Carlos and the audio tour guide.

Discussion in 'The Lighter Side...PG-13' started by heinleinfan, May 30, 2012.

  1. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I used to open stores for Borders Bookstores. It involved going to a city and staying in a suite hotel for 3 weeks, with 6 other trainers from around the country. Typically on our days off (we only had Sundays off) we'd do something in the area that was specific to the area; going to a landmark in the city or doing something you could only do in that city, things like that.

    We opened a store in Jackson, MS and since I was from those parts, I suggested we head over the Vicksburg Battlefield Park on one of our Sundays off. (For those that aren't familiar, The Siege of Vicksburg was one of the major battles in the Civil War, it's not mentioned as much as other battles, but was one of the most pivotal moments in the war.) There is a 16 mile loop that you drive through the park and all along the loop are various places to stop and see monuments for important skirmishes from the siege and that honor the fallen from the different states. There's also the farmhouse Grant commandeered for the Union headquarters, a leftover dug out tunnel you can walk through where one side tried a sneak bombing attack, the second largest military cemetery in the States, and an old ironclad gunboat, the USS Cairo, that was pulled out of the Yazoo river.

    The tour starts at the Visitor's Center and they had tapes for sale (this was when cars still had tape players) to play in your car radio while you drove the loop that was a recorded tour guide. If you've ever used one of these at a park it even includes the tour guide saying "pause the tape here if you would like to view the exhibit" or whatever. We were not going to get one because we were a bunch of goofy kids.

    But as we were loading up into the minivan to head out on the drive a man had just pulled in and said "Hey, you guys, I got one of the tour tapes, ya'll want it?" and we thought "Oh why not" because...we were a bunch of goofy kids, and we fully intended to make jokes about the audio guide recording the whole trip.

    Now, one of the trainers was a recently arrived immigrant from Chile named Carlos. He had come from a very rural part of Chile and told us a lot of stories of growing up in a rather undeveloped area of the world, and he just loved everything modern. He also loved scary stores, and had taught himself english reading just about every horror novel he could get his hands on, and wanted to speed through the loop to get to the cemetery, to see if there were any ghosts. He'd been just about crazy with excitement the weekend before, when we went to New Orleans (because of the Anne Rice vampire novels) and his his joy and wonder at the simplest things that we took for granted was infectious. It was a good trip.

    So we start driving along and Matt, our driver, pops in the audio tour guide tape. There was an introduction bit and when the guide on the tape said "I'm Park Ranger James Mathews" one of our group went "Well hi there Ranger Jim". You know, being goofy, like ya do.

    We were kind of looking around to see if we were driving at the right speed for the tape, and we hear something about "To your left you will see the 50 foot obelisk erected by the state of Illinois...". Matt goes "Oh, yeah, there it is, it's an obelisk alright, Ranger Jim" kinda laughing, when suddenly from the back of the van, Carlos starts kind of careening around, desperately looking all around us, trying to look up out of the windows into the sky and then stops and yells out:

    "Wait, stop, wait! How does he know where we are?!?!"