Funniest Thing for September

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 U.S., Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.) 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 PAT KRUSE of Rancho Mirage, California:

I like to purchase everyday items when I travel and bring them back home with me. Each time I use the toothpaste from Florence, the hairspray from London or the penlight from Pienza, I am reminded of the day and situation when I purchased it. Nothing, however, compares to the experience I had making a purchase in Tuscany.

As I was traveling in Italy in the fall of 2003, the little plastic connector which attached my bra strap to my bra broke. I was able to make repairs with a safety pin and continue wearing the bra, but I definitely was watching for a replacement.

One morning in Cortona I was walking past the numerous stalls at the weekly street market when I spotted what appeared to be a nice bra in the color and style I wanted.

As I reached out my hand to pick it up and look at it, the man behind the counter gently reminded me that I was not to touch the merchandise. I apologized and said I would like to look at it and check if it was the right size. With that, he pulled his jacket back from his shoulders and thrust his chest out, indicating that he wanted me to follow suit and saying, “Show me”!

I was not inclined to show him but instead started laughing at the absurdity of it. How different from purchasing lingerie at home! I asked if I could please see the size tag.

Picking up a second bra, he said, “This one is your size.” Then he showed me the tag inside of the bra — and he was absolutely right. It was my size!

Perhaps a little stunned, I laughed even more and he laughed with me. Needless to say, I purchased the bra.