Terrible tour guide jokes...Club Med to China...Air Canada Awards...2010 RV's
Read an Agence France Presse story this morning that talked about how hundreds of tour guides from across Italy staged a demonstration in Rome on Thursday.
Seems they're ticked about a government proposal to bring in a "nationwide qualification" for being a tour guide. Apparently the government wants to have national standards and "national guides" so there's a bit of consistency. But the guides say it's crazy and that local guides need local knowledge and not some sort of national qualification.
I don't know; perhaps the government just wants to have national standards and not subject all guides to having knowledge of cities up and down the Italian peninsula. The reports aren't clear on that front, but the guides were mad enough about it to stage a demo with banners reading things like "endangered species" and "national guide, cultural poverty," so it must be serious. (Not that folks in Italy need much of a reason to demonstrate or strike, right?)
It would be silly to demand a guy or woman in, say, Palermo, understand the history of Milano or Firenze. My idea isn't so much make up any national standards but to PLEASE GOD FIND SOMEONE TO STOP THE HORRIBLE JOKES.
A long time ago, I remember going on a tour of Montreal and some guy pointed out an office building and said it was designed by an Italian architect. "You can tell he was Italian because there's spaghetti hanging out of the windows."
A few years later, I remember being on the Wailua River in Hawaii (it's on the island of Kauai and it's the only navigable river in the state in case you're ever on Jeopardy) and some tour guy came up with some remarkable groaners.
"Those are international bathrooms," he said, pointing to some porta-potties. "When you go in, European (you're a peein'). When you come out, you're Finnish (finished)."
HOW HORRIBLE IS THAT?
Someone, please, stop these people. A good tour guide is a wonderful thing. But not all guides are created equal, that's for sure.
RV IT IN VANCOUVER/WHISTLER?
Here's something I hadn't thought of. The folks at GO RVing Canada report RV rentals and campgrounds are still available for folks who haven't been able to find a hotel room but want to catch the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics, which start pretty darn soon (Feb. 12).
Rooms in Vancouver are advertised, they say, for $600 a night. But GO RVing Canada says you can get one of their winterized (I would hope so) units for $200 to $300 a night and can generally accomodate four to six people. Doing the math, that's not bad. Mind you, some hotels can sleep four to six people, too. Or at least two to four.
Anyway, I hadn't thought about a campground. But spots apparently still are available for $40 to $75 a night, depending on proximity to Olympic venues. For info, go to www.gorving.ca
AIR CANADA THUMPS ITS CHEST
The folks at Air Canada say they picked up four awards Thursday night at the Business Traveler magazine awards show in L.A. According to the airline, they were given awards for:
- Best Flight Attendants in North America
- Best In-Flight Services in North America
- Best North American Airline for Business Class Service
- Best North American Airline for International Travel
It seems fair, although personally, I don't know about flight attendants being the best. They're pretty good but certainly not as friendly, for the most part, as others I've flown with. But I haven't been able to find anything on the web to confirm any of this or explain who voted or when, and the folks at business travel haven't posted anything on their web site.
I'd have to agree about in-flight services with the tv's showing all those movies and all that. But I rarely fly biz class so I don't have much to compare them with. As for best NA airline for international travel, I suspect that's true. But it's not like they're swimming in the deepest pool, folks. Surveys routinely put airlines like Singapore and Cathay Pacific and Emirates at the top of the heap, far above North American airlines.
Still, four awards is four awards. Air Canada says no other airline in the world got that many, so they're obviously doing some things right.
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