Every year I think there can't be any more tourists. and every year I'm wrong. It's been a really good few years for those of us willing to hustle hard in the tourism game - we'll see what next year brings.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I talk about pizza a lot on my tours. The more highbrow guides hate this - they want to focus on 19th century poets and Beaux Arts architecture. But this isn't what tourists think of when they think about
There are countless shows about various types of cooking and cuisine on TV nowadays - eating is big, and it's something everyone does. When tourists come to
It's kind of irrelevant what the "best" pizza in
But there's a certain limit to my playing it fast and loose. I let them know about coal-fired brick oven pizza (for those of you who don't happen to be pizza aficionados, the "coal-fired" part is more crucial than the "brick oven" part), and when talking about the best pies I stick to the generally accepted heavyweights. And like any responsible tour guide, I let them know that they aren't going to find anything really good anywhere near
When I worked on the Blue Bus, our dispatcher was guy named Rodney. Rodney's quite a character in his own right, and there'll be lots more stories about him, but perhaps his most amazing trait was the way he answered questions. He always had one, and only one consideration when answering any question from a tourist (or anyone for that matter) - which is what answer would get them out of his hair the quickest. I don't think he was even of conscious of if the answer was entirely factually accurate or completely ridiculous - what happened to actually be the truth was completely irrelevant. One time I heard Rodney get asked by a tourist where he could find the best pizza in
And you know what? That tourist was probably really happy that he just happened to be 2 blocks away from the best pizza in all of
I shouldn’t have brought up pizza on my tour. As it ended and folks were disembarking at the Northern outskirts of
The more I deal with tourists, the harder it is to not just follow Rodney’s philosophy of telling them the answer they want to hear. When I got asked, for the fourth time, where to find good pizza I almost gave in and said “Sbarro’s, one block down turn right.” But I couldn’t do it – I haven’t degenerated to that level of cynicism. Yet.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So the Grey Line (the red double decker you see around town) guides accepted a really, really bad contract. Why? Because the economy sucks and this city is built off of labor abuses. And tour guiding is a hustle, not a job, and unions are good for jobs, not hustles.
Many more thought on unions will be forthcoming.