Memories of a tour-leader in Thailand (Part 1)
|Group photo at the Grand Palace (Bangkok)|
I was with a group of 30 people in a big city for 3 days. Part of the group were 2 older farmer couples. And although the oldest of the group they were the easiest of the group. But just before lunch one of the ladies comes to me "My husband went for a bit of walking more as 1 hour ago and did not return yet. And .... sometime he can suddenly not remember anything anymore". She was used to it and did not worry too much but I was getting all kind of thoughts of him wandering around in the city of millions of people without speaking the local language or English. "Well let's first have lunch and see what happens" and while all had a good lunch I was preparing for big problems and what I would have to do next. But we were all very lucky and after a bit as 1 hour after our lunch he came back to the hotel and telling that he just walked around until he started to remember something and it came all back and he just walked back to the hotel.
Well it would be the tour of missing people, when we visited a stone-park and all would go on his own and would return 2 hours later at the bus. Two smart guys did not pay much attention to where they were going and suddenly realized that they did not know how to go back. By that time everybody was already back at the bus excepts those 2 young guys. Well the park rangers know the problem and did send out some people so after a 20 min waiting we finally found our friends.
We made a nice boat trip and did sleep on the boat and when arriving at our hotel the next day we were all in for a good shower. Well not, as the hotel had not received our reservation .. or at least that is what they said. With a bit of pushing we did get at least 3 rooms so we could refresh ourselves. In the afternoon we finally had all our rooms.
Traveling by train is great and it was easy to make the reservation for the train. So with our tickets we were of to the train station. Car #7, seats #11 to #56. Our train would be on platform 5. No problem when entering the platform we saw car#3 so we walked to car#4, 5, 6 and ... and .... 10, 11, 12 .... no car #7. "O sorry we lost car #7 and it will be connected at the end in 20 min". OK just wait 20 min, no problem.
We took our seats in the cabin's but some of them were shared with locals. Nice to meet some local people, right? Well the locals did not think so and started to make problems and getting the chief to kick us out. Well with locals that might have worked, but not with me. I just showed him our tickets so that we were at the right place. Their problem! But I could see that the chief was very unhappy, so I asked what he could offer if we would be so nice to move. So we got a upgraded cabin and the best service of a smiling chief for the rest of our journey.
Well not all problems were solved as in other cabins another tour-group had walked in with a very impolite tour-leader telling us to go away as this was his cabin. I checked again my tickets ... no he was wrong. So I called my still smiling chief and he took care of all my problems.
Not all problems of course. As I did not speak the local language and as the locals do not speak English I had a local translator with me. A nice girl, the daughter of one of the locale bosses. Too bad she could not speak English. She just typed it all in at her translator computer and then said "Maybe". Lost in translation.
You still think being a tour-leader is all fun? Then read part 2 next time!