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?