Proving once and for all that travel is stranger, funnier, and more heartwarming than fiction
New Prize: Luxury in Colorado
If yours is the best response before August 31, you'll win four nights at The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, a RockResort in Colorado. The chateau-style lodge is on a private mountain. Prize includes accommodations, two lift tickets to Beaver Creek Resort, and two massages at The Lodge's spa. Valid December 1, 2006, to April 1, 2007. Subject to availability, nontransferable, nonnegotiable. Blackout dates apply. For more information on RockResorts: rockresorts.com.
The winner of the April contest is Nicole Andersen of Santa Barbara, Calif. Her prize: business-class airfare for two to London, courtesy of MAXjet.
While studying abroad in Beijing, I visited the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In a strange twist of fate, I became the tourist attraction. The locals marveled at my long blond hair and asked me to pose for countless photos. One vendor approached me and commented on my "golden" hair. I smiled and nodded. "Golden hair," she said. "I buy." I gave her a strange look and declined. She started offering me money. Not wanting to give up my hair, I kept refusing. She got agitated and walked away. I was heading back to the bus when she came chasing after me, brandishing a pair of scissors and yelling, "Golden hair! Golden hair!" Needless to say, I ran faster than I had in a long time.
The winner of the May contest is Carol Banning of San Pedro, Calif. Her prize: a seven-night trip to the Eastern Cape of South Africa, courtesy of South African Airways Holidays.
While in the Czech Republic, my husband and I drove to a small city called Cesky Krumlov, where we checked into the Hotel Renesance. The next day we visited the castle, tasted the cuisine, and sampled many local beers. As a matter of fact, we did a pretty good pub crawl before calling it a night. Try as we might, however, we couldn't find our hotel. We thought we knew where it was located, and which cobblestoned streets led there, but the only place that resembled the Hotel Renesance was named Leonardo. After four trips around the block--and much head-scratching--we went up to the door and tried our key. It worked! While we were cavorting around the city, the Hotel Renesance got a new name!
Someone didn't get the memo about being jolly
On the Rome subway, my wife and I were seated across from a rather rotund woman. From what she was saying to her companion, we determined her to be German. The car was crowded, as they often are in Rome, and as we reached the next stop, she tried to "scusa" herself past a large group of people--but she couldn't quite squeeze by. "Maybe she should try it sideways," I laughingly said to my wife, in a voice that turned out to be too loud. The German woman glared at me and said, "I haft no sidevays!" Richard J. Cinquino, Philadelphia, Pa.
That, or your husband has a bit of explaining to do
My husband and I booked a cabin in an eco-resort in Belize. When we arrived, there were chickens running loose around the grounds. The owner explained that they were his insect exterminators. That night we kept all of our windows open, and in the early morning, I heard a chicken squawking close by--very close. She was in our bed! And she loved being petted. When we got up, we discovered that she'd laid an egg. Thea Platt, Shelburne, Vt.
It is a heck of a view
As my travel partners and I were lining up for group pictures at Machu Picchu, a llama wandered in to be part of the scene. But no amount of cajoling or coaxing could make him face the camera--he just wanted to admire the view. Somebody got the idea to turn us around and take the picture that way! Dave Shelly, Wichita, Kans.
Picking a fight
My first night out in Rio ended at 4 a.m. Everything was as I'd dreamed--beautiful and friendly Cariocas, great music, superb dancing. Being a young man, I figured I'd be safe walking to my hotel alone. With the threat of a knife, however, five young thugs emptied my pockets. I was shaken, but my vacation would go on. (I had travelers checks back at the hotel.) Then I realized a far bigger horror! Their loot included my Afro pick. This was too much to lose! All fear of these adolescents vanished. I yelled a loud "yo" and simulated the motion of picking my hair with my comb. One boy ran back and returned it--along with my credit cards. Neville C. Hughes, New York, N.Y.
You can find more True Stories in the July/August 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.