Tour Season, Cultural Bridges Blown Asunder… And Godzilla!

Riddle me this, kids: When is a dreary, rainy Monday morning at the height of bus season in Niagara Falls anything but boring?

Why, when you mix two Japanese tours, two buses, two clueless Japanese tour guides and two black-as-the-ace-of-spades drivers with yours truly, of course!

Yes, this is going to be a culturally-honest-but-wholly-inappropriate post, thank you very much. (But to be honest, the one driver described himself and his partner in the aforementioned manner, so I’m merely repeating the term, therefore I am only an accidental racist.) Now sit back and enjoy, Poindexter.

So as you’ve already surmised, I had two buses of Japanese tourists to load up this wet Monday morning – and it went as well as one would expect considering my involvement.

Japanese bus travelers are ridiculously-particular when it comes to their luggage and 90% of them follow the exact same pattern:

  1. They place their bags outside the door long before the scheduled time.
  2. They acknowledge the bellman as he picks said bags up.
  3. They race down to the lobby and wait beside the bus as the bellman drops the luggage off with the driver.
  4. They have to psychically touch their bag at least one more time before it goes on the bus.

I have no idea what happens if that last step isn’t completed but I’ve seen tourists of both genders weep and shake violently if they fail to establish tactile contact.

And if you thought the guests were nutty… Their handlers redefine terms like “odd”, “high-strung” and “batshit crazy”. The two male guides I encountered this morning had every opportunity to organize their groups’ bags by bus before we headed outside in the rain, but did they do so? Of course not. Where’s the fun in that?

This post involves water and has gone off the culturally-appropriate rails anyway, so…

So there I was, standing like a tall drink of water in the falling water as two Japanese guides who were wound tighter than a air traffic controller after ten cups of java scanned four full luggage carts of hard-shelled luggage. In the rain. One of them finally pulled up his hood to shield himself.

ME:  Oh, you’re getting wet are you? Good thing you have a hood!

GUIDE #1:  Yes! Hood very good!

ME:  Indeed! But you see… the thing is… I don’t have a hood!

GUIDE #1:  No… you have no hood! You all wet!

ME:  (Contemplating the public execution of this prick before speaking.)  Yes… yes I am. So could we speed things up? Before I die of pneumonia? Because when I come to work I like to not die.

Yes, I’m a rascal, thank you ever so much for noticing. But I’m a choir boy compared to the large African-American drivers who found themselves behind the Eight Ball with these guides. You see, drivers like to load their buses quickly and efficiently, and that wasn’t happening. And so one of the drivers summed it up perfectly when I finally had the chance to unload the bags.

ME:  These guys aren’t exactly organized, are they?

To which he responded:

“Organized? These motherfuckers is crazy!”

I have to admit, that one’s going to stay with me all week. At least.

My colleague had it worse, I’m afraid. When he lingered after unloading his cart, just to make sure all the bags were fully accounted for, Driver #2 was not impressed…

“If you waiting for a tip… see those assholes!”

Obviously all that sensitivity training they fill tour bus drivers with these days is paying off.

I’d be a fool to try to top that, right?

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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21 Responses to Tour Season, Cultural Bridges Blown Asunder… And Godzilla!

  1. Perfect Hook. What a laugh. Thanks.

  2. dianaepona says:

    Hmmm, sounds as if you almost had a Chinese fire drill, but they weren’t anywhere in the picture. 😉

  3. The tourist bus loads HA! Does bring up travel memories of DC and the big National Park areas – one odd thing – they way they load up elevators until it bounces – and then just stand there as if it’s going to heal itself and rise. And they do crowd the coffee machine in the breakfast area.

    The only way we found could grab an elevator spot in one popular DC hotel (while transporting/escorting The German to her latest assignment) was to have The German walk with us. Then the crowd would part like Mose’ sea to a low worshiping “Ooooh, A German Shepherd. oooooh”. We’d enter the elevator followed by one layer of respectful – obviously feeling honored -humans in a crescent around us and then managed to get to our room. One would hope the reverence towards dogs would carry over back to their home.

    But darn – take care of yourself, Hook. Winter hasn’t started – no getting sick this year!!!

  4. Oh my… life is always interesting isn’t it Robert?

  5. Theresa says:

    Holy Crap! The tour bus companies employ these people? How rude!
    You definitely see all sides of the “human experience”. Too freakng funny Hook!

    • The Hook says:

      To be fair, the drivers put up with a lot; their backs are sore from lugging dozens of bags ever day, the language/cultural barrier is tough to overcome, and they don’t get paid enough… so I get it.
      To a point.

  6. It amazes me how often you are willing to take one for the team just to entertain us. I personally appreciate your sacrifice to supply me with a much needed laugh.

  7. You may be the only blogger I know more irascible than I am

  8. Sure hope there was a tip somewhere!

  9. curvyroads says:

    Thanks for the laugh, friend! I’m sorry there was no tip for you, despite the rain and pain!

  10. Tara says:

    Sounds like you’re back in the game, Robert. And I’m happy to see it. Keep it coming. I need humor right now,

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