The hoodlum left the radio and CD player, at least

By Kathleen Roberts
This item appears on page 44 of the December 2015 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 KATHLEEN ROBERTS of Pleasant Hill, CA:

While traveling in France in June 2010 celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent several wonderful days wending our way through the beautiful Bordeaux region, sampling wine and food and staying in lovely B&Bs. One of those homes was a charming, small château in the middle of parkland. There were ducks, rabbits and swans, all with new babies following proud mothers. 

Especially interesting to watch were several “couples” of handsome peacocks and peahens wandering freely over the grounds. They were delightful until we were roused before dawn by their raucous morning calls to each other! 

We took it all in as part of the experience until our final morning, when we noticed some suspicious and colorful feathers on the roof of our rental car. We then realized that the owner of those feathers had neatly stripped all the plastic covering off of our roof antenna, leaving the wire exposed. 

We immediately called the rental agency to report this “vandalism.” The phone was answered by a French agent whose English was good, but as my husband explained that a peacock had eaten our antenna, she became more and more confused. After the third “Pardon, monsieur?” we heard her speak to her colleagues in French. 

A moment of silence was followed by audible laughter in the background, then someone who spoke English more clearly got on the phone to be sure that the agent had heard correctly. We confirmed, “Yes, it was a peacock” and “Yes, it ate our antenna.”

This circumstance was not in the manual, of course, but we were assured there would be no charge, since it was obvious we wouldn’t have any luck getting the perpetrator to pay.