The National Parks of America is done and our Canadian Rockies Tour is just about over. Both have been wonderful - experiencing the magnificent scenery of these very different places. But while I can appreciate the wonders of nature the nuances of human kind couldn't have been more different.
On the USA tour we had an English (USA) speaking tour guide. I could understand everything she said all of the time no matter where I was seated in the coach. However in Canada our tour guide was a French Canadian - and although an extremely clever and educated woman, English was her third language and unless I was seated at the front of the coach or speaking with her one on one I found her difficult to understand.
To make it more difficult she is a stand up comedian and relied heavily on puns - delivered in a heavy French accent - similar sounding words which in context are funny. But for me this was highly frustrating. For instance, she told a story about people shopping.... and it must have been about native people who shopped there most of the time, but she saw 'white people shopping there "caucasionally".(occasionally)' On another occasion she talked about granite rocks as we had just passed the largest granite rock on the planet. She mentioned many Australians asked about Uluru so she pointed out that Uluru is sandstone and we shouldn't take 'Uluru for "granite" (granted).
Anyone who is hard of hearing will tell you that jokes are particularly annoying. We hear 90% or even more of the joke but usually miss the punch line. If we get someone to repeat it for us it loses the punch and isn't funny. And this is exactly what I experienced for a good portion of the 15 days of this tour. It really detracted from my enjoyment.
On another occasion I was accidentally the person seated furthest from the speaker and since there was no microphone there was no way I could hear. All the people were lovely but towards the end of the tour when I was chatting with fellow travellers a number commented - 'we perceived you as shy!' because I didn't answer when spoken to.
Whereas in the USA tour all the experiences were great, even when dining in noisy restaurants, during the Canadian tour I just got annoyed because I couldn't hear, I didn't like the feeling of being thrust back into my deaf days. and I experienced a loss of self-esteem. I think the tour director sets the tone for the tour and I know my fellow travellers thought she was marvellous but for me it was a disappointment and because of this I found I was frustrated by the whole experience.