Discover Prompt 23: Note

The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.

Anna Quindlen

We’ve traveled alone, we’ve traveled with groups, and we’ve traveled with guides. And we can truthfully say that all means of seeing a new place are what you make of it, but of special note is what a native of an area, a guide, can bring to your experience.

Taking an impromptu question about olives from Bert, our guide in Mycenae shared information about the history and culture of these very special trees.

Over the past 10 years or so of retirement with travel as a special focus for us, we’ve been led through new-to-us cities and countries with some very special guides. Some of these knowledgeable people were assigned to us by travel agents. Some were guides we engaged through recommendations of others. But all have been genuinely helpful, going out of their way to show us their part of the world and to add to our understanding of the history and culture of the area.

Notably, our guides have shown us details. Things we didn’t expect to see. Like Fes from one of the highest points in the city.

Our driver and guide, Mohammed, shared his love of Fes from this high point above the city.

Or how a place was situated in the landscape to take advantage of protection or cooling breezes or views of the world beyond.

A tour guide in Masada noted how the former residents used vantage points in positioning certain buildings.

Our guides have noted details of cities, buildings, regimes that impacted history.

Our guide in Mycenae shared information noted the strategic placement of the city in the Peloponnese.

They’ve shared foods of the area and even answered our questions about how things grow, how and when they’re harvested, how they’re preserved, and what else native foods can mean to a society or a religious group.

Our guide in Hanoi for a “street food tour” was a chef herself. Here, she’s showing us the inside of a preserved egg. (Bert tried it. I didn’t.)

Sometimes, though, they just note things of the region by being themselves. They may wear native dress. They may caution you about how to act during a certain time — like Ramadan — or what foods to order before you even leave the hotel for a day of touring.

Leia, our knowledgeable guide in Morocco, showed up in native dress — well, except for her shoes — and talked openly about how the observance of Ramadan might impact our travel for the day.

It’s notes like these that we never even knew existed, but rich information from guides has increased our understanding and love of the people of the world and brought to light the customs we should respect and follow.

In the center of great guides and drivers in Africa, our favorite travel agent, Lauren Medley Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors poses for a group photo before going on safari.

So, here’s to tour guides and drivers everywhere. You may not be working as hard or as frequently as you would like right now during the coronavirus pandemic, but as we all get back to the joy of travel, we hope you’ll be with us as we note our commonalities and celebrate our differences . . . together.

Rusha & Bert

Top photo: A guide in flowing white robes leads our little caravan through the Sahara Desert.

This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!

10 thoughts on “Discover Prompt 23: Note

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks YOU for taking a look and commenting. We tend to get close to our guides, even joking with them and asking questions that maybe we should know but don’t always understand. They seem to open up to us, and we become friends. All travel is good, though, and being alone is a good way to see the world, too. Stay safe out there!

  1. Sue

    Totally with you on “all means of seeing a new place are what you make of it, but of special note is what a native of an area, a guide, can bring to your experience.”

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for your comment. We’ve had great guides, notable ones I guess you could say, so I don’t know what it would be like to have a crummy one. Hope we never find out! We’ve truly learned a lot for them, and they have been ambassadors for their countries as well.

      1. Sue

        Aaargh, that comment came out wrong, it was meant to say ‘I’ve had some great guides too’, dunno where undesirable came from…..

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