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Readers' Digest Humor Collection

Tour guides at William Randolph Hearst's castle in California like to present San Simeon as a man's home rather than the museum that it is. There are few barricades to prevent tourists from wandering, but we remind them to stay on the tour mats, thus protecting priceless Oriental rugs. "After all," one guide said, "how would you like to have five thousand people walking on your living-room carpet each day?" Quipped one wag, "At eight dollars a head, bring them on!" 

from wandering: from walking about (que anden caminando)
tour mats: long common carpets just for walking (senderos alfombrados para los turistas)
priceless: invaluable (invaluables)
quipped one wag: remarked a witty amusing person (acotó un bromista)

s Captain of a nature cruise off Florida's Key Largo, I was describing the color changes that brown pelicans undergo. "The young pelicans are all brown," I explained. "During courtship the backs of their necks turn chestnut. After courtship the chestnut turns to white, giving them an all-white head and neck. Birders call this "postnuptial plumage". "Bernie," said an elderly woman to her white-haired husband, "that explains what happened to you." 

undergo: go through, suffer (sufren, experimentan)
courtship: the seek of affections (el cortejo)
chestnut: golden brown, reddish brown (de color castaño)
birders: persons who identify and study birds in their natural habitats (los ornitólogos)

A caller to our national travel agency was inquiring about quarantine regulations for transporting birds into Canada from the United States. I gave him the information. He thanked me and then said, "May I ask a question? What do they do about the birds that fly over the border?" 

caller: visitor (visitante)
border: delimitation, boundary between countries (límite, frontera)

alls come in nonstop to the travel agency where I work. Once, a frantic woman wanted the ZIP Code for Greece. "I'm sorry," I told her. "This is a travel agency, not the post office." She protested, "You send people to Greece, don't you?" "Yes, we do," I replied, "but not in an envelope." 

in nonstop: at all times, without stopping (de corrido, sin parar)
frantic: excited, frenetic
(frenética, nerviosa)
ZIP Code:  postal code
(código postal)
envelope: container for letters

s a tour guide at the Alexander Graham Bell Homestead in Brantford, Ontario, I loved to watch young people trying to reconcile present-day life with activities a hundred years ago. One father, trying to interest his young son in the Bell family history, pointed out a photograph and said, "Look, Paul, it says here that both of Alexander's brothers died of T.B." The boy's eyes widened. "Why?" he cried. "Did they watch too much?"

pointed out: signaled (señaló)
T.B.: tuberculosis (tuberculosis)
widened: opened wide (se abrieron enormes)

I work as a guide at a local cave. At a certain point on my tour, I turn off all the lights to illustrate the concept of total darkness. One day at this critical point of the tour, amid the typical oohs and ahs, one of the more impressed members of the group exclaimed, "Wow! Can you imagine what this place must be like at night!"

cave: natural underground enclosure (cueva, caverna)
turn off: switched off, stopped (apago, desconecto)
darkness: absence of light (oscuridad)
amid: in the middle of (en el medio de)
oohs and ahs: expressions of surprise (expresiones de sorpresa)

I'm a travel agent, and I remember the time a nervous, first-time flier came into my office to book a flight. After confirming the reservation, I asked him, "Would you prefer a window seat or one on the aisle?" "It doesn't matter," the man replied. "I'll be lying on the floor." 

flier: someone who flies, travels by air (pasajero de avión)
to book: to make a reservation (para reservar)
aisle: narrow passage in a plane (pasillo)
lying: in a horizontal position (tendido, acostado)

he cruise ship my friend was working on docked at a Mexican port during a very high tide. Everyone on board was forced to use the ship's narrow gangplank as a passageway to the dock far below. The staff stood motionless when a passenger in her 70s appeared at the top of the plank. There wasn't room for anyone to assist her, so she edged along slowly and finally made it to the dock safely, to everyone's relief. As she stepped down, she turned, looked back at the top of the plank and shouted, "It's okay, Mother, you can come down now." 

cruise ship: big boat for pleasure voyage (crucero)
: came into dock (amarró)
high tide: the periodic rise of the sea level (marea alta)
gangplank: temporary bridge (plancha temporal)
in her 70s: 70 years old (de setenta años)
for anyone to assist her: for anybody to help her (para que alguien la ayudara)
edged: advanced slowly (se desplazó)
made it: succeeded, could do it (logró llegar)
relief: alleviation (alivio)

operate a gift shop and information center at the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains in Yarnell, Arizona. A group of visitors listened intently as I described the history of the shrine. "Are you a nun?" asked one woman. "No," I replied, laughing, "I have been happily married to the same man for 50 years." "Then you are a saint!" 

shrine: temple, sacred monument (templo)
intently: with attention (atentamente)
nun: a woman religious (hermana, monja)
saint: holy person, someone who has been declared a saint by canonization (santa)

Source: Readers' Digest Humor Collection