Travelers' Tales From our November issue: Readers share anecdotes about a police escort in Mexico City, mistaken identity in Sicily, and a bridge under troubled water. Budget Travel Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


Travelers' Tales

From our November issue: Readers share anecdotes about a police escort in Mexico City, mistaken identity in Sicily, and a bridge under troubled water.

Bridge under troubled water

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My wife and I spent two days in Casablanca on our way to Greece. A taxi took us to our hotel via a highway. Coming home, we spent one more night in Casablanca at the same hotel. Night had fallen by the time we landed. This time, the driver who picked us up took a different route, turning off the highway onto an unpaved, unlit road on which ours was the only vehicle. The road seemed to lead away from the city. My wife, who had been reading a true-crime book, clutched my arm and said, "This isn't the way to our hotel. He's taking us out into the country to kill us!" Our driver brought the taxi to a stop and turned to his wide-eyed passengers. "I am not," he said in perfect English. "This is a shortcut."

The pony express
Looking for a taxi stand in Mexico City, I asked some mounted policemen in a park for directions; I spoke little Spanish, but after some gesturing on both sides, I set off in what I thought was the right direction. Half an hour later, the same policemen trotted up to me. One of the officers dismounted and had me get on his horse. Then he handed me his sombrero and led the horse out of the park, across four lanes of traffic, and all the way to the taxi stand. People waved and honked, and a few even took pictures. I guess they thought I was a celebrity. Jennifer Ochoa, Long Beach, Calif.

Bridge under troubled water
Our group left Matema, Tanzania, for the drive back to Dar es Salaam for our flight home. The roads were flooded by heavy rains and driving was difficult, so I was relieved when we reached a bridge. But the support under the bridge was broken, and the car ended up in the water. Our bags were lost, but we were saved. People came from miles around to help. My fondest memory of the trip is of the kindness of those villagers. Laurie Hodgson, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Try Chincoteague Island
When I booked a trip to Mackinac Island, Mich., I thought we would land on the island. Someone at our hotel told me we wouldn't have a problem getting a horse-drawn taxi at midnight, when our flight would get in. When we landed and saw cars, my husband was puzzled and said he thought there were no cars on the island. What was the problem? We'd landed at Pellston airport, which is 15 miles away—on the mainland! I called the horse-taxi service, and the dispatcher said, "Lady, my horses don't swim that well." Anne Curwin, Little Canada, Minn.

Modesty is overrated
After my daughter became engaged to an Italian Air Force pilot, we planned an extended stay in Italy. We found an apartment in a town close to her fiancé's base. Using the washing machine to do our laundry was easy, but drying our clothes meant hanging them on a drying rack on the balcony. We didn't want people to see our unmentionables, so we hung them at the back of the rack. But on one of our morning strolls, we saw an old woman sitting below her clothesline, where her big white granny underwear was waving like a banner! Deborah Vivona, Edmond, Okla.

She put Rudolph out of work
The night before my visit to Camelot Adventure Lodge in Moab, Utah, I was so excited about riding a camel that I was unable to sleep, so I took a sleep aid. As I swallowed the tablet, I realized I had also swallowed a tooth from a partial plate. The next morning, I found a dentist, only to be told to come back in four hours. So my cousins and I searched through a store's Halloween decorations and found a set of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth. We replaced my tooth with one that also acted as a night-light, and I didn't miss my camel ride. Judy Patterson, Florence, Ala.

Not quite Italy's most wanted
Our visit to Sicily was interrupted when the police picked me and my wife up off the street and took us to the station. Someone had identified me as one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives. They suspected me of murder, drug trafficking, and money laundering. I was about the right age, height, and weight, and looked similar to an FBI picture. After four hours, I was released, to the disappointment of the FBI and the Italian police—and my wife, who had offered to identify me as the fugitive to get the reported million-dollar reward. J.E. Lee, Las Cruces, N.M.

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