Monday, June 04, 2012

Walking the dog

If you are one of those who take regular morning walks, you'd have certainly observed those who take out their dogs for their morning routine. You'd also have noticed how they manage their pets while on their respective 'walks'. Broadly speaking, these 'dog-walkers' (if I may call them so) demonstrate two distinct characteristics. 
The first do not take the trouble to keep their pets on a leash. Their pets are free to roam, sniff or minutely examine whatever catches their fancy, taking their own time to do so. The 'dog-walker' is mostly patient. He/she keeps a sharp but indulgent watch, all the while leading it on to cover the distance they together set out to, maintaining a certain casual tempo.
The second type of 'dog-walkers' are made of sterner stuff. Members of this type have their wards tied to a leash. The animals are not allowed any leeway whatsoever while on their morning rounds. They are not allowed to stray, not permitted to sniff around or pause here and there for any length of time, or examine anything it considers worth a closer look. Their masters appear to be on a mission - determined to get it over with, and to be back home as soon as possible.
Four years ago we had been on a group/conducted tour to Western Europe. We enjoyed the trip immensely. Last year we'd been to Viet Nam. The experience was even more satisfying, frankly speaking it was unforgettable (the best till date). Late last month we traveled through Spain and also spent two nights in Lisbon - on another group/conducted tour. On this latest outing, the feeling that we came away with was being under the thumb of the second type of 'dog-walkers'.
But....whichever way you look at it, the fact remains that a tourist on such conducted/group tours lead a dog's life. Don't agree with me, huh? Wanna know why???  O.K. Here comes the last throw of the dice... 
While on morning walks, you'd have noticed dogs lifting up their hind legs to leave their mark at every lamp post or bush. So also on group tours  (especially in Europe). Throughout such tours around Europe we were encouraged to do what they do - at every 'loo stop'. "Never ignore a lamp post" - or a bus(h) stop -  appeared to be the motto, the way of life! 
Reasons: Vehicles are not permitted to stop anywhere on the highway. The drivers must take a break every two hours (it's the rule there). One cannot relieve oneself anywhere except at the designated public conveniences - most of which are located only at the service stations, petrol bunks or restaurants where the buses are allowed to stop. Hence.....
Oh, what a (dog's) life we tourists lead sometimes!    
Conducted tour is a conscious, necessary compromise. It is here to stay. Yet, if you are fortunate to have a 'conductor' (your  'dog-walker', the tour manager) who belongs to the first group (the patient, indulgent type), your tour can still be very memorable indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha... That's an interesting anology!