From our September issue: a hands-on Moroccan wedding planner, an unexpected late-night bathroom encounter, this month's naughty monkey, and more.
This Month's Prize!
Vietnam The best response we receive between August 29, 2009, and September 30, 2009, wins a 10-night trip for two in Vietnam, courtesy of Intrepid Travel. The prize includes the Spirit of Vietnam tour, with lodgings, some meals, and transport within Vietnam, plus the winner's choice of Urban Adventures—either a visit to a mountain village or a tour of the Mekong Delta. Does not include airfare to Vietnam. For more info: 800/970-7299, intrepidtravel.com.
How to enter: E-mail us at TrueStories@BudgetTravel.com or mail us at True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 7th Ave., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018. Full guidelines are available at BudgetTravel.com/truestories. The prize has an estimated value of $1,956. No blackout dates; prize valid until August 1, 2010. Taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. Prize is subject to availability, nontransferable, and nonnegotiable. Contest is open to residents of the 50 United States and its territories, except Arizona.
Trip Winner September's winner is Helen Cicirello of Leesburg, Va. Her prize is four nights at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, Calif.
My husband and I and our kids were checking in at the airport and answering the security questions: "Did you pack your bags yourself?" "Yes." "Have your bags been in your possession since you packed them?" "Yes." "Do you have any weapons?" Before my husband or I could respond, our 8-year-old son shouted, "Yes!" When we asked what weapon, he said no, he didn't have any weapons. The agent laughed and let us board. When we asked our son about it, he said he thought the woman had asked, "Do you have any Webkinz?" It's a brand of stuffed animal, and he did indeed have his.
Reminds us of college
One day when I was doing volunteer work in rural Peru, about 50 locals approached me. Explaining everything in Quechua (which I don't speak), they led me to their Carnival and had me do a traditional dance that involved whipping my male partner. Then they drew on my face with chalk and gave me chicha, an alcohol the Quechua make by chewing corn, spitting it into a vat, and letting it ferment—corn-spit beer, essentially. I managed to drink two cups. Needless to say, I loved it there. Jessica Cornett, Palm Harbor, Fla.
Next time, try the feta
My boyfriend and I were in Athens recently and had lunch at a really nice café. Our waiter didn't speak English very well, and we speak no Greek, but the menu was in English and we were able to order. Before the meal arrived, the waiter brought us some bread and an incredible cheese spread that we couldn't stop raving about. I was really eager to learn what it was, thinking we might pick some up before we left the country. I tried to ask if it was goat cheese, but our waiter just shook his head as if anyone should know what it was and said, "Phyllo Delphi." Shortly thereafter, the manager approached and asked, "You were wondering about the cheese, madam?" I said yes, and he called over our waiter, who brought the wrapper of the "local" delicacy: It was Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Erin Nathe, Carlsbad, Calif.
Naked story number one
My husband and I were on a cruise when, one night at about 2:30 a.m., he got up to go to the bathroom. I waited a couple of minutes and thought I might as well go, too. When I reached the bathroom, he wasn't there. I searched the cabin—even the closets and the balcony—but no Charlie. I couldn't imagine where he was. Then I heard a low voice calling, "Mary, Mary." I opened the hall door to find him locked out of our room. Not fully awake, he had gone into the hall and taken a few steps before realizing he wasn't in the bathroom. He didn't remember which cabin was ours and was afraid to knock on a door because he was stark naked. I told a friend about the incident later and said I was just glad nobody had seen him. She said, "You know they have security cameras in those halls." No wonder the cruise director kept smiling at us all week! Mary Keating, St. Marys, Ga.
Naked story number two—must be a trend!
After my husband and I checked in at a hotel in Baton Rouge, we went to our room. My husband entered first, and I heard him say, "Oh! Sorry, sir!" We had been given the key to someone else's room, and that someone else was already in bed. We settled into another room; then my husband went down to our car, and I decided to take a shower. As I was about to get in, I heard the room door. I peeked out of the bathroom, and there was a stranger! I don't know who was more surprised, him or me. He backed out of the room, and a few minutes later my husband came back and said he had a funny story. He had met a flustered-looking young man in the elevator and told him our story about walking in on a man in bed. The young man said, "I can beat that—I just walked in on a naked lady!" And I said to my husband, "I can beat that—I was the naked lady!" Denise Kerkhoff, Opelousas, La.
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