Funny Senior Travel Stories

Sep 14th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Travel

I have had the good fortune to have been a tour group leader for the Smithsonian (Paris/Provence), Scandinavian Seminars and Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholars) programs abroad.  I have met some wonderful seniors on each of my experiences.  Categorically, my senior participants were experienced travelers. There are however always “episodes” that come up as one travels, many of them downright funny or unusual.  I would like to share a couple of these stories with you today.

One of the first stories that comes to mind is being on a bus in Provence (southern France) when it was quite warm.  As we were headed to our next destination to view a famous monument the bus suddenly started to buzz very loudly in front of the driver.  Our bus driver immediately stopped the bus and indicated to me that the bus had overheated.  He jumped out of the bus with me close behind and proceeded to go to the back of the bus.  Here he opened the two large doors that enclosed the diesel engine.  Here observed a huge mass of tangled belts.  One of them had broken and became snarled with the other two pulling them off their pulleys.  He began to pound his head.  We were stranded.  I turned behind me and I saw Stan observing all the commotion.  He told me to ask the driver in French if he had any tools.  I asked and the answer was “non.”  Then he told me to ask the driver to “Get out of the way.”  This fellow was a trained engineer of some nature. He grabbed a large branch in a nearby ditch.  He then proceeded to pry the belts aside, loosening the broken one and stretching the other two back onto the right pulleys.  With two out of three now attached, he said, “Tell him to start the bus.”  I did and when the bus started up, the buzzing stopped within seconds.  We we in luck.  We then proceeded to our next stop and a different bus was sent out while we were making our visit.  I always remember the…”Tell him to GET OUT OF THE WAY, Jim.” 

Another time a neat fellow told me to be careful with him as he “was a felon.”  He then proceeded to tell me that he owned a large business in Aruba.  He was out with his pregnant daughter and wife diving to catch lobsters.  They would snorkel to the bottom, grab one and come up and toss him into the the boat.  As they were doing so a boat approached with a blue light flashing and a siren blaring.  The policeman in the boat told them that they were “all under arrest.”  He asked why and was told that they had several lobsters in the boat that were under the legal limit for size.  He told the policeman that they would sort them, measure them and toss the small ones back once they were done diving.  They were handcuffed and hauled off to a jail.  He was fined $1,000 and called a “felon” for this crime.  He was most upset that they wanted to handcuff his daughter who was eight months pregnant.  Later when my friend met the police captain at the jail, and told him what had happened, he received an apology and was told that the captain caught lobsters the same way… but the fine stood.

On another trip I had a very wealthy lady with me.  She insisted that everyone call her “Doctor” as she was Juris doctor, or doctor of Jurisprudence, commonly abbreviated J.D., which is the degree commonly conferred by law schools. In other words she was a lawyer/attorney.  She was informed before she came that the traveling rule was to bring one suitcase and a carry-on.  She had three suitcases and insisted that since I was a tour group leader that I was to carry her suitcases.  I informed her that, “I do not carry suitcases” so she struggled and was upset with me and let me know it.  As we would proceed down the road she would come up to the front of the bus where I was seated and would ask me to find out if “that château was for sale” that we just passed.  I told her that this was not part of my job.  She told me to find out.  I kindly asked her to “sit down”  as the bus was moving.  She did not like to be told to “sit down.”  She was the one who told people to “sit down.”  She would say over and over to me…”It is no sin to be wealthy, Jim… it is no sin to be wealthy.”  I discovered later that her family owned a huge oil firm.  Another attorney in the group refused speak with her as lawyers DO NOT call each other Doctor.  I know as my own daughter is an attorney.

What the heck…just one more.  This one may be the best one.  In France a couple in the group had relatives living there.  I was asked to make a phone call and to invite a relative to come in to the hotel and be an interpreter.  I accepted and it was interesting with lots of photos and “do you remember?”  That noon our group had eaten perhaps the longest noon meal I have ever had in France…something close to four hours.  The American couple invited all of us out for dinner.  The French lady said that she knew of a “nice restaurant” near the port and so we all went there.  I insisted that I was not hungry as they each ordered a meal.  They insisted back that I read the menu and find something that I might like.  Gee…I saw Lobster at $11 which looked pretty good so I ordered as did the French lady.  They brought out the struggling creature and showed it to us and it was a nice big one.   When the bill came it was $210 for the lobster that they had split in half for the two of us plus the couples meal.  Upon looking more closely at the menu, it read in very light grey print…”$11 per gram!”  When the fellow from my group saw the bill he started shouting very loudly in a very nice outdoor restaurant across from dozens of parked yachts with couples dressed in their very best white outfits…”Tourist Trap…Tourist Trap.”  I quickly told him that I would pay my share as did the lady.  He whipped out his credit card and said, “There goes the food budget!”  Kinda like when I was in Tokyo with my colleague and our tempura cost us $110 each.  There goes the food budget!  jeb

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