Friday, April 1, 2011

Asian Tourist Trap

           As part of our contract for teaching at SHANE, there is a clause that says that we will be having field trips every other month. When the half-year review of the company came up and they asked for suggestions or concerns (Which there was a list full), I hammered them for this breach in contract, insisting that we needed our field trips and it was part of the contract as they ALWAYS refer to that when it benefits them but never us. After months of waiting, we finally got our field trip this month. We went to this water city about an hour and a half outside of shanghai called Zhouzhong, which is called “the Venice of China”, which makes them one of a many to make that claim.  Excited that not only are we getting our field trip but also the owner of the company Mr. Lu was going to pay for half of the trip, which was real surprising since he is beyond a cheap-ass. We met at People Square, the busiest metro station in Shanghai to catch a bus that left at 8 am on a Sunday morning. Yes that’s right I got my butt out of bed earlier than I would normally do to go to work on a weekend to go to this field trip. There were a total of 10 of us from Shane who came on this trip.                               After talking with Ryan, one of my supervisors, it turns out that the place we were going was not originally where they had planned to go for the field trip but it was switched last minute because Mr. Lu also has his foot in the travel agency business and he could get us a “discount” but really just profit off of us. Thanks to Mr. Lu we were signed up for a full on Asian tour group, the ones where they get on the greyhounds and no one speaks English and all they take over all the sightseeing spots. Painfully, I sat the whole trip listening to the tour guide yap in Chinese the whole way their in what felt like a roller coaster ride, as we were driven by a horrible driver who made it impossible to sleep, with his recklessness. As we talked on the bus we also found out that this trip was also not the half-day trip as we had thought but ended at 7pm!!!!!                                                                                                                    What could we possibly be doing for such a long time? Well we stopped at a temple, which was a gated area that was about half the size of the football field. We stayed there for an hour and a half, but the group I was with walked it in less than 30 minutes, and that was with us screwing around and talking. Somehow about 4 people did not get the memo on what time to get back on the bus after the tour guide repeatedly said that we were leaving at 10:50. After sitting on the bus we finally left at 11:30. Where were the lost tourist? Shopping at the freaking gift shop!!! Unbelievable. After the mini temple we finally headed to the water city. After walking around with the tour guide for a while and taking pictures, it was time for lunch. They brought us to a restaurant and said that we had to eat at it even though there were way too many people and the menu was not appetizing. We asked one of the tour people what time we should meet back and he refused to tell us a time insisting we needed to eat there. Finally we walked off and went to find food on our own. We walked around a took more pictures and leaving our tour group behind, since they took forever to see anything since they took pictures of everything. After meeting up on the bus, we were blessed with the opportunity to hit up not one but two more markets, where we could buy local goods and they could make a commission of us.                                                                                                              The longer I was on the tour, the less I enjoyed the field trips as they tried to milk every dime out of you. Dang you Mr. Lu for being so cheap. This field trip could have easily been done in a matter of a few hours and made into a half a day trip. All we needed was a few of the drivers to take us in the work vans and boom we got ourselves a fieldtrip, but instead you are too cheap, and put us through this painful field trip. Sad to say this might be my last field trip if we have to go on one of these horrible things again. Please note these pictures look a bit blurry because of the sizing on the blog, just click on the picture to see it full screen

No comments:

Post a Comment