Bad first impression

By Jay Levy
This item appears on page 50 of the November 2017 issue.

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 JAY LEVY of Takoma Park, Maryland:


In a hotel in Cienfuegos, Cuba, several years ago, our group was on our way down to the lobby. While waiting for the elevator, I commented that the rather dreary-looking hotel reminded me of the drab, box-like structures in Russian housing blocks. 

No sooner was the last word out of my mouth when the elevator door opened and an angry man shouted at me in a foreign accent, “This hotel was built by the East Germans, not the Russians!” 

As we all gaped at him in disbelief and the door slowly closed, no one made a move to catch the elevator. When we took the next one down, thankfully, the man was nowhere to be seen.