Travelers' Tales


From our September issue: Readers share anecdotes about Tim Gunn's crime-fighting alter ego, a pesky bee, and what seemed like a moist towelette.

New Prize: Italian villa vacation
The best response that we receive between September 20, 2008, and October 14, 2008, wins a seven-night vacation rental at an Endless Vacation Rentals by Wyndham Worldwide property in Italy—the company has villas and apartments in Rome, Tuscany, Sardinia, and more. Prize includes airfare. For more info on Endless Vacation Rentals: 877/782-9387,

How to enter
E-mail us at or mail us at True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10018. For a complete rundown of the contest guidelines, please see

This month's winner is Steve Morley of San Diego, Calif. His prize is a Celebrity Cruises sailing for up to 14 nights.

At the Cape Point Lighthouse near Cape Town, South Africa, we stopped to photograph some baboons that were rummaging through trash cans. As I focused on one, he ran a wide circle around me and jumped into our car (I had left a door open) and into the backseat, where he sat next to my wife's 80-year-old mother. The two of them just stared at each other. After I chased him off, it was apparent that my mother-in-law wasn't sure what had happened—she asked about the strange-looking kid who had just hopped into our car.

Super stretch: Tim Gunn's crime-fighting alter ego
For our trip to Hawaii, my fiancé and I bought a first-class ticket for me; he used a first-class ticket for family of an airline employee. But the gate agent told him that airline policy forbade people using such tickets to wear jeans in first class. (He had on new jeans, boots, a black leather blazer, and a dress shirt—he looked ready for a Texas wedding.) We argued with the agent for several minutes and then went into the women's restroom and traded pants! I put on his jeans, and he put on my size 2, black super-stretch pants with bell bottoms. His coat covered his goods, but just barely. What a sight! Mikhail Baryshnikov would have been envious. The now angry and red-faced agent had no choice but to let us board. Once at our seats, we traded back under a blanket. (We didn't get a photo at the time—we restaged the trade after we got married.) Janet Trigg, Las Vegas, Nev.

Plans for later: ruined
My wife and I were in Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval. At the stadium, each person was given a goodie bag with a program, site maps, and a moist towelette. After going for a snack, I rummaged around for the towelette. I tore the package open and rubbed my hands while watch­ing the show—but the more I wiped them, the stickier they got. Turns out I was wiping my hands with a lubricated condom. David Ancil, Vero Beach, Fla.

Wait till she sees you and reports you as stowaways
My family was at a restaurant in the Dominican Republic when a woman approached our table and politely asked, "Would you mind if I take a picture of the typical Dominican family?" We said yes—we just didn't have the heart to tell her that we had traveled there on the same cruise ship she had. Alexander Meyers, Burke, Va.

"But if you keep whining..."
At the end of our honeymoon in Bermuda, we boarded the airport shuttle. Another couple grumbled—loud enough for the driver to hear—about how slowly we were moving. "You don't have to worry about the plane leaving without you," the driver eventually said. "After I drop you off, I have to go back and pick up the pilot." Dave and Lorrie Kenward, Kernersville, N.C.

Fish certainly doesn't get any fresher than that
After a full day in L.A. malls and traffic, our family of three was ready for a seafood dinner. We scanned the restaurant section of our rental car's GPS. Among the listings was one that caught my eye—All the Fish U Can Wish. After what seemed like an eternity, the chime of the GPS told us we had arrived. Much to our shock, we had driven 40 minutes to find a store specializing in tropical fish! We explained our problem to the store owner and borrowed a telephone book. As we turned to leave, the store owner shouted, "I could make sushi!" Larry and Carla Sonntag, Albuquerque, N.M.

Someone has been reading his Encyclopedia Brown
Last October, my family and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. Our grandkids, especially 5-year-old Luke, were excited to meet the captain. When they did, Luke asked him how his leg was. The captain was confused, and Luke said, "You do have a wooden leg, don't you?" Suppressing a laugh, the captain said his legs were like everyone else's and showed one as proof. But Luke wouldn't give up on the idea. At bedtime, he said, "You know, Grammy, the captain never did show us his other leg." Carolyn Sullivan, Dayton, Tenn.

Five-finger discount!
At a gift shop in Bath, England, I found a fabulous soldier doll, but it was missing one of its hands. When I asked the clerk about a markdown, she exclaimed, "That's Lord Nelson—he lost his hand at the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797!" Cynthia Tarnoff, Saltillo, Miss.

Nature called
While in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, my friend and I went to see howler monkeys. I stood under a tree where a few monkeys were, focused my camera, and got hit with something. Three monkeys had thrown mangoes at me! Determined to get a picture, I moved. The monkeys moved, too—and again they hit me with mangoes. I moved again, and so did they. We went back and forth several times until they stopped. I focused my camera. The next thing I knew, it was raining. I looked over at my friend, who was on her knees laughing. The monkeys had peed on me. Maria Daloisio, Gilbertsville, Pa.

He was hoping for Blanche
My friend Elaine and I were on our way to the Prado Museum in Madrid. Locals were selling their wares nearby, and we stopped to admire some fans. The owner looked at us and said, "The Golden Girls!" He pointed to Elaine and said, "Sophia," and then called me "Dorothy." He had seen the show while in Los Angeles. We had a good laugh, and our friends agree that there is a resemblance. Sue Maloney, Fairhope, Alaska

The truth can really sting
My friends and I had lunch in a Montreal restaurant one day. Before we left, I used the ladies' room, while my friend Marilyn went into the men's room. I emerged to find a man yelling in French. He repeatedly shouted "Pee!" and slapped his thigh, so I motioned him into the ladies' room. As we gathered our coats, we saw him with the hostess. It turns out, she translated, that he had been yelling not "Pee!" but "Bee!" He had come in to remove a bee that had flown up his pant leg. Bari Brenner, Castro Valley, Calif.

Prize Report
Caroline Friesen won a four-night trip to Singapore and Malaysia, courtesy of Sayang Holidays, for her story about an interrupted resurrection at a religious theme park in Buenos Aires. "A big thank you to Sayang Holidays!" Caroline says. "In Singapore, we strolled through the botanical gardens. In Kuala Lumpur, Sayang put us up in a beautiful hotel with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers."

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