America. We missed the last ferry from Guatemala to Belize, so we hitched a ride on a large canoe that was filled with at least fourteen people, piled high with cargo, and equipped with an outboard motor. Everything started out well, but far from land the motor cut out. The crewmen tried to start it, but nothing happened. Suddenly, I noticed what looked like a black wall in the distance approaching us quickly. It was a wall of rain!
To top it all off, my friend started to have Montezuma’s Revenge, with no opportunity for relief in sight short of jumping overboard. I started getting really frightened, imagining our overloaded canoe, which now seemed dinky in the vast ocean, getting tossed and sinking in a tropical storm. When the torrential downpour hit us, my friend and I had no protection. We huddled together and prayed that we would survive. We did, but I tell you we both kissed the ground gratefully when we reached Belize. Then my friend ran off to find a much-needed bathroom.—Carmia Feldman, Davis, Calif. was a finalist in the the 2010 World’s Unluckiest Traveler Contest, from TravelGuard Insurance, beating out some 800 other tales of woe.