Lessons for a Tour Guide or What I learned from India when I travelled with Non-Indians.
My time travelling in India with my American friends was productive in more ways than one. Other than of course the joy of visiting different places, I got to learn a lot more.
One of the unofficial slogans during our time together was "Make your dreams come true". Not everyone had a dream in the first place and some had to live out others' dreams for them. My designated dream, well aim actually, was to get in touch with my roots. And I did quite well if I should say so myself. Here are some of the things I learned.
1. I figured out that the head wobble is a wide spread phenomenon. And that I did it too. I was told though, that I didn't do it in China, and it probably came as a surprise to my friends who saw me wobble my head to everything when I was in Kerala. Well, at least it surprised me.
2. When Genies are done with their three wishes they come to India for a happy retired life. If you don't believe me, ask Brad, he knows all about it. How else can you explain all those strange non- Indian beings wearing Genie pants?
3. Strange Indians think that strange foreigners have strange tastes. eg. Giant balloon sellers.
4. When you travel with foreigners, you are almost never considered a tourist unless you ask 'tourist' questions with your foreigner friend in view. This usually makes them answer in English.
But once you start talking with someone they are really friendly. In fact they become so friendly that they want to tell you lots and lots of things. And they also want to tell you what they think of foreigners and start describing previous encounters with the 'strange ones', not all of which are very flattering.
5. I noticed that in India, people like to wave at everyone. This is probably something that comes very naturally because I remember waving like crazy at everyone, whenever we used to go on trips. Maybe it's the Indian traveller thing to do.
6. It is a great thing to be able to understand what the local is saying, even if they don't know that you do.
7. Many tourists have a certain image of India in their minds which they love to re-create once they are actually there. We call them strange people with strange ideas. But sometimes, when you look at things from their point of view, you are not so sure anymore... maybe just 85% sure.