From our February issue: Readers share anecdotes about eating mountain oysters, a honeymoon with 11 people, an unexpected encounter at a dairy farm in Ireland, and more.
Aruba The best response we receive between Jan. 31, 2009, and Feb. 28, 2009, wins a trip to Aruba, courtesy of the Aruba Tourism Authority. It includes air from New York, five nights at the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba, transfers and a snorkeling trip by De Palm Tours, and a tour by Aruba Off-Road. For more info on the Aruba Tourism Authority: 800/862-7822, aruba.com.
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Cruise Winner February's winner is Lorena Aguilar of Woodbridge, Va. Her prize is a 14-day South American cruise, courtesy of eCruises.com.
My husband and I went to Caiazzo, Italy, to see my relatives. They don't speak English and my husband doesn't speak Italian, so I was the translator. On our first night at my cousin's house, she handed me two towels and a small box labeled INTIMO. My husband assumed it was for "intimate" purposes for the two of us and tried to rush me off to the bedroom, yelling, "Grazie! Grazie!" That's when I realized he was excited about a box of soap for the bidet. As I explained things to my relatives, they laughed hard, and for days the men in the family kept nudging my husband and giving him the thumbs-up.
How to create a vegetarian
Last summer, our family spent a night in Amarillo, Tex., and ate at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Our appetizer platter had mountain oysters, which we enjoyed thoroughly. My wife and I and our daughter assumed they were breaded seafood. Three weeks later we heard the name again—and learned that mountain oysters are actually fried bull testicles! Someday this photo will be great blackmail material. Alan Freed, Ambridge, Pa.
Isn't it illegal for 11 people to go on a honeymoon?
When my husband and I were engaged, his parents said they would give us a honeymoon to remember. We instantly had visions of Hawaii or Mexico. Not quite. They told us we were heading to Disney World in Florida, then added that they'd always wanted to go themselves and were coming along. "That's great!" I told them—what else could I say? In the end, my mother-in-law invited two friends, the friends' three kids, and my sister-in-law and her husband. I can't say a lot of honeymooning went on, but my in-laws did give us a trip we'll never forget. Cristina Beitz, El Cajon, Calif.
It really looked like a rifle?
My husband and I went to a rental-car counter at the airport in Cancún. Before we signed the contract, I noticed that if we returned the car with even minor damage we would be charged $1,000. We decided not to get the car, but the agent wouldn't give us the contract, which had our credit card number on it. The conversation got very heated, and the agent mentioned calling the police. I thought that was a good idea and went looking for an officer. I saw a man in uniform holding a rifle and explained the situation to him in Spanish. But slowly I realized that his uniform wasn't quite right and his rifle was...a broom. I was speaking to the janitor! I felt ridiculous. Luckily, my husband had managed to snatch the contract. Bonnie Worthen, Pendleton, S.C.
Fuel up at the grass station
In Rotterdam, a friend and I parked our car and wandered around the city. Later we realized we had forgotten the location of our garage. We found our starting point, which was the site of an outdoor environmental exposition, and asked a few people where the nearest garage was. Finally one guy said, "You mean the car park? I'll take you." We were relieved—until he walked us to an artwork in the exposition. Next time, we'll mark our map. Jill Mazur, Los Angeles, Calif.
Then the fog rolled back in
After months of planning a trip to Machu Picchu, I arrived at the magnificent site. The weather was not cooperating, and most of the area was under heavy fog. Finally, the cloud cover lifted, and I hurried to pose for a photo so I could prove I had been there. But a llama decided he wanted to get in the picture too! Jodi Resch Brownell, Crandon, Wis.
Ever heard of Tide to Go?
My wife and I visited her brother in Mozambique. The first night, I was feeling crummy and lay down, but everyone else had a huge pasta dinner. The next day, we went to meet members of my brother-in-law's church. My wife had forgotten to pack a dress, but after searching for an appropriate outfit, she appeared in a white linen shirt and a yellow wraparound skirt with a brown and red design. As we toured the town, what seemed like every dog within 50 miles came and followed my wife closely. Finally we got away from them and returned to my brother-in-law's place to change and eat lunch. Before we sat down, my wife brought out her skirt and spread it across the table. Turns out the dogs had not missed the previous night's spaghetti sauce splatters, which looked like part of the pattern of the tablecloth. Erik Asbjorn, Bayville, N.J.