My recent Bus Tour to East Coast of Canada (II)

巴士之旅是由导游公司安排行程的一种带团旅行。虽然巴士之旅有可能大大提升你的旅游体验, 但对于想要从容游览著名景点,细细品味艺术博物馆和名胜古迹的游客来说这可能并不是理想之选。Bob Mok的两篇系列文章详细描述了他的加拿大东海岸豪华巴士之旅。读者如欲参照前文,请点击www.096.ca/news/652529
Bus tours are guided tours with the itineraries being dictated by a tour guide. While taking bus tours might be a great way to enrich your travel experiences, it might not be an ideal choice for those who want spend enough time on major attractions and appreciate the details of art museums and historical sites. Bob Mok takes you on a luxury bus tour to visit East Coast of Canada in his two article series. For the earlier article, please click on www.096.ca/news/652529.
My recent experiences on taking one of these tours again after a 15 year absence allow me to compare the changes that took place between them.
Most meal stops are now at Chinese buffet restaurants catered to the industry and the Chinese clients they carried. Such limited resources are shared by many touring companies, straining their capacities. I compared the prices charged by the Touring Company against those listed at the restaurants. There is no evidence that the Touring Company is adding significant charges to these meals to us but whether they received any kind of refund for bringing in the steady business to these restaurants cannot be proven.  Touring business is a very competitive one and profit margins are low.

On this tour, Chinese signs are posted everywhere in Hotel and Motels, to provide tourists with instructions and directions. Many of these instructions are related to “food wastage” and “washroom cleanliness”. I suspect that they are posted in reaction to poor experiences from dealing with some of the “not too welcomed” habits of tourists coming from a certain country, such as China?

Typical one-hour attraction stops deny the tourists an opportunity to enjoy the location in detail. When visiting the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, it would have taken half a day to just go through security checks and the line-up to get inside the building. The schedule limits it to a walk on the outside grounds and just a photo-opt in front.

Another attraction that can use a longer visiting span and proper timing will be the “Reversing Falls” in the St John River. This river experiences a reverse flow from the ocean twice a day at the high tides and their peak times can be predicted. It would have been prudent to arrange the tour at the right time to witness this spectacle.   However, we arrived at an inopportune time and stayed only for a short while.  I can only compensate for this lost experience with watching a time lapsed sequence of the event from You-tube later on in the evening in my Hotel Room.
Not all attractions are covered by the fees. Minor attractions are paid but major one are not. The Tour Guide tries his best to get everyone to sign up for every major attraction. For the whale watching boat tour, he advised that there will be no shelter or activities nearby if tourists choose to skip it. However, contrary to his gloomy projections, half of the group did not sign up for the tour but managed to find a nice restaurant for lunch and make a walking tour of the small town while staying on shore.

“Luxurious Coach Tours” give us a chance to “sample” a number of cities and their attractions in a quick and efficient manner. It can dispense with all the planning, driving, and parking hustles associated with touring the big cities. It is not practical for those of us who are interested in Art, History, and museums. We want to spend enough time in them and not “sample” them like “Dragonflies touching water”.  Such group tours can only be a precursor to a detailed future visit.

I enjoy travelling. To witness and study particular subjects and phenomenons first hand is very different from watching documentaries on television or You-tube. As I learned from my speed reading course many years ago, you sacrifice comprehension and details for speed. Touring is very similar, if you don't spend enough time on the attractions, you do not get to observe the details and appreciate the experience.
游客总是分为两种—— 一种只想拍照以示到此一游,另一种则想品味人生中最美妙的旅游体验。你是哪一种?

There will always be two kinds of tourists – those who want just a photo-opt and those who want to savour the best experiences in life. Which one are you?

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