Bad Local Guides

On each leg of our travels we changed buses and guides on crossing a border. Hence we had 6 different guides. The "quality" of the guides varied enormously, as did their likeability. However across all of them I did have one major complaint - they never gave us any recent history of the area. Basically anything after 1900 was taboo. As an Irishman, the analogy to me would be a foreign tourist visiting Northern Ireland today, and the guide telling them about how the Isle of Man was supposedly made by the legendary giant Finn McCoul digging out Lough Neigh and throwing the land from it into the middle of the Irish Sea. Then not saying anything about Irish history since 1900 with partition in the 1920s and The Troubles in the 1970s !

Whilst I appreciate that local governments are a bit sensitive on this, I still believe that a way could have been worked out to give us proper information. I found it impossible to accept that I could stand in a square in Tajikistan where 14,000 people had been butchered by the Reds in 1917, but the guide not mention it, even when I prompted him.

Looking back now on what guides told us, I cannot recall much, as it was mainly drivel about legends that were fanciful and mythical.

Now on to the guides. The two women, Sasha and Olga were fine - pleasant in very different sorts of ways - helpful - not very informative as per above, but perfectly acceptable. Two of the others Mamat-Jan (?) in Kashgar and the first chap in Uzbekistan made so little impression on me that I cannot recall anything about them, or any information that they might have imparted. Which then takes me on to the last two - "The Professor" in Tajikistan and Marrat in Uzbekistan. The both spoke English well, but neither were good guides.

The Professor was softly spoken, and seemed to have his speeches ready made on a tape recorder. He switched himself on, and there was no stopping him. Problem was that he really did not have anything to say that I found informative. He did not have a any real passion for his guiding, but at least he was not obviously bored

Which takes me on to Marrat, our last guide in Uzbekistan and a man who should not have been a guide. Not only was he a bad guide, but he really did not care


Our Silk Road Holiday