True Stories

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Fe Austria-Schwind presents a head lei to her landlady

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

  • Royal Caribbean International: The best response we get between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31, 2007, wins a seven-night Caribbean cruise for two, including deluxe balcony accommodations on Liberty of the Seas (departing from Miami), three meals per day, unlimited snacks, a spa experience for two, and access to rock-climbing wall, skating rink, fitness center, and surf simulator. Prize does not include applicable taxes and fees, airfare, ground transport, food and beverage in excess of meals provided by ship, Internet use, incidentals (including fitness classes and additional spa treatments with an associated cost), or shore excursions. Estimated retail value is $3,000; valid Nov. 1, 2007, to Oct. 31, 2008. Royal Caribbean: 866/562-7625, royalcaribbean.com.

For contest details and rules, click here.

April Winner!
The winner of April's contest is Fe Austria-Schwind of Kaunakakai, Hawaii. Her prize is a six-night trip to the Azores, courtesy of Azores Express.

Upon arrival at our villa in Arcossó, Portugal, my husband and I were greeted by the landlord with wine from his vineyard and cherries from the garden. Every day, the landlady cooked us delicacies. Since I'm from Hawaii, I figured I'd make the landlady a head lei as a parting gift. I picked beautiful wildflowers from the vineyard, but I didn't have raffia to hold them together or a ti leaf for the backing--so I used dental floss and an iris leaf. The landlady was so impressed that she wore the lei to church and showed it to all of her neighbors.

May Winner!
The winner of May's contest is Donna Hays of Mendenhall, Miss. Her prize is a nine-day G.A.P Adventures tour of Thailand.

Curious to learn the origin of my family name, Langham, I began an online search. I soon found a portrait by John Constable of his mother, done in the early 1800s. It was like looking into a mirror. Two years later, my brother and I were in London's Tate Britain. The painting was there! Standing in front of it was awkward--but then people began asking if I was the subject! (Unfortunately, I was never able to trace my ancestry to Constable.)

If He's Good, He'll Get a Can of Pledge for Dessert
After an elaborate meal in Thailand, a fellow traveler commented that he found the offerings too spicy, saying, "The best thing was the lemon soup." I couldn't recall the soup, so I inquired further. To his dismay, he'd drunk the hot water with a lemon slice that was intended for cleaning his fingers! Tom Kimler, Red Bluff, Calif.

And Then She Wrote "MYODB"
I looked forward to seeing a castle or two in Ireland, and to my surprise, there were many of them--some big, some small, some falling apart. One woman on my bus wrote busily in a notebook each time we arrived at a spot of interest. I was envious of her organization--and a little curious, too. I couldn't help but glance at her notes. On every page, she had written "ABC." Mystified, I asked what it meant. "Another bloody castle," she said. Sharon Fowler, Liberty, S.C.

That'll Teach You to Leave
Last fall I scheduled a trip to Thailand and Vietnam, which required me to renew my passport. It arrived shortly before my departure date, but the day after I received it, my Airedale terrier snatched it from my desk and chewed it to bits. (She left the old one alone.) Imagine my embarrassment when, to get a new passport in time, I had to tell the U.S. government that my dog ate my passport! Kathleen Herrmann, Chicago, Ill.

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