A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.

It's a shame that life lessons generally have to be learned the hard way. Like don't send angry emails unless you've slept on it and don't try to pull short balls for 4 until you've got the pace of the pitch. Another age-old gem is to not let your mates look after your camera in the same bag as they've put their wet swimming clothes. Particularly if you're backpacking through Southeast Asia and smartphones don't really exist yet.

This was quite some years back and there's a four-day camera-less blackout in my travel photos as I sailed upriver through Laos into Northern Thailand. Before the river adventures, we'd gone swimming and I hadn't taken a bag, so when a friend offered to put my camera in his bag, I didn't think to grill him as to the moisture content. About an hour later I asked for the camera, only to find the lens foggy and with drips visible on the inside. The camera would turn on, but alas, it had taken its final photo. All it could do was whirr; a sad, pathetic whirr.

I later found out I'd done the wrong thing by trying to take photos with a clearly water-damaged camera. All the (subsequently learned) advice seems to be: leave the camera overnight for a better shot at resuscitation. Then there's the rice trick. Whether with a good old-fashioned camera or with a smartphone, there's enough evidence that the rice trick really does work. At least in minor cases of water damage, that is.


So the YouTube tutorials tell us, bung your wet device in a tray of rice overnight and you'll maximise your moisture-removal potential. And if that doesn't work, then rest assured your camera is stuffed and you'll be relying on everybody else for your holiday snaps. At least until you reach Chiang Mai and you find a camera shop.

How long should you wait for a stranger on holiday?

Coral Coast, Fiji, 2015. I was Suva-bound in the morning and whaddaya know, so was another chap at the resort. Over a couple of beers we agreed the bus would be too rough and slow and that a shared taxi was the way to go. We settled on a 9am departure.

As usual, the next morning I over-estimated my ability to pack quickly and found myself in an entirely predictable rush. Against the odds I somehow ended up being successfully (if messily) packed and checked out, wheeling my bag into the lobby at 9.02am.

Expecting to see my new friend and to apologise for my two minutes of tardiness. But he wasn't yet there. No apology necessary.

So I waited. 9.05am and he's still not there, but what's five minutes? I could've easily been five minutes late myself. 9.10am and I'm getting a fraction fidgety. What if he's slept in? 9.15am and I'm now annoyed. How hard is it to set an alarm? We a had a deal!

Deciding I had to go and wake him up, I asked the staff what room he was in.

"Oh Mr Jerkstore*? He left this morning for Suva at 9am," said reception. What!? I explained we were meant to be sharing a taxi, to which they replied that he'd mentioned he was indeed supposed to be splitting a cab with another guest, but that I'd "obviously" changed my mind. Somehow not being at reception at precisely, exactly, forensically 9am was evidence of an "obvious" mind change. Two minutes over time and the deal was off. Two minutes!

More crucially though, he didn't even give me two minutes. He'd departed on the dot of 9am, safe in the knowledge his fellow passenger had "obviously" decided to save Suva for another day. All that glass-clinking bonhomie the previous night was in vain.

Which raises the question: how long should you wait for a stranger while on holiday?

* Possibly not his real name.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and writes the RoxboroghReport.com