From our December/January issue: Readers share anecdotes about an awkward subway encounter in Paris, an icky barbecued special in Thailand, and the requisite monkey behaving badly.
Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
The best response we receive between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30, 2009, wins two nights at the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Resort in Río Grande, Puerto Rico. Prize includes round-trip airfare for two, a coffee-scrub treatment for two, and dinner for two at Palio restaurant. Prize has an estimated retail value of $1,500, and trip must be taken within one year. For more info on Rio Mar: 800/474-6627, wyndhamriomar.com.
How to enter
E-mail us at TrueStories@BudgetTravel.com 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 BudgetTravel.com/truestories.
Winner #1: Six-night trip for two in Oman, courtesy of Adventure Center.
My wife and I were driving from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to a microbrewery in Idaho. We were halfway there when we came upon a man who waved a flag and told us to slow down. We assumed there was road construction ahead, but when we turned the corner, we saw hundreds of sheep crossing the road. Our timing for the stampede was perfect! Eric Gongora, Woodstock, Ga.
Winner #2: Airfare and a seven-night Italian villa rental, courtesy of Endless Vacation Rentals.
At a hotel in Florida, a housekeeper kept studying us intently. We finally asked her about it. Since we had put up "Happy 50th" banners in our room, she was trying to figure out which of us was 50. My husband and I are nowhere near that age; we were celebrating bringing our children to all 50 states. We still tease each other about who looks older. Penny Zhitomi, Shelton, Conn.
Next stop: Grand Teton
I was in Cuzco, Peru, with my friends Marion and Kelly, and we were trying to find the Sacsayhuamán ruins. Marion, who's pretty busty, was wearing a tank top, so she got a lot of whistles from the guys. While we were looking in our guidebook, a young boy came up to us and said "sexy woman" to Marion and pointed to the top of the hill. Marion got hit on by an 11-year-old! When we came to the ruins, we kept hearing everyone say "sexy woman, sexy woman." Turns out that's just how Sacsayhuamán is pronounced. Marianne Kroutchkevitch, Santa Monica, Calif.
We often feel that way too
On a family trip to Interlaken, Switzerland, my dad evidently looked like a local. While he was hanging out one day, someone asked him a question in German. He replied, "Sorry, I don't speak German." A few minutes later, someone else came by and asked him something in French. He answered, "Sorry, I don't speak French." Just as my mother and I walked up, we saw a man ask my father, "Where is the nearest bank?" My mom and I were shocked to hear my dad say, "Sorry, I don't speak English." Tricia Abegglen, Vernal, Utah
It kind of works both ways
Before going to Paris with my friend, I taught her some French, such as ne me touche pas (don't touch me), which made her giggle because touche sounds like douche. One day we became separated on the Métro. I heard a woman across the car wail, "No me douche pas!" I wondered why someone would announce that she didn't shower, and then I saw that it was my friend! She was fending off a homeless man who was petting her hair. Elizabeth Montez, Costa Mesa, Calif.
It usually takes several years to get to that point
My husband and I spent the first night of our honeymoon in Venice. I had read that some Italian cities have a high petty crime rate, which made me anxious. Since it was warm, we left the shutters open—it seemed safe because we were on the fourth floor. During the night, I heard a noise and bolted upright. To my horror, I saw a man at the foot of the bed! I shrieked, "Get the [bleep] out!" Seconds later, the man said in a hushed voice, "It's me...." It was, of course, my brand-new husband, who had gotten up to close the shutters. The event was so disturbing that we were both shaking for days. Now, only 12 years later, we laugh about it. Kerry Ascione, Tinton Falls, N.J.
Taking a page from Rick Steves
While studying abroad in Italy, my best friend and I often took trains. One night we pulled into a station very late, and since the next train wasn't till morning, we had to spend the night there. We went to the bathroom to freshen up. There was no toilet paper and no paper towels, but I had my Rick Steves travel guide. Ripping pages out of the book saved the day. Jessica Presto, Raleigh, N.C.
So did it taste like chicken?
After two weeks of traveling in Thailand, our group was tiring of Thai food. One morning our guide promised a treat: a stop at a barbecue stand. Imagine our dismay (and disgust) when we found that the only item on the menu was fresh grilled rat! Betsey House, Denver, Colo.
Isn't that what bras are for?
One night I was going out in Barcelona with friends, and I didn't want to take my purse. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to put my money in my underwear. It would've been fine if it weren't for the sangria! I forgot my ingenious plan, and that's how I flushed €50 down the toilet. Natalie Decker, Ignacio, Colo.
One of these guys is bound to learn someday
On a recent trip to Barcelona, I warned my companion that as a 60-something out-of-shape American, he would be a prime target of pickpockets. We decided that if he was going to be robbed, we might as well have fun with it. I bought six wallets and put play money in them. In the 53 hours we were there, five of those wallets were stolen! Carol North, Sandwich, Mass.
Monkeys know what's up!
I was resting by the pool in Kenya when a monkey grabbed my envelope with a pair of earrings and my money and leapt up a tree. I chased him, but he was too fast. He slowly started dropping my things. When a bill would fall, 20 people would try to catch it—the monkey just sat in the tree and watched. I did finally get everything back. Donna McShane, Centennial, Colo.
It was all part of his plan
My boyfriend and I went to Grand Cayman recently. As we floated in the ocean together, I accidentally hit his hand. He told me not to move—I had knocked an engagement ring into the ocean! He dove to retrieve it but came up empty-handed. After 45 minutes of searching, he finally surfaced with the ring and proposed. I said yes! Kim Ceppi, Conroe, Tex.