Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Love for the Australian tour guides

Almost completed obstructed by a large hat, that man in the background is Bruce!

Often the travels you go on are shaped by the people you meet. They may not become your friends and you may not meet them for very long but they can make or break your experience and often leave a lasting impression. During my trip to Australia I went on a few tours and four of the tour guides we had all had interesting stories to tell: interesting enough for me to want to share them with you!

1. Cameron
Our first tour was to the Great Ocean Road. We didn't know what to expect and were met by our tour guide, Cameron, in the foyer of our hotel. He was a lot younger and more casually dressed than either of me or my boyfriend had expected. We got in the minibus and found out that we were actually the only two on the tour. Cameron started to ask us about ourselves and obviously being polite we reciprocated the questions. Cameron is from Melbourne and is a struggling musician, he is a rock singer! He has now decided to join a covers band as it is a better way for him to make money. We talked about the struggles of making a living from music and the amount of time it takes to maintain the standard expected of you. His girlfriend is a secondary school teacher and we spoke about how undervalued teachers are, but then we also found out Cameron had exactly the same taste in music as both me and my boyfriend. He played us some of the music a band had sent him as a sample. We had so much in common and it was almost awkward not to exchange numbers at the end of the tour! We didn't, but it was a bit spooky how well we all got on!

2. Javier
The second tour was to Philip Island where we would see penguins in the wild. We were picked up by Javier. He is originally from Mexico City and moved to Auckland at first but found the city too small so him and his wife decided to re-locate to Melbourne, where the population is much bigger. He told us how he had left his six year old twins at home with his 27 year old daughter and her daughter! He swiftly assured us not to worry, the twins and the 27 year old were both from the same wife! His wife wasn't around as she had gone to visit her friend in Auckland. We spoke about Mexico City and what he liked about the place but also the reasons he moved. This job was not his sole career, his primary business was his ice lolly business. He made and sold cocktail ice lollies! He said the most popular flavour was the mojito! We found out how important his ice lolly business was to him when we sat in the mini bus waiting for him to finish a business call about them for 5 minutes! He was also going on holiday with his wife to Malaysia as it was the cheapest holiday he could find and we had to wait for him in the gift shop whilst he quizzed some poor Malaysian tourists on the country! 

3. Scott
When we got to Sydney our main tour was to see the Blue Mountains, unfortunately there was such thick fog that we hardly got to see them. Luckily our tour guide was Scott! First of all we found out that he used to live about a ten minute walk away from where we live now! Secondly, he told us about an epic cycle ride that he undertook that led to him working in the tourism industry. A couple of years ago he decided to live out his dream of cycling from his father's birth place in Kent, England to his birthplace in Sydney! It took him 15 months but he did it! It completely blew me away, I'd heard of people cycling from London to Paris, but from England to Australia, I was gobsmacked! His wife had said that the deal would be that once he got to Sydney they would start trying for a family, unfortunately all that cycling hasn't done Scott's fertility any good.

4. Bruce
One of our final tours was to the Daintree Rainforest. For this tour the group was slightly larger but this didn't stop our guide, Bruce, sharing his life story with us! Bruce has lived in and around the rainforest for the past 25 years. For part of that time he made documentary films about the area and the other part he has lived in the bush with aborigines learning the secrets of the rainforest. He told us about the stinging bush and the reason why some of the trees are bent or are in spirals. When the trees were young saplings the aborigines used to bend them in order to provide directions in the rainforest for others! Bruce also told us that the best footwear for him in the rainforest is bare feet!

No matter where I go, I always people watch and I always want to know more about how people came to be where they are today. For some people it's the beauty of nature that attracts them to travel and for others, it's the people.

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