In 1987, I accompanied a trip called South Americana, which started in Buenos Aires, went on to Tierra Fuego, Iguazu Falls, then on to Chile, Peru and ended in Brazil.
Those were very tiring trips, lots of flying, packing and in those days, reconfirming hotels and air tickets by phone, which is hard to imaging in today’s day and age. Even as an experienced tour guide, I was sometimes a little tense and especially at the beginning of the tour, it was very important that things went smooth and that the first impression was perfect.
After a long trip from Zurich via Madrid to Buenos Aires, we arrived at this big, famous, colonial style hotel, checked in, all the guests went to their rooms and we all met a little later to go for dinner in the dining room.
The tour group was not very big and we all sat at a long table along a wall with a very big mirror, I was sitting in the front, facing the mirror from which I could see the other side of the dining room behind me. The waiters started serving drinks and food and at some point, I looked up in this great big mirror and what do I see, at the far end, behind me?
There was a rat walking along the wall, and I knew at this very moment that I had to make sure that absolutely none of the members of my tour group would have to be able to see this rat because this would have caused me a huge amount of trouble. All I could think of was that I would have to do something drastic that would attract everybody’s attention, basically make sure that everybody would be looking at me and nowhere else. I knocked over my glass (red wine, as usual 🙂 ) and spilled its contents on the white table cloth, hoping that the commotion would chase away the rat and get all the people around my table to look in my direction.
My trick worked and after the glass maneuver, I stood up and walked over to the waiters to explain what had happened and that they would make sure that no more little rodents would be parading through the dining room.
Do I need to mention that I didn’t sleep very well that night, wondering if the rats were only in the dining room or maybe all over the place?