We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How to Set Your Tour Group At Ease

As you have seen in previous posts, we traveled to Jordan with Beth’s family over Christmas. We were a bit apprehensive about traveling to the land that borders Iraq to the east and the West Bank to the west. The people of Jordan, however, lived up to their peaceful reputation. Mostly. We found the traffic there to be terribly civilized—people stopped at red lights and stayed in their lanes and things like that. Can you say “boring”? The ground on the roadside was largely free from the litter we’ve become accustomed to in our new home. But we did experience one pretty funny story that reminded us why these people have been in wars with each other for all of recorded history.

When we arrived at the airport, a man met us just as we got off the plane and helped us get through customs and out to the bus. Our travel agent had reserved a small bus for the nine of us to tour in. In that bus, a tour guide waited and greeted us warmly. He told us how fortunate we were that our originally scheduled guide was unable to be with us, because that meant we got him as the substitute, and he was the expert in the areas to which we were traveling and absolutely knew more than any other tour guide in the history of earth.

When he got around to asking who we were, he was thrilled to learn that Beth’s brother Gary is a singer (check him out—and buy a CD—at
www.garyfieldsmusic.com). So the tour guide immediately started listing off all the American singers he knows and loves, and then he told us this story.

Now keep in mind, we had probably been in the country for an hour and a half at this point. So you see, this guy has a huge CD collection of all sorts of music. Classic rock and jazz, primarily, but lots of other music, too. Just thousands of CDs, the way he described it. Some time in the past (he didn’t say when) someone broke into his house and took some of these precious discs—his very pride and joy. If this happened to you in the USA, you might file a police report. If you thought you knew who did it, you might have the police find them and arrange to return your property. Or you might decide to see them yourself. Not over here. Since our guy was sure he knew who it was who had bothered his collection, he didn’t involve the police—he just arranged to have the guy’s car burned. HE HAD HIS CAR BURNED!! And he said it was really painful for the guy, since his passport and some other important stuff was in the car.

So we’d been in the country not long at all, and we’re facing a week of riding in a bus with a tour guide who has made some Arab enemies. Beth turned to her dad and told him that we should try hard not to make him mad. I was more concerned that the enemies he already had might try to seek revenge by terrorizing his latest tour group. Luckily, we had a very peaceful trip.

And here, as a special bonus, is Gary Fields, demonstrating the difference between his serious singer face and his goofy little brother face.

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