Funniest Thing

November, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is JOHN HEBERLE of Rochester, New York:

Traveling with a group in China and being 6'6" tall, I often received looks from the locals, which was understandable.

One time, a group of locals approached, and one of them was almost the same height as I. We looked at each other and then, drawing closer, shook hands. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, our height did all the talking.

People began to snap pictures of the two of us. I said as a joke, “One dollar. One dollar. One dollar.” Several in our group gave me dollars, laughing about it.

I gave the dollars to my new Chinese friend, and our groups departed, both still talking about what they had seen.


 

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.

 


October, 2020 Issue

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

I was in Guatemala on a field trip that a friend of mine, Ken, had arranged for his horticulture students. With two spaces left, he had offered one to his nephew and one to me.

After days of viewing nurseries featuring poinsettias and ferns and other green growing things, we were ready for a change of pace when we reached Lake Atitlán, an incredibly beautiful place in the always-springlike Guatemalan central highlands. Our leader had been promising us a treat.

While we settled into our stone cottages, Ken happily organized a cozy group of lakeside chaise lounges and invited us to join him after dark for a magnificent view of the August meteor showers. We arrived toting jackets and blankets — and a good supply of our innkeeper’s killer margaritas — and settled in for the show.

Chatting softly, we called each other’s attention to falling stars as we spotted them. Suddenly, a meteor with a huge fiery tale streaked across the sky. It seemed almost near enough to touch. We all gasped our astonishment!

The ensuing silence, as we stared in awe at the night sky, was abruptly broken by a huge snore from our leader. Relaxing for the first time in days, he had slept through the whole amazing thing!

Ten years later, he’s still mad at himself for missing the show.


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.

 


September, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is Col. DON EDMANDS, Jr., USAF (Ret), of Vonore, Tennessee:

During my Air Force career, I was sent to South Korea on an exercise. I was stationed at Osan Air Base near Seoul.

I wanted a pair of orange running shoes, so I went to the market in Seoul. Orange shoes turned out to be harder to find than I imagined. I finally ran across a pair in a small shop. The owner quoted me $30.

I went on down the street looking but didn’t find another orange pair, so I returned to the shop and said I wanted to buy the pair I had looked at. The shopkeeper now said, “$35.”

I said, “Wait a minute. It was $30 earlier.”

He replied, “You come back!”

I got a great laugh out of that one.


 

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, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is LIZ (SARAH) FISCHER of Tarpon Springs, Florida:

In 2010 my husband and I did a 3-week self-drive trip through New Zealand. Armed with a good map and “Dora the Explorer,” as we affectionately called our first portable GPS, we set off to see this beautiful country. We didn’t realize that relying strictly on the GPS is not a good idea. You should also always refer to a good map.

Our first small incident with Dora was on the North Island. We were driving south from Rotorua to Wellington when suddenly we were directed to take a hard right turn. The road narrowed and we went through a farmer’s herd of cows.

As we continued down the road for a short distance, I saw where we were on the map. Dora was taking us to a very small coastal road. I’m sure the views were beautiful, but we weren’t sure the road would be paved, so back we went through the cows.

When the farmer saw us, he asked, “Where are you trying to go?” With his direction, we returned to the main road down to Wellington. We could just see him shaking his head. “Silly tourists!”

But our most memorable moment with Dora took place on the South Island. We were trying to get to Fiordland through very mountainous terrain. Steep rock walls were on both sides of the narrow road. The GPS signal was very weak and wavering.

Dora asked, “Are we in a tunnel?”

My husband replied, “No.”

Shortly, she asked, “Are we in a building?”

Again, “No.”

Then a question we couldn’t believe: “Is it still March 8, 2010?” We both burst out laughing!

We are now on Dora III and have driven through many mountainous areas, but we’ve never again been asked any such questions. To this day, we still laugh about our experiences with Dora in New Zealand.


 

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, 2020 Issue

Leaving Prague on our first river cruise, the captain announced that we would soon be approaching a lock and our riverboat would be dropping down approximately 6 feet. 

We wondered why our cabin mate suddenly took off running. Catching up with her in the cabin, we asked what the rush was. 

She answered, “I have to close the sliding glass door to keep the water from coming into the cabin.”

We all just stood silent, looked at each other, then burst out laughing as we explained that both the boat and the water go down at the same time inside a lock.


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. 

This month’s winner is PAM KELLY of San Diego, California:


June, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is STAN C. KIMER of Raleigh, NC:

Several years ago, my brother-in-law and I took a one-week driving trip through southern Germany, Switzerland and northern Italy. One night was spent in Lugano, which is the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.

We went into a restaurant for dinner, and the menu was in Italian and German. My brother-in-law could speak some Spanish, and I could speak some French, but our server could not understand either of those languages nor English. Since neither of us understood German nor Italian, we could not figure out anything on the menu.

We did find something in Italian, “lingua,” and figured it was some kind of linguini. We pointed to it on the menu and asked what it was, but the server shrugged her shoulders. We ordered it anyway.

About 20 minutes later, we each got a plate with a huge cow’s tongue and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy! We took a few small bites but couldn’t stomach it, so we promptly left, went down the street to an ice cream parlor and ordered huge ice cream sundaes for our dinner.


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, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is MALCOLM GAISSERT of Arnold, California:

In 2006, my wife and I biked around the Alps for two weeks, after which she flew home to work and I, having been laid off years earlier, continued biking and visiting with friends for a couple more months, having a great time.

On my bike were two panniers heavy with all my personal items. Each night over those three months of biking around Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, I had to lift the bike up into a friend’s house or within a hotel. Hoisting the bike became second nature to me.

When I finally flew home and had my wife all to myself, I wanted to give her a big kiss. She is 8 inches shorter than I, so I grabbed her under her ribs and lifted her up for a kiss…and almost put her head through the ceiling.


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, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is BRAD BOYLE of Neotsu, Oregon:

My friend visited while I was living in Taiwan. He wanted a pizza, and a restaurant nearby would deliver. He did not speak Mandarin, so my roommate ordered for him.

Soon there was a knock at the door. My friend answered it. The delivery man handed him a bill, which my friend paid. The man turned and disappeared down the stairs.

My friend yelled after him, “Where’s my pizza?!”

I thanked him for paying the gas bill.


 

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, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is DENNIS CLINE of Ingleside, Illinois:

Many years ago, soon after my wife and I were married, we set forth on our first trip outside the US. We went to Acapulco, Mexico, and on our first night there, we chose an “official-looking” cantina for some authentic local cuisine.

When our waiter came, I ordered a couple of beers for my wife and myself. Wishing to impress my new bride with my command of the local language, I requested, “Dos cabezos.”

The waiter looked startled, appearing confused by my order, so, using my hand, I pantomimed drinking with an invisible beer mug. He showed acknowledgement and soon brought our beers.

Later that night, remembering that the average grade for my Spanish-language college courses was only a “D,” I checked my Berlitz translator book and learned that what I had actually ordered were two heads (cabezas), not two beers (cervezas).


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, 2020 Issue

This month’s winner is LOREN PARKS of Chico, California:

My wife and I arrived at the Napo Wildlife Center on New Year’s Eve 2018. This lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle is so remote that the only access for people and supplies is paddle canoe.

Upon arrival, we were informed of a big party with a special banquet that evening, so with great anticipation we entered the dining area and took our seats along with about 60 other guests. The setting was spectacular, and the buffet tables were set up with a variety of exotic foods, including a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth. The servers poured wine and champagne without limits, and the general mood of the guests was exhilaration.

As dining came to an end, the dance music started, and the resort manager moved from table to table encouraging people to dance. The response was tepid. We were reluctant because we are in our 70s, had not danced in several years and simply could not identify with the music being played.

When the manager got to our table, I responded to his exhortations to dance by telling him that we old-timers could only dance to rock-and-roll from the 1950s. He said “OK” and moved on. We were relieved, thinking we were off the hook.

About 10 minutes later, a local merengue dance ended and on came the quintessential music of the 1950s: Chuck Berry singing “Johnny B. Goode.” The floor and rafters were shaking with the big bass sound and Berry’s guitar licks.

Immediately the manager appeared before us with a big grin on his face, saying nothing but communicating with his eyes. We were trapped. With great trepidation, my wife and I danced the old-fashioned swing, complete with twirls and twists and every trick we could remember and do. The other dancers cleared the floor for us, and even the kitchen staff came out to watch.

We never realized how long that song is. Exhausted and sucking air by the time the song finally ended, we practically collapsed into our chairs, receiving great applause and taking away a memory we will never forget.


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.