True Stories


Readers' anecdotes prove once again that travel is definitely stranger, funnier, and more heartwarming than fiction.

New Prize: CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort
The best response we receive between June 1, 2007, and June 30, 2007, wins a four-night stay for two at CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort. The prize includes four nights in a suite, one dinner at La Capilla Argentina, one spa treatment for the winner and a guest at CasaMagna's spa, tickets and transportation to the eco-archaeological park Xcaret, and breakfast daily. For more information on CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort: 888/727-2347,

How to enter or True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018. For full contest guidelines, visit

The prize has an estimated retail value of approximately $3,000 and is valid from Sept. 1, 2007, to Aug. 31, 2008. Taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. Blackout dates apply. Prize is subject to availability, nontransferable, and nonnegotiable. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Only one prize will be awarded, and your chances of winning depend on how many entries we receive and whether yours is the best. Open to residents of the 50 United States and its territories, except Arizona.

This month's winner is Suzanne Fox Sevel of West Melbourne, Fla. Her prize: A six-night vacation rental, courtesy of

My husband and I took our 17-month-old son, Zachary, to Las Vegas for New Year's Eve, and we were joined by several members of my family. Since Zachary had recently dressed up as Elvis Presley for Halloween, my brothers and nephews decided to bring along Elvis jumpsuits--after all, what's a trip to Las Vegas without Elvis impersonators? As bad as their outfits were, the Elvises received many high fives and photo requests. One woman even asked if they'd pick her up and hold her sideways for a photo. As the picture was being snapped, she realized that my 11-year-old nephew, David, had a clear view right up her miniskirt. Alarmed, she demanded, "What are you lookin' at, li'l Elvis?"

You Have a Sikh Sense of Humor
Traveling through India, my wife and I took a bus tour to tea plantations in the south. Behind us was a newlywed couple from Mumbai. The bride was sniffling and sneezing, so my wife asked if she was sick. "Oh, no," replied the bride. "We are Hindu." Jim Dunn, Haslett, Mich.

Now the Wheelbarrow Feels Even Worse About Itself
While hiking on a rain-forest trail near Cairns, Australia, I spotted a six-foot-tall cassowary. The bird stood motionless, 60 feet off in the bush, and I was lucky enough to get a picture. But as soon as my camera clicked, the cassowary stood erect and began to advance menacingly. At three feet away, it raised its dagger toes and threw out its chest. I slowly backed away, and it turned and thundered back into the bush. Later that day, I told the tale to a local naturalist, who explained that because I was wearing a yellow baseball cap and a black jacket, the cassowary likely thought I was an appropriate suitor. It seemed probable, as I've often thought of myself as a bit of a ladies' man. "Don't get too big on yourself, mate," he said. "I've seen 'em have a go at an overturned wheelbarrow." Mike Levitt, Williams Lake, B.C.

That's What We'd Call a Crack Response Team
A friend of mine in Dundee, Scotland, was kind enough to invite my husband and me to spend the night while we were traveling through the British Isles. She lived in housing for folks of retirement age, and each apartment was equipped with a simple alarm system in case of emergency: a cord near the front door and another next to the bathtub. After a long day of sightseeing, my husband hopped in the shower. When he finished, he bent over to dry his feet, and the cord, unbeknownst to him, became caught in his derriere. As he straightened up, the cord got pulled down and set off the alarm--a story that we found difficult to relay to the security guards who soon appeared. Marilyn Brenner, Licking, Mo.

Go Soak in Your Own Toilet
While at the lovely Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, my family enjoyed sitting in the hot tub while watching lizards, geckos, and iguanas roam the grounds. One day, an iguana made its way toward us. It slowly crept to the edge of the hot tub--at which point it turned its head, looked directly at us, and peed into the water. We exited immediately! Sharie Phelan, Mokena, Ill.

How Was Your Trip?
In July 2006, Carol Banning won a South African safari, courtesy of Karell Holidays (formerly South African Airways Holidays), for her story about a hotel in the Czech Republic that changed names during her stay. Banning and her husband, Terry, recently returned from South Africa. "We had a very knowledgeable guide who drove us around while sharing many tidbits about African animals," she says. "And to our delight, our room at the lodge was a freestanding chalet with its own viewing deck. Thank you, South African Airways, for a dream trip come true!"

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