Friday, April 23, 2010


While standing in the parking lot at a favourite roadside burger joint in Atherley last night, a car wheeled into the lot and stopped near where I was standing. A smiling, blonde lady with a sense of immediacy about her, rolled down the window and asked-
"Is the Casino on the Rama Road?"
"Sure is"- I reply, "Go to the lights and turn right!".
She smiled. Expressed her thanks and off she drove into the night.
Actually, it wasn't night yet but it makes for a good story-telling image don't you think?

Living in Orillia has always given one the opportunity to play tour guide- mostly in the summer months.
Where's Rama Casino.
Where's the park? Uh, which one?
Which way to the lake? Uh, which one?
How do I find a liquor store?
Where's the closest beer store?
I'm looking for Bleeker Street? In Orillia?
You know. All the pertinent visitor enquiries.

It's fun to be helpful and leaves a good impression for the first-time Orillia visitor.

Reminds me of the Saturday-this past Easter Weekend, when we were in Hawaii . Tom and I decided- quite unexpectantly, to climb Diamond Head, the crater that is a huge landmark in Hawaii. It's at the east end- Mountain side, of the beach. The crater is usually in every sweeping panoramic picture you see of Waikiki. The picture that acccompanies this RobBlog was taken by Tom as we approached it that sunny, late morning.

As we did, we remembered driving into the crater's centre many trips ago. Unsure of where the entrance was, we asked a stalwart, 30-something looking guy who just happenend to be stripped to the waist- he was wearing nothing by beach shorts and flip flops, while out raking his yard.
When we asked him about the entrance- trying to concentrate on what he was saying and not his tanned abs and chest, he told us it was about a mile and a half away- in that direction.
He pointed down the street.
He was pleasant and obviously knew the way.
Being good looking was just an extra bonus that the Hawaiian Gods threw in- free of charge for this handsome "tour guide".

We started the walk. It was uphill. A slight grade. The walk took us through a regular, everyday Honolulu neighbourhood not unlike the one you or I live in- minus the palm trees and distinctive Hawaiian way of building homes. Towards the entrance of Diamond Head, we rested for a bit and used the washroom at a park opposite the entrance. It was on the edge of the grounds of a community college. This was the college we had asked several people about- including a Waikiki Street Ambassador, the day before. They had a farmer's market on Saturday mornings and we thought it might be fun to see. Since it was noon, the stalls were mostly cleared away.
A light rain began to fall, so we ducked for cover under the edge of the protruding roof that covered the washrooms. We stood there watching the last of the vendors dis-mantle their stalls. In front of us just a few metres away was an old white, wooden church. We had passed it while walking along the sidewalk. As we stood, two security guards walked to the building and pointed something- looking like a TV remote, at a black box attached to one of the rafters that supported the church.

A minute or two later the guards joined us under the protection of the roof's edge.
I asked them if the church had any historic value.
One said in a typical Hawaiian accent- "Don't know".
"Is it used for church services?"- I asked.
"Don't know. Think the college holds classes in there- or somethin'."
Not much info to be gleaned here.
"Is it open to look inside?"
The guards looked at each other and one says to me- "Not really, Bro".
So, I changed tactics and asked how long it took them to walk around the perimeter checking in with that "thing". I pointed to the remote-thingy he held in his hand.
"oh 'bout an hour or so."
I left it at that.
These two were not tour guides. As I think back, the one guy barely mumbled a word to me. It was the other guard who was the "Chatty Cathy".

So remember to at least try your best when playing "tour guide" to a visitor. They'll remember what you say
and how helpful you were during the short time you spent with them. Maybe when they get home, they'll write a story about how helpful you were.

Have a good weekend.
Ummm. which way to the Dairy Queen?