I wrote this a bit ago and am just pasting it in while I have a second now. At the moment I’m with an excellent, fun group and not hating the job a bit. What a difference a week makes, eh?
Just stuck my hand in a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of this chair. Jeeze.
Mr Crabb arrived and would you believe that it is Steve Crabb—yes, the Steve Crabb, recently retired from the Australian ministry. The Aussies around are all very impressed, having seen him so much on TV. Of course, I am impressed too, but not so much that when offered the chance to dump Vivenne and Steve off on another guide while I stay back in Tashkent on parasite dehosting/administrative duties, I didn’t jump up and down with glee.
It will probably not surprise you to hear that taking care of tourists is a pain in the ass and I am not 100% suited to it. It takes a person with no sense of personal space, personal time, or personal interests outside of making inappreciative tourists happy in Uzbekistan (which to me is not so interesting). The job wouldn’t be bad if it were say, less than 24hrs a day and there were say, more than 24 hrs off a month. Surely this much labor can’t be legal…were it not for this break, I’d be touring non-stop until October. At least I manage to keep my sense of humor about it!
But would you believe that my last group had absolutely no appreciation of my charming sense of humor? I still can’t get over it. (More on this in Bulk 6 or 7.)
When you hear tour guide (or leader as the case may be), perhaps you think of someone who jumps on and off a bus with a bunch of tourists. Not so with [insert firm name]. We specialize in small group journeys and we use local transport, not a giant A/C tour bus. We also use local guides and local home restaurants. And it’s my job to arrange all this, in addition to minding the damn people. This means that when we go from city to city, I first taxi out to the local auto station and bargain with Uzbek drivers for decent price for a van to take us to the next destination.
Yes, a destination 9 hours away through the desert in a 30 year old Latvian built van. These vans have horrible ventilation possibly because only 2 windows open and possibly because exhaust comes up through the holes in the floor. All of them are like this (and don’t be insane, they do not have A/C). I can’t wait until July when the temperatures rise and stay well above 100 F. The notion of a big tour bus has become very romantic to me.