Tag Archives: tourists

Tour Guide Stick

I work at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and that means that I see millions of tourists every year. Tourists are easy to spot. They walk slow, they carry cameras and maps, and they typically have a dopey look on their face. We get a lot of tour groups from Japan, and Japanese tour groups are heavily invested in the tour guide stick system. You’ll see a group of fifty Japanese students in matching uniforms following a balding guy holding a stick with a flag or bandana tied to the top of it. The bald guy holds the tour guide stick over his head as he walks down the sidewalk, and the students are able to follow him in the crowd. The tour guide stick helps to shepherd the tourists and keeps them from getting lost or separated. But the tour guide stick is not perfect. The bandana is the most important part of the tour guide stick, but the bandana can fall off. Then the tour guide is left holding a bare broomstick while his confused students start following a biker or a pirate.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under Random Rants

Watching a Tourist Struggle

It’s kind of fun watching a tourist struggle with what you find routine. You know the way around your city because it’s your city. You know the best places to go and the best ways to get there. You know how to get around quickly and efficiently. You know how the city flows and you feel like you are a vital part of it. And tourists stick out. You can spot them from a mile away. They don’t know the unwritten rules of your city. They dress weird, they say the wrong things, they get in the way and cause minor obstructions and traffic jams. They are a virus. They are disruptive. But they are also guests in your city, so you should treat them as such.

Watching struggling tourists isn’t an amusement, it’s a test of your true character. You don’t have to be their friend, but you should definitely help them out and offer them advice and tips and try to make them feel a little welcome. A new place can be overwhelming and a few acts of kindness can go a long way. I try to do what I can. If I see a person anxiously studying a map, I’ll ask them where they are trying to go. The other day I saw a kid trying to get onto the subway but couldn’t figure out how to enter the turnstile. As I walked by I told him to how to swipe it, and the brief look of relief on his face was better than any “thank you” he could have muttered.

It’s fun watching a tourist struggle. It’s more fulfilling to help them out. You have to remember that you like to travel, and travellers are essentially glorified tourists. You don’t want to be treated like a tourist. So don’t treat tourists like they are inferior. Because human rights and all that.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under People I Feel Sorry For

Pedicab

A pedicab is a pedal-powered taxicab. It looks like a giant tricycle with a couch in the back. It’s a green and clean form of transportation, but your speed is entirely dependent on how in shape your driver is and how many people you have crammed into the pedicab. You’ll see two couples snuggling in the back of the cab as the wheezing driver struggles to obtain a speed faster than 10 miles per hour. You can walk faster than most of them. You usually find pedicabs in groups of three or more waiting outside of tourist attractions in major cities, desperately hollering at people, begging for their business. I’m convinced that the pedicab industry is based entirely on pity. No self-respecting local would be caught dead in one. They are for tourists who are tired of walking and are too cheap to take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. I like the zero-emission concept, but there should be a way to make being green less embarrassing.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under Random Rants