DEFINITELY VULTURES: In a letter to The Times of London, Sheila Mason tells of a harrowing bird-watching expedition in Gambia:
``We were mugged on a busy road in the mangrove swamps just outside the capital (a favored bird-watching site). Three young men with long knives and clubs attacked us; they cut off my money belt and removed my binoculars.
``I was on the ground with knives pressed against my neck and stomach. Only then did my husband reluctantly hand over our bird identification book!''
DEAD HEAT: Anyone who has driven on Italian roads can envision the situation that ensued in a small town near Milan when two funerals were scheduled simultaneously.
The rival hearses both arrived at the narrow road leading to the cemetery at the same moment.
The race was on! Startled mourners were left far behind as the aspiring Formula 1 drivers jockeyed for lane advantage. The hearses reached the small cemetery gate at the same moment, and crashed together. My guess is that two promising racing careers died that day, also.
WE ALSO SELL BRIDGES: This is for those Arizonans who tire of foreign visitors arriving at the Grand Canyon on one-day, round-trip flights from Las Vegas, only to remark: ``It's wonderful to see that Nevada has such lovely scenery.''
Well, a group of geographically disadvantaged German tourists off for a day at the Grand Canyon was ambushed at the pass. In the Las Vegas airport, they were each sold $10 tickets for the ``elevator to the canyon bottom.''
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A waitress at Bled, Slovenia, told us that the chef's special consisted of ``sausage, potatoes and garbage.''
When it arrived, the ``garbage'' looked a lot like cabbage, and the meal tasted much better than the description.
FROM BLUES TO REDS: A friend in the travel business was caught in one of those situations in St. Petersburg where he was expected to deliver a toast in Russian.
When his turn came, he lifted his vodka and resonated in his best imitation of a Cossack accent: ``From Natchez to Mobile!''