Archive for June, 2009

CONTEST: We want your romantic trip tales!

Many moons ago, an emperor named Shah Jahan was so grifstricken when one of his beloved wives died while giving birth that he decided to dedicate a building in her honor. Some 20,000 folks worked like slaves for two decades. Tah dah! The Taj Mahal was born.

Now, that’s romantic.

Some of you may be that lucky, but for the rest of us, not so.

Yet, we all have that memorable trip full of romantic sparks. Maybe that person wasn’t special before the trip, but became so afterwards. (Boom! OMG, where had you been all my life!)

Do you recall your romantic getaway? Were there stars, chirping birds and cupid arrows? Did he surprise you by proposing? Did she say yes?

What happened? What was so special about that trip, lovers?

June 1 marked the starting line for our summer vacation story contest. Every two weeks, we’ll focus on a different category of vacation memories. You share your stories. We’ll pick three and during the second week we’ll let readers decide whose is best. Last …

Continue reading CONTEST: We want your romantic trip tales! »

CONTEST: The winner of vacation horror stories – The eye, the rat & the parasite

THE EYE, THE RAT AND THE PARASITE

By Earline Feldman of Roswell

My husband booked a trip for us to the beautiful Caribbean Island of Dutch St. Maartin for a week. Everything on the flight from Atlanta was uneventful until we landed. When we exited the plane down an open staircase onto the tarmac in St. Maartin, a small cinder blew into my eye.

It was painful, but I waited until we got into our hotel to do anything about it. So as soon as we entered our luxury hotel suite, I immediately washed my eye out with the tap water from our hotel sink. It wasn’t until the next morning that the next major problem began. I awoke in serious pain with my eye swollen shut.
Rushing into the lobby, the hotel concierge directed my husband and I to an eye doctor in Philipsburg. When we got there, to my shock, the doctor advised me that a tiny local parasite had gotten into my eye from the hotel tap water. Our fabulous trip was now on hold for two days of antibiotic treatment until the swelling …

Continue reading CONTEST: The winner of vacation horror stories – The eye, the rat & the parasite »

Need a cooling-off period? Refreshing destinations nearby

The heat from this past week must be getting to me. I’m actually hoping Seattle lives up to its cool, rainy stereotype when we head out there later this summer. I’ll explore the city in the drizzle; I’ll hike the nearby mountains and forests in a rain slicker – as long as the temps don’t exceed 75 degrees.

I am a Georgia native. I should be accustomed to the heat and humidity of our great state. In the years that I lived away from here, I would dream of Faulknerian heat and dripping humidity settling over the Georgia red clay. But these past few days have killed any romantic feelings I may have harbored for the charms of our home state’s sticky, energy-draining heat.

With our long summer just beginning, I know it’s only going to get worse. Is it too late to plan a trip to the Arctic Circle? I hear Baker Lake, Nunavut – the geographic centre of Canada – is wonderfully cool this time of year (averages of 49 degrees in June and 62 degrees in July).

Short of …

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CONTEST: 3 Finalists for vacation horror stories!

travel contest logo

Thank you again for all your tales of woes. Here are this week’s three finalists. The winner will have his or her story published on Sunday AJC and will be qualified to win the grand prize, a getaway trip.

Folks, we need your help now. Take a look at the finalists’ tales. Then vote for the family vacation story you like the best.

Which author should win this week? Check out the prize!

  • The poll is at the bottom of the story.

THE EYE, THE RAT & THE PARASITE by Earline Feldman of Roswell

My husband booked a trip for us to the beautiful Caribbean Island of Dutch St. Maartin for a week. Everything on the flight from Atlanta was uneventful until we landed. When we exited the plane down an open staircase onto the tarmac in St. Maartin, a small cinder blew into my eye. Read on.

IT”S JUST A DRIZZLE by Hal Gauldin

My wife and I just returned from our annual vacation at our condo in Daytona – the vacation that’s now known in family lore as “The Vacation from Hell!”

This vacation …

Continue reading CONTEST: 3 Finalists for vacation horror stories! »

CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – Snake! Just kidding

Here’s one of the three finalists for vacation horror stories. Do you like it? To vote, scroll to the bottom of the story. Check out the prize!

SNAKE! JUST KIDDING

By Melissa Eubanks of Dallas

Spring Break 2007, my family and I were on a short getaway to Helen. My kids wanted to swim, so we found a hotel with an indoor pool since it was kind of chilly. We paid cash for a two-night stay, went to our room and changed to go to the pool.

We had a great time, then went back to our room to get ready for bed. That’s when the trouble started.

After my kids showered, the bathroom floor was wet. I grabbed a towel to wipe up the floor, then tossed it in front of the sink in the other room.

When I tossed the towel, I noticed there was something brown that looked like a shoestring in it. Being funny, I screamed, “SNAKE!” My husband and kids jumped on the beds, screaming, “Get it! Get it!”

Laughing at them, I bent over the towel to see what was in it, and dang if it wasn’t a …

Continue reading CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – Snake! Just kidding »

CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – Oh, it’s just a drizzle

Here’s one of the three finalists for vacation horror stories. Do you like it? To vote, scroll to the bottom of the story. Check out the prize!

IT’S JUST A DRIZZLE

By Hal Gauldin of Augusta

My wife and I just returned from our annual vacation at our condo in Daytona – the vacation that’s now known in family lore as “The Vacation from Hell!” This vacation was months in the planning as we also invited my wife’s brother, his wife and our one year old nephew and my wife’s parents. Schedules had to be arranged and re-arranged, my wife postponed a much needed surgical procedure, and I took final exams a week early all in an attempt to achieve the impossible. Finally we were able to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle and make the necessary arrangements.

My wife, her mother, and I innocently arrived in Daytona Friday night to prepare for the arrival of the others. Saturday morning dawned and we met the flight from Nashville which delivered my in-laws right on …

Continue reading CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – Oh, it’s just a drizzle »

CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – The eye, the rat & the parasite

Here’s one of the three finalists for vacation horror stories. Do you like it? To vote, scroll to the bottom of the story. Check out the prize!

THE EYE, THE RAT AND THE PARASITE

By Earline Feldman of Roswell

My husband booked a trip for us to the beautiful Caribbean Island of Dutch St. Maartin for a week. Everything on the flight from Atlanta was uneventful until we landed. When we exited the plane down an open staircase onto the tarmac in St. Maartin, a small cinder blew into my eye.

It was painful, but I waited until we got into our hotel to do anything about it. So as soon as we entered our luxury hotel suite, I immediately washed my eye out with the tap water from our hotel sink. It wasn’t until the next morning that the next major problem began. I awoke in serious pain with my eye swollen shut.
Rushing into the lobby, the hotel concierge directed my husband and I to an eye doctor in Philipsburg. When we got there, to my shock, the doctor advised me that a tiny local …

Continue reading CONTEST: Finalist for vacation horror stories – The eye, the rat & the parasite »

Will Georgia’s online travel ruling cause uptick in prices?

Millions of Americans go online to kick-start their travel adventures each year, clicking on websites like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz to book hotels and flights or make other travel-related reservations. I know we always check online first when we’re looking for low airfares or reduced hotel rates.

Generally, online travel companies reserve blocks of hotel rooms or air tickets at drastically-reduced rates, then sell those rooms or tickets online for a profit. Those marked-up rates are still a good deal for the online consumer.

This week, however, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Expedia’s practice of collecting hotel occupancy taxes solely on the reduced rate it gets from the hotel is shortchanging the city of Columbus in tax revenue. The city argued that Expedia should be collecting the hotel tax based on the retail price it charges travelers when they book the rooms.

The 4-3 decision didn’t say whether online travel companies would owe back taxes to Columbus, …

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CONTEST We want your vacation horror stories

Vacations always go as planned. There’s never a glitch. Nope.

We never miss connecting flights nor get stranded in a tiny city with no places to eat at but Denny’s. Nope.
We always get along with our fabulous relatives and their fabulous children. Nope.
And hotels are always as described.

If you’ve never had a bad experience traveling, read no further. Thank you for your interest. And we know you don’t exist.

But, for the rest of you, let’s talk honesty. What happened on your vacation that turned into a horror flick?

• How did it start?
• What do you remember most about the trip?
• What drove you insane?
• Who did you want to strangle? (with love, of course!)

June 1 marked the starting line for our summer vacation story contest. Every two weeks, we’ll focus on a different category of vacation memories. You share your stories. We’ll pick three and during the second week we’ll let readers decide whose is best. Last week’s theme was family trips.

You can post your …

Continue reading CONTEST We want your vacation horror stories »

CONTEST The winner of family trip tales – ‘Pull my finger’

By Ed Fussell of Lawrenceville

One family vacation stands head and shoulders above the rest. I’m pretty sure I was 14 when my parents decided to take the family to Washington, DC for what I now refer to as “The Finger Vacation”. (The name will come into focus momentarily.)

My sister and brother, who would turn nine and seven respectively that Fall were cool with it, but I was actually excited about seeing our nation’s capital. I had been to two states – Georgia and Florida and was looking to broaden my experiences and this was my chance.

My excitement first began to dim when I realized, like all trips, we would be driving. The drive from south Georgia to Washington D.C. is a good, LONG day. When experienced from the backseat of a Ford Tempo jammed together with your younger brother and sister, the trip gets even longer. Fortunately for us, Dad chose to only drive halfway the first day and we disembarked for the night at South of the Border motel at the …

Continue reading CONTEST The winner of family trip tales – ‘Pull my finger’ »