Saturday, August 24, 2019

Travelling Companions

There were 39 people in our tour group. As the second pick up point, we were down the back of the bus. One man was behind us and shortly after out guide introduced himself, the man called the guide to the back of the bus. The guided returned to the man with what turned out to be a garbage bag. Just two seats behind us, the man vomited for two hours solid. The noise of him puking got to me. The smell got to R.

He was clearly very unwell. While we saw Stonehenge, he went and bought a burger and a milk drink and subsequently vomited for the next hour on the coach. He was diabetic too, so our guide took him to Accident and Emergency in Bath and he rejoined us a few days later I think in Liverpool. He was a troublesome person in more ways than one. More to come about Joe.

Most of the tour group were from The States and sadly some quite a few of them fitted the stereotypes. One couple were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary and bragged about it. I did not tell them that R and myself have been together for forty years. She and and he were big units and she always wore a tee praising the lord, or some other religious slogan. Trumpet voters, I suspect.

Another was in his mid forties and incredibly handsome and a total bore as he banged on about war service in the Middle East, serving in Germany and Scotland with US Forces. He was a non functioning person and his wife did everything for him. All he had to do was be where he was told to be at the right time. Did I mention he was terribly good looking?

There were the mother and son from New Jersey. He was pretty hot in a lanky marine kind of way and favoured singlets and shorts as his preferred dress. I don't mind seeing young skin. His accent was fairly neutral, but his mother's accent sounded like she came from The Bronx. I am not sure that we earned her eternal gratitude when we found her lost phone on the coach.

I should not judge a country by one person, but oh the super arrogant Swiss man. He would have been mid thirties, his Canadian/Asian wife of plain looks a similar age. Physical assault is not usually at the fore of my mind, but I felt like punching him in the face at times. I pointed out something to his Canadian wife, saying doesn't that look like an Inuksuk? She said sorry, I don't know what that is. A fine Canadian citizen.

There was an Canadian/Asian couple. They were ok. There was a younger French Canadian couple who kept to themselves. While she could speak English, I don't think he could. From Montreal I think.

There was a three generation family from Eastern Europe? Grandma maybe my age, daughter and granddaughter. They were all slim and so fit and walked and walked.

There was a chap, European born, moved to Canada and married a woman of Indian heritage and they moved to Florida. They were quite nice. I heard at some point he came from Hungary to Canada. Then I heard heard him talking to the above mentioned family in a foreign language. Hungarian is a language all on its own, so I guess that is where the multi generational family came from.

Another couple came from Florida. They were my age and terribly fit and out and about walking and seeing things early in the morning, in spite of him drinking triple techilas with his dinner, and she have a good drink too. She could be a bit loud at times in that American way (sorry), but I had a couple of really nice chats to her and I liked her and she showed concern for us.

Stereotypes are often valid, but don't take them down to a personal level.

Also along for the ride was our tour guide's sister. They are South African born and quite English. She was nice enough and I noted took a lot of detailed hand written notes. I've probably forgotten some people. No matter. We did not really connect with anyone.

Our travel group last year in South Africa was nicer.

Gattina will know all about coach seat rotation but again on this trip it failed, with a favoured couple up front twice. Not as bad as in South Africa though.

38 comments:

  1. Andrew it was mixture of personalities

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  2. Invite only blogger buddies next time because we're all good looking, good company and none will irritate.

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    1. Tasker, only that I was so sure of that.

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  3. A decided mix. Some of which would have had me gritting my teeth to the point where I know my dentist would be rubbing her fingers with glee.

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    1. EC, I am sure that is true, and grit your teeth is what you have to do.

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  4. Really Andrew! "that American way". I will not take offence! LOL
    I know when I travel overseas, I am often flabbergasted by the rude way some Americans think they are superior to all and also if a person doesn't speak English they just speak louder to them.
    That being said, when I lived abroad I tried very hard to acclimate to my environment and to blend in. In Germany I could get around enough with my very limited German, and in England I adapted very well to the culture.
    I have not taken a guided tour like this. Most of my knowledge comes from actually living there and watching tourists (Americans and others)behave abominably.
    Very good post!

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    1. Maribeth, Australians can be known for being pretty loud and boorish when overseas too, although I have not really encountered them. Depends where you go, I expect. I am sure you blend in like a native everywhere.

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  5. A memorable bus trip in more ways than one.

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    1. Cheryl, we were not really surprised.

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  6. Going on an organised tour is a great idea because it saves the individuals all the messy work arranging buses, tickets into galleries, hotel bookings and breakfasts. Great idea

    But once the group breakfast is over each morning, I want to explore the cities by myself... and my partner. I don't want to hear about Trump, Praising the Lord, Bolsonaro or any other personal preference.

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    1. Hels, you are right about tours being easier, with less thinking. The name of #45 was never mentioned.

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  7. I guess since I am from America and I now wonder which states you are talking about the stereo type of Americans.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, to be on the safe side, I will say Florida.

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  8. 'People watching' is a great part of holidaying. Fish out of water often do the strangest things.

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  9. Oh Andrew, this made me laugh. It also confirmed my long held views about travelling on a coach with so many people. I have to accept I am a loner when it comes to travel. I got a text from BA last night to say my flight to Belfast has been cancelled due to pilots going on strike!! Fed up but not deterred I managed to get the last seat on an easyjet flight within 20 mins of the BA text. I will now have to sort out a refund from BA which I hope will be straight forward. A previous trip to Belfast had to be cancelled a couple of years ago. Do youthink this is an omen?

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    1. Marie, I guess we are loners too. We really like to do our own thing and if we don't do a lot, it doesn't matter. Getting a refund from an airline? Good luck with that. Assuming you are Protestant, you will fine in Belfast. Do have a dress perhaps with both the colours orange and green?

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  10. I'm so sorry you had to share the coach with an unwell person, and then to have him buy a burger and milkshake! How inconsiderate.

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    1. River, I can't say any better about it than it was a truly awful start. Isn't not eating what you do after vomiting for two hours and let your stomach settle?

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  11. I (we) have never taken an organized tour, I dislike buses (coaches.) Maybe we will try it one day.

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    1. Truly, if you have not done it before and you dislike coaches, then you shouldn't even try. You will hate it.

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  12. Honestly I could never do that tour thing with strangers. A day trip maybe but that would be pushing it. Way back in the mist of time, I would provide relief for the coach tour ammouncer at a bus station in Cork (I had/have a beautiful voice) and I'd watch the motley crew board the tour bus and think to myself: 10 days with this mixed bag of yokes would be purgatory on earth (Mainly Yanks of the loudest kind looking for their "roots").

    XO
    WWW

    It seems nothing has changed.

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    1. WWW, really interesting, especially about your time as a relief coach person. Wish I have a beautiful voice.

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  13. Our last bus tour was 39 people also. All American except for us and two Australian women. We naturally bonded with the Australians. As we bemoaned the behaviour of some of the Americans. As for the Asian-Americans who had to push in front of everyone to get their photos and taking selfies....
    I would freak with someone throwing up near me.
    Seat rotation was a thorn in some people's side. Doesn't bother me once I learned who to avoid.
    At the end of a bus tour I always swear never again. But it is an ideal way to get around.

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    1. Jackie, don't get me started on the Asians and their selfies. Seat rotation is good, so long as it is fair and in order, no ifs and buts. Yes, if you have limited time and want to see the sights, coach tours are good.

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  14. Oh my gosh, they should have thrown the vomiter out, especially after eating a hamburger, that's just too inconsiderate! Makes me feel queasy just thinking about it 😱 Aimee and I did a couple of bus tours in Europe, we must have been lucky, we still keep in touch with two lovely couples.

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    1. Grace, that is nice that you keep in touch with people. R keeps in touch with the lovely Irish nurses who we know from our South African holiday.

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  15. OMG, Tour Coach group travel. Never!

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    1. Dee, for us now never again. But at seven times the price, Trafalgar Tours might not be so bad.

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  16. Oh I could not take that, the sound of vomiting. And what was he thinking, to then get a burger and shake, to only vomit more.

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    1. Strayer, why he did that is a mystery to me, but he was odd.

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  17. That doesn't sound as if you had the ideal travel companions ! For this I have always been very lucky, except the very first time on the same trip as you, there was a family of 5 from the Philippines and he ran each morning before breakfast to the bus, waited until the driver had opened the door and took the best seats for his family by putting all kind of stuff on the seats. After the 3rd day I had enough as the guide a woman (it was her last tour, so she didn't make any effort) didn't move. I was with the driver at the bus before the guy arrived and sat on the steps. Of course he couldn't get inside. I told him that I won't move until he returns to the others and have breakfast and behave and follow the rotation rules. He was so surprised that he did ! and that for the rest of the tour. And they stayed apart. All the other travel companions were nice and on the other tours even better, we are still in contact today on Facebook ! We were like a family ! Great !

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    1. Gattina, I am surprised there wasn't normal seat rotation even if it was the guide's last tour. You did well anyway. I expect you wrote about who you travelled with but I can't remember. I will email you.

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  18. A bus tour sounds like hell on earth to me. I don't like buses and I don't like crowds and the vomiting would have finished me off! I travelled by bus to school for nearly all of my twelve years; for six of those it was a forty-five minute trip each way. With no washroom!

    But it makes an interesting blog post :D

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    1. C'mon Jenny, a school girl doesn't need a washroom for a 45 minute bus trip. I used to travel on the bus for 90 minutes to and from school. Thanks.

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  19. I think I would have to get out of the bus if I had someone vomiting near me as I would just follow suit just by hearing it! How inconsiderate of him to then eat and repeat, how gross!
    I've only taken a bus tour in my younger days, but I do prefer doing my own thing.

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    1. Sami, we have lived and learnt, especially about group coach travel, but now we are getting too old to do things ourselves.

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