Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I am going to be an ace tour guide!

I have begun to find out about Hong Kong guided walks. Some are very expensive, aren't they? Asking $800 to walk with you from one side of our puny island to the other.

$800! There's only one path! If I was following that walk, for $800 and one path, I would want several naked men and a decent bottle of red wine thrown in.

Then I thought, I bet that's an easy way to earn money. Being a tour guide. I could organise tours for hapless tourists and I would be rich by next Thursday.

So I have decided to start my own tour guiding business. I'm doing it right now and I'm offering a more competitive rate than $800. I have to. Dig won't strip off.

But first I must cut my teeth on this tour guiding business.

I have found a list of do's. I shall follow that. I am sure to succeed!

1. Do: Organise the meet point precisely.
Well this is easy. I sit on the ferry with a broken phone connection and I make Ditta get on a boat too and come to meet me and be experimented on.

From then, it takes only 45 minutes to locate each other in the shopping centre. Both of us hang on the telephone to follow each other round, saying things like 'I'm just passing Zara!' 'So am I!' 'We must be near each other!' 'Yes! I'm just passing City Super!' 'So am I!' 'We must be near each other!' (Repeat for 45 minutes until one of us stops at a toilet.) It only takes us one hour 30 minutes to get started! PASS.

2. Do: Give everyone information in advance about the places you will see.
I can do that! Hey everyone! We are going to the Ping Shan Heritage Trail to explore the Tang Clan!

Ping Shan? Tang Clan? It rhymes! Let's go to Ping Pong Ding Dong and find out about Bang Shang Dang! What do you mean, Squirrel? Am I being rude? Hmm. Upsetting the neighbours doesn't sound good for my business. But what about Humpty Dumpty? He rhymes. Good grief, you can't say anything these days. It's all so controversial. Very well, let's go to Ping Shan for the Tang Clan and not say Tingtong Dingdong Bingbong. PASS.

3. Do: Plan your route in advance.
PASS. Except I have never been here in my life, obviously. When you take Grit's Guides for real, of course we won't blunder about the metro looking for an exit, or take the path that looks likely. It's a dead end, stupid. We'll know what we're doing second time. Take the road, turn left by the truck stop, head to the rubbish bins. These Chinese, they know how to present a heritage trail.

By the way, I apologise for my assistant Tiger. When she faces sudden new directions she breaks out in a screaming fit.

4. Do: Tell an interesting story at each stop on your route.
EASY. Here is the pagoda! Six hundred years old!

Looks like it was built in 1992. Apparently it brings good luck. Except the top four storeys fell off in a thunderstorm. Maybe it brings good luck but only if you stand in the right wind direction, what?

And, did you know? Pagodas are Buddhist and will show you the way to immortality. Typical. We can't get in. Bloody cheek. The pagoda guard just shut the door on me then hung a sign on it, saying Meal Break. We will have to find our own way to immortality until 2pm. Never mind. PASS.

5. Do: Draw everyone's attention to interesting features as you walk.
Yes, here we are, passing the Shrine of the Earth God!

No Ditta, I don't know anything about it. Except that it is v. interesting.

And here's the walled village! Strangely reminds me of Sheffield.

Old well.


6. Do: Add original research to your tour.
EASY EASY EASY. I can make up stuff like a proper tour guide, no problem! Ditta, you can have a flying wombat if you like. One that lands on someone's head and claws their face off. It is an evil wombat! Help us! Only the forces of good can save us now!

Ahem, apart from that type of original approach, here's stuff I nicked from a blog. I shall read it out.
'Here is the shrine of a general. He is revered as a god, because he gave up his li fe in honour of his master.'
What is that, his lee fay? What is a lee fay? I don't know what that is. It must be something Chinese. Alright everyone, listen to me explain this. I am the tour guide.
This man was very brave because he gave up his lee fay. Do you not know what a lee fay is Squirrel? Tsk. I shall tell you. His lee fay was a magic shield which had been given to him by another god who was very pleased with all that he had done in his life.
What's that Squirrel? Life? Li fe? Shut up. Don't tell anyone. I think I got away with it. PASS.

7. Do: Keep the group together at all times.
Yes Ditta found Shark eventually. What do you take me for? The type of tour guide who hasn't a clue where she's going and can't remember the faces of her own children? PASS.

By the way, here are some ancestral halls. V. old.

8. Do: Make sure all stops on the tour are accessible.
It is only a little hill! Stop whining! And how was I to know the explanation gallery at the top is locked up? Who's supposed to be organising this? Don't they know these places shut?

Squirrel, what do you mean you are copying out the map in case we get lost again. Tsk. I shall demote you in my new office arrangements if you're not careful. PASS.

9. Do: Leave time for questions.
No I don't know. Ask Dr Internet about calligraphic practices in public places 1280-1460. I'm busy, talking to Ditta about saucepans. Right, any more questions about the woks, Ditta? PASS.

10. Do: Make sure the tour ends at a convenient place for departure.
No problem. I'm sure there will be an underground station if we look a bit harder. What's that? Is it a tram? Can we catch it? I have no idea Tiger. But let me reassure you. We won't end up in Pittsburgh.

There! This tour guiding stuff is EASY. Ditta says I am very good! I made it with FULL MARKS. Well done me.

Now I am a fully qualified tour guide available for hire at only $2000 per walk. I know it's a little bit expensive but I guarantee to make your tour extra memorable when half way round I take all my clothes off.

1 comment:

March 17th said...

I agree you were born for the job - well done indeed. Yellow backpacks all round ? x