Funniest Thing for August

This item appears on page 18 of the August 2009 issue.

Tell ITN about the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. There are no restrictions on length. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) The ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.

This month’s winner is SHEILA MONK of Richland, Missouri:

Our small tour group was visiting the Yavari, a restored 1850s steamship on Lake Titicaca in Peru. As each of us was piped aboard, the captain saluted smartly.

Retired from the Peruvian navy, Captain Carlos, in his crisp white epaulette shirt, neatly pressed black pants and his captain’s hat cocked just so, was a beaming welcoming committee of one. He led us through the gleaming engine room and wheelhouse, charming us all with his jovial manner, knowledge of his craft and devotion to his project.

As we left, Carlos again saluted each of us. I eyed Carlos’ crisp salute and asked with a grin as I extended my hand, “Do I salute or shake hands?”

Carlos answered without missing a beat, “You need to give me a hug, ma’am!”