Proving once and for all that travel is stranger, funnier, and more heartwarming than fiction
This issue's winner is Maureen Phelan, of Metairie, La. Her prize is a four-night trip to Las Vegas, courtesy of Funjet Vacations. On a trip to the medina in Fez, Morocco, I was coaxed by a merchant to try his homemade gallium eyeliner. He applied it to my eyes with a toothpick-thin goat horn. The eyeliner burned fiercely. When the tears were gone, the gallium powder sparkled for the rest of the day, so I bought a bottle to bring home. Months later in the U.S., I wore it to work one day. The doctor I worked for thought it was lovely.
"It's gallium," I said.
"No wonder it burns," said the doctor. "You put lead in your eyes!"
Xanax. No, lithium. Maybe both
After getting an early-morning start en route to a fishing trip in northern Minnesota, I felt myself falling asleep at the wheel of my car. Seeing a wayside ahead, I realized a 15-minute nap would rejuvenate me. I parked in front of a beautiful tree-lined area and immediately dozed off. Unfortunately, while in my half-asleep state, I dreamed I was still driving, and to my immediate horror, I realized my eyes were closed. I snapped open my eyes, only to see a large pine tree dead ahead. Gripping the steering wheel and slamming down my foot on the lifeless brake pedal, I let out a bloodcurdling scream that would put any woman to shame. A second later, I realized where I was and what had happened. I started laughing uncontrollably. This maniacal display didn't sit well with the couple parked next to me; they looked at each other, started their car, and made a hasty exit. --Chet Holmes, Brookfield, Wis.
He's just jealous of the guys over at Buckingham Palace
My husband and I were shopping in London's Knightsbridge district, and he was carrying some of our purchases. As we approached Harrods, we were somewhat intimidated by the building's Edwardian bulk. At the door stood a guard in full dress uniform. "May I bring the bag into your store?" asked my husband. "No sir," the guide replied solemnly. "She'll have to wait outside." --Susan Douglass, Muncie, Ind.
Memo to Condoleezza Rice: Try a little frisbee diplomacy
For the past 20 years my family has traveled the world with Frisbees in tow. They're light, easy to pack, and have provided many hours of fun with new-found friends. My son met these three great kids--Gregory, Alfred, and Henry--in Nassau, Bahamas. From Kiribati to the Caribbean, it's amazing how a simple toy can bring such joy to a child's life. --Sharon Augustine, New Ringgold, Pa.
Finders keepers (and drinkers)
My wife and I were enjoying dinner in Grinzing, a suburb of Vienna known for its wine. When our glasses were empty, I noticed the couple at the next table had departed, leaving behind half a carafe of wine. I persuaded my wife to grab the carafe and fill our glasses. As soon as she placed the empty carafe back on our neighbors' table, the other couple returned to their seats. They had merely gone to the salad bar! We never knew whether they suspected our larceny, but we tried to appear innocent as they requested more wine from the waiter. --Clifton Bennett, Zillah, Wash.
And in 15 years she'll come back to you with trust issues
On a recent family vacation to Pensacola, Fla., my sister-in-law played a trick on our daughters. She purchased a bag of ornamental starfish and planted them around our towels and beach umbrella. While combing the beach, my daughter Noelle came across this starfish and said it was her find of the day. --Marc Babiar, Leavenworth, Wash.
Gross food story of the month
My husband and I were eating in a local restaurant in Cap Haitien, Haiti, when I ordered the consommé, expecting a clear broth. In Haitian cuisine, however, consommé means stew. No problem. At the time, food was scarce and they made do with what they had. There were bits of vegetables, cassava dumplings, and goat--the available meat at that moment. Goat is naturally bony, so I wasn't surprised to be sucking on a lot of bones. What I didn't expect to suck on was a row of teeth! --Cathy Buttazoni, Edmonton, Alberta
Bolivians love their hats, as anyone who's visited the Andean country can attest. Thus it required much discussion with an older gentleman in Sucre for me to finally obtain my treasure. "You can buy one in the market," he said, through a translator. "Mine is old and I'm afraid it doesn't smell good." I wanted a real Bolivian hat from a real Bolivian, I told him. He was honored, and we struck a deal. He then asked if I'd like to have my picture taken wearing his poncho, while he wore his hat one last time. Both the hat and photo are prized possessions. --Peter W. Morris, Boone, N.C.
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