An Intrepid Tour Leader
by Marlo Perry
2. Trip One
4th January 2004
Chuc mung nam moi (My one phrase of Vietnamese, soon to improve I hope! - Happy New Year!)
So I have entered the world of 'Leader Land' as the Intrepid crew may call it, and so far so good. I tagged along with a group down in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) where I was the apprentice as we travelled through the Mekong Delta, Hoi An, Hue and now in Hanoi.
I think I decided I would like this job sometime in Hoi An as I was travelling on the back of another leaders motorbike and was discussing the pros of leader life - free accomm, free food, free clothes and free beer... not a bad deal at all.
I saw it put into practice, especially in Hoi An, a small sea side town big on tailor made clothes. I spent New Years eve there. Started off in the usual traveller bar but had a very artificial atmosphere, just all the gringos waiting for 12 o'clock to pop around. So we (some of the group) moved along to a small hotel where one of the locals was the MC. Like walking onto a cruise ship, quite bewildering at first. Lots of older, well mature aged gringos sitting around tables singing songs, clapping hands, listening to the local boy band under fairy lights. But very authentic, all just wanted a good time, but it was like celebrating the New Year with your parents (no offense Mum!)
Had a good time none the less, there was no count down just a couple of fire crackers, a dodgy Happy New Year song and I decided to jump fully clothed into the swimming pool. Managed to get half the group in as well. Good fun indeed!
The busiest time of year for Intrepid right now. I was meant to be on the tour for another two days but another trip is starting tonight and they don't have a leader so I am filling in for a couple of nights (am shitting myself just a little bit!) Then I have my very own first group starting on Thursday. So my training is more or less over, and what have I learnt..... I hope something, I mean what can go wrong. Me, 12 different people in a foreign country, it'll be a breeze.
About the Author
Marlo Perry leads tour groups around South East Asia for Intrepid Travel. Marlo is black belt in karate and likes finding things to buy for under 10p.
1. The Apprentice... 2. Trip One... 3. Half Way... 4. Tet... 5. Monkey Business... 6. Quick Turnaround... 7. Thai New Year... 8. Angkor... 9. Bangkok... 10. It Depends... 11. A&E... 12. Laos... 13. Routine... 14. Pig Rabies... 15. Burma... 16. Tsunami... 17. Songkran... 18. Sick Note... 19. Cycle Vietnam... 20. Street Kids... 21. My Life. Ideas Needed... 22. June Jambles...