Sunday, August 8, 2010

Our Guide Gets Very Lost

We had signed up to go on a day trip to the Ming tombs, where 13 of the 16 Ming emperors are buried. What was supposed to be a 40-minute bus ride turned into a three-hour odyssey which nearly ended in tour group mutiny against our dumber-than-dirt tour guide, Jack. The normal route to the tombs was closed due to road construction, so then our genius driver decided to take a "shortcut" instead of the marked detour but then found out an hour down the road that our bus was too big to travel the road he had in mind (which I am not convinced actually led to the tombs we wanted to see). To make things worse, the driver kept turning off the air conditioner in the bus so we were all hot and miserable. After an emergency potty stop for half the bus, we got turned around to where the correct detour was, drove another 45 minutes, and then stopped so the driver and our idiot tour guide could ask the locals for directions. And throughout all of this, Jack kept telling us that it would only take "10 more minutes", leading us to believe that he has no concept of time in addition to his many other faults.

Then we finally arrived.

Jack was totally useless as a tour guide; he didn't tell us anything at all about the tombs, just basically dropped us off and turned us loose on our own.

I told Bennet that up to this point, we had hardly been in any pictures together except for group shots of all four of us. Seems like it was always me and Lee, Bennet and Missy, me and Missy, or Bennet and Lee, but never me and Bennet or Lee and Missy. So this is the Bennet and Christy picture.

This is our wannabe Fabio pose (which also doubles as the thank-goodness-we're-off-the-bus pose).

At this point we've been in China for nine or ten days, something like that, so we started getting a little more creative with our picture poses :)

Cool carving that was up the middle of the stairs on the way in to the tomb.

Some architectural shots...

So, once we went inside the building to go see the tomb itself, it was kind of like we'd gone to Emerald City in the Land of Oz.

Y'know, if it was underground.

Photos of the carving inside the tomb.

My guide book says this is the tomb of Wanli (who ruled 1573 to 1620). Jack didn't tell us jack.

Photo of the courtyard from up on the Spirit Tower (which is above where the Emerald City tomb is). Maybe we were all tombed out by this point, or maybe we were just cranky with how bad our guide was. Granted, we were at this point used to being a tour group of four and suddenly we were part of a group of 40, but trust me when I say that Jack was bad. I don't think Lee and I got any pictures of him on our camera (if we had, I would have been tempted to past his photo on a dartboard). Unfortunately, we were stuck with Jack for our entire tour of Beijing. Bleah.

Know what was really funny, in that I'm-going-to-strangle-someone kind of way? As we were leaving the tomb, the bus driver tried to turn the wrong way and Jack didn't even notice. One of the American passengers had to tell the bus driver to turn around before we ended up on another 3-hour tour of the not-so-nice parts of China.

One more thing for today...proof that we participated in the marfon (Jack's way of saying marathon):

I refused to wear my marfon shirt. But the medals were kind of cool-looking.

But alas, not chocolate.

Tata for now, peeps!


Giffysk8s said...

I know that I am a totally mean friend for laughing at your expense, so please oh please forgive me~but I simply cannot stop chuckling over Jack-who-didn't-know-jack! Maybe that's how he got his English name and he just doesn't know what it means. But even a lousy tour guide can't spoil the architectural beauty of those tombs. And the whole thing did inspire the goofy portrait poses~those alone make up for Jack! Well, at least for me they do. :)

CCsMom said...

So cool! And did you notice the similarity in this and Shuri Castle? Lots of Chinese influence on Okinawa, isn't there? But these are pretty funny. The tour of China is almost over with, huh? Next we'll see the top of Mount Fuji. I didn't understand what all the grumbling was about until we talked and you explained the whole Mount Fuji climb. Whew! Well, it will be one of those, "Hey, I climbed Mount Fuji and I'm still alive!" things to tell your grandkids some day. (Grand dogs, maybe.) But I'll be anxious to see pictures of that. Should be fascinating. I'd love to be there and cheer you on (or drag you up, whichever is most appropriate!). Love you, kiddo! Mom