True Stories

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Proving once and for all that travel is stranger, funnier, and more heartwarming than fiction

New Prize: Airfare for Two to Tahiti
If your True Stories submission is the best one that we receive before March 31, you'll win round-trip airfare for two to the glorious island of Tahiti, courtesy of the folks at Air Tahiti Nui. The tickets--which are economy-class, for service out of Los Angeles International or New York City's John F. Kennedy airport--are valid Sept. 6, 2006 to May 31, 2007. The prize has no cash value, and is nontransferable and nonnegotiable. Taxes are not included (they usually cost around $150-$175). Blackout dates may apply. Blackout dates may apply. For further information on Air Tahiti Nui, visit or call 877/824-4846.

How to or True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018. Read the full guidelines.

This month's winner
This month's winners are Ted & Mary Lou Veremeychik of Fairport, N.Y. Their prize: a seven-night walking tour of Costa Rica, courtesy of Cross Country International Walking Vacations.

While touring Yellowstone National Park, we stopped at numerous viewing areas overlooking the Yellowstone River and the Upper and Lower Falls. Among the throngs of tourists, we repeatedly observed an elderly gentleman cautiously leading his companion from site to site. Finally, at Inspiration Point, we came upon them sitting on a bench. The gentleman was describing in great detail the natural beauty, so that his companion could enjoy what she couldn't see. She was blind, and their devotion to each other was obvious. It was by far the most emotional moment of our three-month vacation.

Here's twenty bucks, if it'll help
In the Hanoi airport on our way home, my friend told me she put all her spare currency in the charity box. Since I had no use for my leftover dong, I went to check out the box. It left me a bit speechless. Stacy Friedman, Astoria, N.Y.

It's a move straight from the Pepe Le Pew handbook
Last summer, while in Paris, I took an evening cruise on the Seine. The cruise was very peaceful until I felt a nice hot tongue on my neck. The guy next to me had licked me! I turned to him and said, "Excuse me, what the hell are you doing?" "Hey baby, it's OK. I just wanted to see how you be tasting," he replied. Talk about the city of love! Danielle D. Grimm, Rochester, N.Y.

Behold, the merman of Venice
My wife and I arrived at the Venice airport only to discover that my bag didn't make it. On our third and final morning in the city, I was sitting on our balcony when I spotted a gondola bringing my bag down the canal! The gondola docked in front of my hotel, and a man onboard tried to lift my luggage onto a walkway--but instead he dropped it into the water! I ran downstairs and shouted at him, but he simply flashed me an I-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about look. I knew my bag was in there somewhere, but I had no idea how deep the water was. After frantically waving euros, I found a young guy who took off his shoes and shirt, dove in, and got my bag. The hotel washed and dried everything in just a few hours, and we were off to Florence. James Goodwin, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Since cows are female, does that make you transvestites?
I've got 10 friends who travel a lot, and we have an ongoing contest to see who can have the most pictures taken in foreign countries of us wearing our goofy cow suits. While at the Yachana Lodge in Ecuador, two of us managed to get a good shot with the staff. But when we were leaving the country, the customs officer opened my baggage, and out popped a large udder. He rolled his eyes as I stood there with a sheepish--or maybe I should say cowish--grin. From now on, I've decided that the cow suit is going in my carry-on! Pete Skinner, Tallahassee, Fla.

You can find more True Stories in the February 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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