True Stories

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

New Prize: Trip to Ireland

The best response we receive before September 22 wins a five-night trip in Ireland courtesy of Dooley Vacations. The prize includes one night at the Clare Inn in County Clare, two nights at Faithlegg Manor in County Waterford, two nights at the Monte Clare Hotel in Dublin, a six-day car rental, breakfast daily, entrance to the Waterford Crystal visitor center, and 10 percent off on purchases made there; valid December 1, 2006-November 30, 2007. The trip does not include airfare. Subject to availability, nontransferable, nonnegotiable. Blackout dates apply. For more information on Dooley Vacations: 877/331-9301,

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:

How to enter  
E-mail or mail to True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018. Sorry, but we can't return photos. Read the full guidelines.

This month's winner is Mike Anderson, of Santee, Calif. His prize? A $2,000 gift certificate courtesy of the New England Inns & Resorts Association.

While staying at the Ariaú Amazon Towers hotel in Brazil, I was relaxing shirtless in a hammock when one of the local monkeys joined me. He was very interested in my protruding "outie" belly button. I brushed him away several times, paying little attention to his examination--until suddenly, he bent over to bite my belly button! I leaped up, swatting at the monkey, who went flying off my chest. It was then that I noticed several of my friends coming out of a restaurant, laughing hysterically.

Who's that behind those foster-grants? Oh, never mind 
My tour group in Turkey was preparing to watch a total solar eclipse when a little boy asked if he could have a pair of the 3-D glasses that I'd purchased for the group--he said that he wanted them for his grandmother. I gave him the last pair even though I figured he'd keep them for himself. After the eclipse, we headed to our bus. Someone in my group shouted for me to look up. This little old woman was standing on the porch of her house, watching the sun and smiling. Paula Vandalen, Redington Beach, Fla.

You and Tom Cruise 
It was shortly after my return from a rafting adventure in Honduras that the previously unnoticed wound on the back of my hand began to swell. "Infection! Antibiotics!" said the doctor. Two weeks later, the swelling hadn't abated--and was even punctuated by an occasional sharp pain. The doctor pressed the lump. It didn't hurt. "I'm going to press harder," he said. I turned my head, expecting a sudden shower of pus, when there was a loud pop--but no pus. "Oh, my goodness," said the doctor. Perfectly centered in a circle of bright red blood was a large white grub. I had given birth to the larva of the human botfly! Being a male in my 60s and experiencing what was probably my only shot at motherhood, I found both the joy and the pain to be grossly exaggerated. Chuck Weis, Lafayette, Ind.

Betty trashed the place in 1956 
During a recent trip to Egypt, my husband and I splurged on the Le Méridien Pyramids hotel, so we could swim in the pool while gazing at the Great Pyramids. Just imagine our surprise when we came across this sign listing the various pool rules! Denise Crocker, Millbrae, Calif.

It certainly goes nicely with your red neck 
After several days in Hanoi, I looked forward to exploring the peaceful Hill Tribe region near Sapa, Vietnam. My friend Margie and I arrived at the isolated village of the Black Hmong people, and word of our visit spread quickly. We raised our camera to take a picture, but the villagers insisted that we stop and wait. Preparations began immediately for a show of their best finery. Little girls and grown women bustled about, smiling and giggling as they wrapped and secured layer after layer of intricately woven fabrics. The finishing touch was the application of a blackening root to their teeth, a cosmetic custom the women practiced every night from the age of 9--one that they urged me to try on at least one tooth. So it happened that I, a woman of the modern tooth-whitening era, beamed a gap-toothed smile with those proud Black Hmong women. Tamar Dolwig, Aptos, Calif.

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

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