On the way to the Saga Museum, in Reykjavik Iceland about 8 of our group hopped on one bus and then transferred to another On the second bus, I sat beside 2 lovely young girls, after asking their permission of course. They kindly obliged. After all, I looked harmless enough. Soon I engaged them in conservation. “How old are you,”I asked? “Almost 13” they confidently replied. I told them I had a granddaughter nearly the same age, back in Canada where I was from. I told them we had lots of Icelanders in our province. They were surprised at that.
I asked them if they could be my tour guide. I started off asking if they knew where the Saga museum was. It took them a while to catch on what I meant. I probably did not pronounce Sagacorrectly. But they figured it out and assured me we were on the right bus and headed the right direction. Good.
“What I should I see and do in Iceland,” I asked. They hesitated but only briefly. They mulled over the question, then one of them said, “The hop-on, hop-off bus was really cool.” I said I had been on one in London and Paris and really enjoyed it. I could see a lot of the city easily and efficiently. Great idea.
I complemented the girls on their excellent English. This pleased them greatly. I meant it too. It was amazing how proficient they were with a Grade 6 or so education. It was indeed impressive. “How did you learn English,” I asked. “In school,” was the response. Clearly they enjoyed practicing their English in a real life situation.
I think my complement gave them confidence and they were off and running with a blizzard of suggestions. They quickly pointed out a school, and then another school. They also gave suggestions for restaurants. “Sushi is very good,” one exclaimed. The other quickly added, “And the fish’n chips near the museum are really good too.” “That is the restaurant where my sister works.”
They had a wealth of ideas about shopping explaining about all the wonderful things we could buy. They worried that their advice would be too costly. I assured them that old men like me would die very soon anyway so there was no need to save what little I had.
By the time we reached the museum they had to get off the bus and insisted this was where we had to get off too. They were a bit disturbed that we did not get off. One of our friends had talked to an adult who said, “Next stop.” It turned out, of course, that the girls were right. We would have been better off getting off when they said we should. The adult was wrong.
All in all the conversation, over heard by all our friends was a classic example of what one can learn by taking public transportation in a foreign city. Often they are the highlight of the trip. This was certainly the highlight so far. In fact with their bubbling enthusiasm these 2 young girls where the best tour guides I ever had. I thanked them profusely.
I was only disappointed in myself. I should have got their names and had a photo taken of us. Darn I muffed that!