Have you ever been on a guided tour where the guide had no idea what he was talking about? Or maybe she was rude, or it just did not click? I have!
I do not take too many guides tours when I am on travels. Actually I feel pretty stupid following a big group and guide around. I like to discover a new place on my own, or have a local friends to show me around.
However, sometimes you do not have another choice than to go with a tour guide. And sometimes when I have been traveling all alone I actually felt like going in a group, as I knew I would get to know other people. It is easier and safer, and everything is arranged. You do not need to think, just follow. This is why I have taken guided tours quite a few times. Though I have had many great tour guides. There are others that maybe should be thinking about finding another job.
One of these, was my tour guide in Machu Picchu. When I arrived to Agua Caliente in train, I was supposed to be met by the tour guide that would show me to my hotel. However, he never came. I had no clue which hotel that was in my package already paid, and after waiting for 30 minutes I called the agency, which also cost me a fortune. They said they would send the guide to look for me. But no one came. After 30 more minutes more, I called the agency again, costing even more. They said the tour guide had been there and looked for me but could not find me. However, as I was alone at the small train station, it must have been a lie, as I was not hard to spot. I asked for the hotel name on the phone, and asked people around where it was, but no one knew. After 30 more minutes a woman (that was not the guide) came to pick me up and I finally got to check in on my hotel.
In the night the guide actually came when I was eating dinner, to explain me some details of the trip up to Machu Picchu the next day. He wanted to give me his number so in case something happened I could call him. I gave him my phone for him put the number. And guess what, he deleted the number of my husband!!! I was so mad!!! As that night I was supposed to call him before going to bed, and I did not know his number in my head.
The next day, the group met for go from Agua Caliente, up to the lost city of Machu Picchu. The tour guide sat next to me on the whole bus ride up. I felt so uncomfortable, after what he did. During the tour he was so boring, that half of the group left after a few minutes to go by themselves. Though I have to admit that he knew the history of the place and Incas very well. So credits for that!
Because not all tour guides know what they are talking about. Some just makes up things from their fantasy! Seriously! I have had tour guides like that. The worst was in India. But also in Malaysia I experienced the same. When you ask them a question, you see that they do not know the answer and just makes something up. When you check the facts afterwards, what they said have nothing to do with the reality.
Or sometimes the tour guide might know the facts, however you just do not understand what he or she is saying. When I was living in New York, I took a tour to the Niagara Falls that went from China town. I was the only person not Chinese, except one more Russian girl, in the whole bus. I could not understand a word the guide said, as it was in very bad English with a Chinese accident. Anyway, the trip was overall very cheap and good.
But maybe the worst experience I have had with a tour guide was in Taj Mahal. The tour guide did not leave me alone, even after the tours. In the nights he wanted me to join him to the movies. He wanted me to have romantic nights with him with massages. I felt even a bit scared of him after a while. I tried to get away saying I was tired and wanted to sleep, or needed to skype with my husband. But even when I was skyping with my husband he was there! He probably just wanted to give me extra service as I was travelling alone. But sometimes even if you travel alone it does not mean you are lonely and need company all the time. Sometimes you might just want to be in your own company.
While in Morocco I had a guide that asked my friend many times how many camels he could buy me for. Like my friend (which is a guy , but just a friend), owe me and can sell me!? That does not make sense for me. However, the exact same thing have happened with some tour guides in other Middle East countries, I have been to. I understand that some just do this for fun and as a joke. The first time they ask, it can be funny, but the 10th time it is not!
In Gambia and Senegal, we also had an experience with some guides that promised something totally different than we actually got to see. We had the impression that they lied a lot. However, we were thinking it was a cultural thing, and tried to overlook it. And the trip turned out pretty good in the end, despite the lies. Yeah, all the tours where in the end fine. However, the guides made them all extra memorable due to their behaviours.
Have you ever experienced a bad or extraordinary tour guide on your travels?