Monday, April 19, 2010

Tour Guide Travails

A tour guide for a few months now, I'm slowly becoming seasoned in the profession.

Here's what I've learned so far...

1. First off, there's just no way to know the answer to every possible question a tourist might conjure up to ask:

Why don't they sell Kung Fu Panda stuffed animals here?
Is there a Texas BBQ restaurant on this Edo period shopping street in Japan?
What does pig nose taste like?

2. Then, there's always the chance you never actually make it to your tour destination.

Okinawa has confusing narrow winding streets, so it's easy to get disoriented. I'm ashamed to admit this horror has happened to me TWICE.

No, it's not so fun to be lost out there with a bus load of people. In both cases, we eventually did arrive, but only after major anxiety attacks, which I had to carefully conceal because no one wants to see a tour guide meltdown.

3. Next, there's all kinds of unexpected physical challenges involved.

In my short stint, I have found myself running through an industrial shipyard, ducking and weaving through an obstacle course of cranes, bulldozers, and smoking fishermen to get directions.

I have also worked up a sweat scaling up and down a Shinto shrine repeatedly to chase down a renegade bus driver AND corral people back onto the bus.

4. Finally and here's the best part, there's so many characters on the tours who say the most fascinating things.

You may remember the previous post "If a whale were to attack me today..."

Recently on a salt making expedition, a woman inquired, "How can I stir this solution to the right if I'm left-handed?"

And my favorite this week from a boy, "I'm going to unleash all these snake eggs and cause havoc for everybody on the bus."

What was the best or worst tour you've been on? What happened?


Peter and Stephanie said...

i love it!!!! i want to sign up for one of your tours next time we are down south! sounds like such a hilarious adventure!

Ekua said...

OMG... I can't believe people have asked you about Kung Fu Pandas and Texas BBQ! Are you running day tours?

Mary R said...

Yes, only day tours right now, but I'll start the overseas trips soon. My first one will be to take a group to Mt Fuji.

Becca Runs Sometimes said...

Ha! I'll bet you could do an entire post of the crazy things tourists say to you. You do an effective job of painting the perfect picture of pure anxiety. Can't wait to hear more about your tour guide adventures!

Travelin'Fool said...

agree with becca runs sometimes---you should totally keep track of all the crazy things tourists say and do and then devote whole posts to them from time to time. it's hilarious!! i personally enjoyed the mental image of the "tourist guide meltdown." ;)

Mary R said...

Thanks! I am keeping track of all the funny things that happen, especially what people say. You never know when I it could be used in a short story or novel, or something. Just dreaming...

bingata744 said...

Mary -- this is fabulous! I want to travel with you -- have you set up an information site yet? How do I get in touch with you privately? So much fun and congrats on the new adventure!!!

Mary and Sean said...

Right now, I'm doing my tours through the travel agency on Foster. When you think about coming, I'll let you know my schedule!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin