Funniest Thing

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 Carib¬bean.) 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 JOAN BARRETT of Tucson, Arizona:

In May, a security slowdown at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris booth. For at least 90 minutes I shuffled forward toward the officers with hundreds of others.

The hot, muggy atmosphere led most passengers to fan themselves with boarding passes or tickets. For such situations I always carry a real fan, made from bamboo and cloth, and I used it with vigor.

When I finally reached the booth, one of the officers looked at me and frowned. He pointed at my fan, shook his head from side to side and then gestured for me to hand it over. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong with having a fan, but I quickly complied.

The officer’s stern gaze immediately softened as he looked at his confiscation. He began to fan himself, eyes closed. Then he passed the fan to his colleague in the booth, who repeated the motion. Next, each officer fanned the other. Eventually, the first officer stamped my passport and returned the fan.