Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Q is for...

Quite interesting

I bet you all thought Q was going to be for Questions! Fooled you. Anyway, last week I asked you to ask any question you might have for me and I promised to answer them all! So, here goes...

16? Yeah right!!

Richies: What is the craziest tourist experience you have had?
Me as the tourist: me and my sister were on holiday somewhere in Luxemburg several years ago. We decided to go to the pool one afternoon and as I was standing at the ticket counter, holding my handbag and my car keys, I was asked whether I wanted a child's ticket? I looked in some confusion at my sister who looked back equally dumbfounded and then asked the girl until what age the child's tickets went. The answer was 16. When I then told her I was 26, she turned bright red, started mumbling a bit and didn't know how fast she had to give me the tickets! And I had to pay full price!!!

Fiat 500 in Rome

Me dealing with tourists: the worst and most memorable experience was probably in Rome. Before everybody had gotten off the coach, I had given them my phone number, in case of emergency. We were due to leave again at 4.30pm and at 5pm I was still missing one man. I phoned the hotel where his wife still was and she gave me his mobile number. I tried phoning him, but no luck. I then phoned the travel company who told me to drive back to the hotel. Fifteen minutes later the travel company phoned me: they had had word from the man. I stopped and tried to phone him again. Finally after more than thirty minutes I got hold of him. Told him to give his phone to a taxi-driver so I could tell the taxi-driver where to take him. When he finally arrived (nearly two hours late) he had the nerve to say he was never given my phone number!!! (This was only the first of many run-ins with him and his wife)

Mountie and Elk in 'It's a small world'

Misfit in Paradise and Carolina: where do you want to live in Canada and why there?
In my case it isn't so much as choosing where I want to live as going where I'm needed. Since I only have a high school diploma, I only get a few points for my education (Canada works with a point system for immigrants, you need a minimum of 67). So, I need a job. However, my job isn't really needed in the nation of Canada. The Province of Alberta thinks differently however and there are quite a few busdrivers needed. Which means Alberta is the province where I will be heading. The exact place could be Calgary or Edmonton, Banff or Jasper or any small town inbetween.
Why Canada (I don't know if that was the question, but I will answer it anyway)? It's foreign, they speak English and French, they know winter and summer, it's a Western country, it's not the Netherlands. Other reasons are more feelings than reasons and are hard to put into words.

Some cat in the Parc des Felins

Monique: what was the last thing you procrastinated about and why?
After looking up 'to procrastinate', I realised it might as well have been my middle name! I nearly always do things last minute, which means I end up rushing around like a headless chicken. And why? Well, I am lazy for a start...


Roger Owen Green: when did you start blogging and why? What are you trying to achieve (outlet for writing, stress relieve, world domination)?
I started blogging in Dutch about five years ago now. My sister actually got me started and from the first I loved it. I was able to keep my family and friends in the loop about what was happening in my life. The first blog was started as an emigration blog, but soon evolved in something similar to this blog. Over a year and a half ago I started this English blog and this has been even better than the Dutch one. More interaction with people for a start! My goals are quite simple: information towards family, friends and other people interested in what I do and stress relief. I've noticed a definite calming change in myself ever since I first started blogging. World domination may sound good, but is so not my goal; I am no follower junkie! I would rather write for fewer people who are genuinly interested in what I write and post about.

View over Florence

Jay: which region of Italy do you like best and why?
Well, I've only been to a few regions, but I have to say Sicily holds a place in my heart, mostly because I spent about seven months living and working there. It was on Sicily I grew up and where the private chatty Mara got her confidence and starting chatting in public as well. Other regions I like? I love Rome and want to go back there again, love Bologna and Florence and would like to visit Tuscany properly some day. From what I've seen it's a nice area.

Orange hat with red, white and blue flowers

Ginny Marie: Why orange? Is it the national colour or the Queen's favourite?
Our flag is red white and blue (top to bottom), but the Royal family are of the House of Orange, hence the orange. For more information: read this post I wrote for a previous ABC Wednesday.

Notre Dame of Paris

Strawberry Jam Anne: Of all the places you visited, which is your favourite and why?
Wow, now that is a difficult question. I love Ireland for its natural beauties, London for its vibrancy and Rome for its craziness (scooters anyone?). I want to see Paris again in warmer times, Florence, Prague, Leipzig and Scotland are also on the go-to-again list. But if I really have to pick one place? Home! Visiting other countries and places is only brilliant when you get to come home again afterwards. With my own stuff and my own space and my cats.

For more Q-words from around the world, please visit ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

PS: the logo at the top is the logo of the extremely funny QI-programme by the BBC, hosted by Stephen Fry.


  1. Love learning about you and the questions you answered.
    I so understand your difficulties with passengers. The little time I was a tour director had similiar instances. Any problem people got the names the Farquars and the Noodlemens. I had one problem lady whose name was Mrs Nettleman. I kept accidentally (really, accidentally)calling her Mrs. Noodleman. Not good!!
    Some tours were pure nightmares. But you know, I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything. Think they challenged me and actually made me stronger.

  2. Well at least she didn't try to sell you a senior citizen ticket. :)

    I can't imagine dealing with tourists all the time. some people seem to like to be difficult.

    An Arkies Musings

  3. you're quite clever with your Q for today.
    By the way, I love your blog heading, I don't know if you know that the Architect (William Pei) who design the Louvre is the same architect that design the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland,OH.And both of the building have his signature. The triangle. :)

  4. Here is the only relevant question from your immigration department. Do you like hockey, or are you at least open-minded? ;)

  5. What a fun and interesting post, Mara, enjoyed this very much. I wonder if children are on any of your tours.

  6. Great post!
    we like immigrants in the states too you know.

  7. I loved reading all your answers! I had forgotten that I asked you about orange! :) I'm glad this blog is in English so that I can read it!

  8. I totally agree with 'Misfit in Paradise'. Great post, Mara. I loved reading it. (But then again: I love almost everything you write, so...)

  9. Wow! I was wondering how you were going to handle the questions. Great job! I thought it was so unique how you handled the topic for today. You didn't disappoint.

  10. Loved the Q&A, if you can handle crazy tourists then the world is yours. Hope you get to Alberta, and of course continue to blog about it. Some of my relations, way back before the points system, emigrated there and thrived.

  11. Thanks for answering all those questions. It was interesting getting to know more about you.

  12. Well, that was a most fun and interesting post! What a great idea, to ask for questions.

    Tuscany was on our list to visit, because we have heard it is beautiful! Florence, too, of course, and Rome. I hadn't thought about Sicily so I must look into that! Also Bologna. Thanks! :)

  13. Oh, this was a fine idea and a charming read!

  14. You see to be honnest costs money ! next time one takes you for 16 let him go !
    Besides the fact that I don't want to go to Canada and I had no bad experiences with tourists, I like the same countries and places as you ! But for living I love my little Waterloo, lol !

  15. Canada seems a wonderful country to live, so good luck with that! And I have to say that I'm so excited to have finally found someone who watches QI too. Hubs doesn't really like it and all Dutch people I know don't watch BBC. The Dutch version is a horrible and very bad copy. No one can replace Stephen Fry anyway. I could hug you ;-)

  16. Very comprehensive answers. Happy travels!

  17. Quite an interesting Q-post. A charming text.
    Best wishes,

  18. I like the idea for your post! Sort of a reverse interview - you turned yourself into the interviewee! (Is that a word?) What a great way for your readers to get what they want out of your blog!

  19. Hi! I am coming over from Ginny Marie's at Lemon Drop Pie to say hello.
    I have to tell you that I have read this post about 4 times and just love your stories so much I don't even know what to comment on!
    I love your story of why you started your blog, and the missing tourist story made me laugh out loud! I look forward to more of your posts!!!


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!