Funniest Thing

September, 2019 Issue

This month’s winner is GLADYS SHELDON of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin:

One of the most enjoyable trips I have taken recently was a tour with Road Scholar to the Lake District of England, in June 2018. A large part of my enjoyment was due to the presence of Anne, our driver/guide, who took our group all over the district in a small van.

Anne said that when she’s not on the job, she does a lot of hiking in the hills of the district. In fact, she mentioned that on a previous trip, she told the van occupants that she’d been bitten by Scottish midges on a recent hike.

One of those passengers later told her that he thought she said she’d been bitten by Scottish midgets. He’d spent the rest of the day trying to visualize how this would have happened.


 

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

 


August, 2019 Issue

This month’s winner is JAY SNYDER of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:

Some years ago in Seoul, South Korea, my wife and I bought way too many souvenirs and needed to buy an extra suitcase to hold all our treasures on our trip home.

Finding a luggage dealer in the famous Itaewon market district, we selected the perfect suitcase and, after suitable bargaining, settled on a price.

When I asked the vendor what brand of luggage it was, he opened a drawer full of labels and replied, “What brand would you like?”


 

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

 


July, 2019 Issue

This month’s winner is MICHELE SMITH of Hickory Corners, Michigan:

While I was kayaking on the River Avon in England during vacation, the British kayak leader kept referring to me as “The American.”

We were about an hour into our trip down the river when he turned and yelled to me, “We’re ahead. Pass it on!”

I turned around in my kayak, facing aft, and shouted, “We’re ahead. Pass it on!,” and heard the echo refrain go down the river while watching the British tourists quickly paddle toward the shore.

When I turned around to face forward, I went over a 6-foot waterfall, somehow remaining upright.

“Great job, American!,” the kayak leader beamed. It was then I found out he was actually yelling, “Weir ahead,” referring to a man-made dam and its overflow.


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


June, 2019 Issue

This month’s winner is MAXWELL J. TAUB of Forest Hills, New York:

On a solo trip to Naples, Italy, a few years ago, I was wandering around, just taking in the sights, when a local young man approached me. He asked, “What are you looking for?”

He continued following me, asking, “What do you want to see? What do you want to buy?”

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get rid of him. I couldn’t shake him. Finally, in desperation, I said, “What I really want, what I want to buy… is a machine gun.”

He was silent for a few moments, then he looked up at me and asked, “What caliber?”


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


May, 2019 Issue

This month’s winner is GORDON W. DRAPER of Livonia, Michigan:

While on a tour of Burkina Faso in West Africa in 2011, we stopped at its capital, Ouagadougou. As in many economically developing countries, getting small-value currency there could be a problem, yet you need this type of money to tip for taking pictures or to go into WCs.

Banks don’t like to exchange bills smaller than $50 or $100, however, and shops usually don’t have small bills to give in change. Forget about travelers’ checks, charge or debit cards or even ATMs!

I was heading back to my hotel and saw a shoeshine man by the front door. Knowing I didn’t have anything small in local currency, which I assumed I would need in order to pay him, I went into the hotel thinking that surely the largest hotel in the nation’s capital would be able to give me something smaller.

I presented the smallest bill I had to the desk clerk. He looked inside his cash drawer and shrugged his shoulders. But he knew where to get change. He took my bill outside to the shoeshine man!

The shoeshine man gave him bills in change, which the clerk handed to me. I then handed a few of the scarce bills back to the “banker” for my shine.


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


April, 2019 Issue

This month's winner is TONY LEE of San Francisco, California:

Traveling on the Silk Road in China in July 2018, I arrived at Jiayuguan. The westernmost gate of China's Great Wall is located outside of that city, and I hired a driver to take me to several sites along the wall. Unfortunately for me, the driver spoke no English, and I had only a minimal understanding of Mandarin, so we had to rely on using the translation apps on our phones.

Translating from English to simplified Chinese, my Google Translate app worked well most of the time, but my driver's app did not. The English was poor, and it gave me gibberish about 40% of the time.

On the way back to town, he showed me his phone, which displayed a question: "Would you like to see a mosquito shop?"

I had no idea what he meant. A store that sold bugs? Out of curiosity, I said, "Yes."

When we got there, it turned out to be an outdoor flea market.


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


March, 2019 Issue

This month's winner is JUDY SILVERSTEIN of Pompton Plains, New Jersey:

While vacationing in Ixtapa, Mexico, several decades ago, my husband and I went in search of an English-language newspaper. After a lengthy walk, we returned to the hotel hot and tired, put the paper in our room and went for a swim. When we returned, our room had been cleaned and the paper was missing.

Herb went in search of the chambermaid, who spoke an Indian dialect. With our limited Spanish and lots of charades, we managed to communicate that we were looking for our paper. Her face suddenly lit up and she ran from our room.

Herb, who had the remarkable ability to communicate, stood there proudly with an 'I've done it again' look.

When the maid returned a few minutes later, what she handed him was two rolls of toilet paper.


 

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

 


February, 2019 Issue

This month's winner is LINDA FOXLOW of Sarasota, Florida:

We were traveling with some friends in Italy in December 2018 when my husband came out of a public bathroom chuckling.

Seems while he was standing next to a person unknown to him, our grandson's talking "Toy Story" doll Woody, who was riding in his coat pocket and who accompanies us on many journeys, spontaneously came out with, "Howdy, partner!"

The other person bolted out of the bathroom!


 

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

 


January, 2019 Issue

This month's winner is DOUGLAS MOLANDER of Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Included in an Overseas Adventure Travel tour of Chile that I took in February 2017 was a 3-day visit to Torres del Paine National Park.

The morning of our entry into the park, we picked up a local guide. While driving into the park, the guide warned us that the weather could be very changeable and there could suddenly be rain, wind and cold temperatures. She also said that the likelihood of our seeing one of the indigenous deer was not great, since there were fewer than 10 breeding pairs in the area. Seeing pumas was also a remote hope; in 15 years of taking travelers into the park, she had seen just one puma.

During our three days, we enjoyed nice weather, and we were lucky enough to see one of the indigenous deer. Additionally, to everyone's amazement, we got to see five pumas! The last three were seen on our last day, just before exiting the park. There was a mother with two cubs, and we were able to observe them for more than 30 minutes until they walked up the hill and disappeared over the ridge.

Needless to say, everyone was very excited about our good fortune. As we settled into our seats on the bus and the driver pulled away, the local tour leader turned to us and asked, "Who ARE you people?!"

We were 16 very lucky travelers.


 

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

 


December, 2018 Issue

This month's winner is KITTY CHEN DEAN of New York, New York:

While my husband, Richard, and I were checking in at our Ibis hotel in Budapest in October 2018, I asked the desk clerk, "Do you have an exercise room?"

The clerk, in perfect English, replied, "No, all our rooms are the same size."

"She means a gym," Richard said.

The clerk replied, "I thought you said an extra-size room."

"Richard is a big guy but not that big," I said.


 

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