This is Part 2 of a continuing series. If you’d like, you can catch up and read Part 1.
During the course of the tour, I only actually got to know 3 other people’s names: Thomas, our tour guide; and Sherman and Yale (more about them later). Most other people spoke very limited English, and I had to give them nicknames to identify them. I didn’t do this to be mean, but mainly to keep them straight in my head.
Sitting across the aisle from me was Golf Shoes. Knowing that she would be doing some hiking in the Rockies, she must have decided that wearing golf shoes the entire time would provide her the best traction for mountain climbing adventures. This meant that almost everywhere she went her shoes made a click-clack noise on the sidewalk. I never did see her walking through any open fields.
Further up the aisle were Fred and Ethel. They were both well advanced in years, but quite peppy and adventurous. Ethel never talked much or even acknowledged me, but was a constant source of conversation as we tried to figure out whether her jet-black hair was a wig. It turned out that it was, although I’m not going to tell how we found that out.
Fred found me to be far more interesting than the scenery. Almost any time I looked his direction, he was looking at me. This didn’t bother me, actually. I was often observing him. He was a very cute old man and a smile was permanently etched on his face. Every day, he looked ready to wade into the river for some fly-fishing, with his khaki fisherman’s vest and Gilligan hat. I tried to ask him once if he wanted to fish, but he thought I was asking if he liked sushi or something.
Finally, there was Angry Asian Guy. We didn’t interact much, except for the times when he’d throw a disapproving look in my direction. I wasn’t quite sure what I had done to upset him. It could have been for being the only white guy on the tour, or maybe he wasn’t getting enough dietary fiber, but I can’t really speculate.
There was one time that AAG did talk to me. I had a camera sling bag with a small collapsible tripod lashed to the side. It wasn’t very bulky or cumbersome, but I did have to be careful when moving through the aisle. On the second day, as I entered the bus he loudly said “Be careful, your weapon!” as I passed. I hadn’t come even close to hitting him with it, but my fleshly side thought about being less careful in the future.
There were others on the bus, but they took more minor roles in the events of the week.