I’ve mentioned before that I am able to see the searches the take place here. And I have come across some very strange requests. Some, I’m not sure if people think that my blog is Google, or if I am some sort of genius or something; and others I’m genuinely interested in reading. So here are some of the most bizarre (and surprisingly frequently-asked) questions or searches I have received, and my attempt at answering them.
My first ever strange request, and a very common one, is basically “how do I not get fat on Contiki?” – I have already answered this, and I stick to what I said then. If you are so worried about your weight that you don’t eat pizza in Rome or drink beer in Munich, you should probably re-evaluate your priorities in life.
“Don’t go to kickstart” – why would you not want to go to the kickstart meeting? If you’re in that area, it’s usually a good idea to go. You might end up being the only person, or half your group might end up being there. Even if it just means you can go for dinner, or a drink or five, with your new mates, I think it’s worth it. The admin can all be done later however, especially if you already checked-in online and so that’s not really not that important. But I still had fun, especially because I was by myself – I felt far less lost the next morning.
“Working in child care” – this is about the Contiki Cough I’m assuming. I am not a doctor. The Contiki Cough I wrote about was my experience, and it can vary a lot from person to person. Having said that, I can tell you honestly, that if you feel even close to the way I felt it’s probably not a good idea to go near children. In fact, it’s probably not a good idea to do anything but lie in bed.
“How to get a cab from Dachau”. Firstly, Dachau is like the middle of nowhere and so I would guess that a cab is going to cost you an arm and a leg. Secondly, you don’t even spend that much time there – we had enough time to walk around and look through it in detail, go to the bathroom and grab something to eat before we were back on the coach. I don’t really know where you would want to catch a cab to anyway? I guess you’d need to pre-organise one because I definitely don’t remember seeing any around there.
“What time do we arrive in Venice from Munich?” I have absolutely NO IDEA. My tour didn’t run that way and so I can’t even guess. It’s a long drive though – going the opposite way we left Venice in the morning and arrived in Munich late afternoon I think.
“Wet t-shirt” – Venice’s Fusina Beach Party is infamous for its wet t-shirt competition; a competition that it not so much about the t-shirt but far more about the lack of. My advice, if you really want a t-shirt but would like to keep some shred of dignity, is to try steal one from someone. I successfully managed to trade my sailor’s cap for a shirt, so that was cool. The competition also turns into a bit of a show – ask your TM about some of the previous year’s stories afterwards…
“Don’t tip gypsies” – Gypsies are not exactly the upper-end of society in Europe. And I get it, they look sad sometimes and that’s not really nice. But they are also incredibly sly and can be kind of scary. Why would you want to tip someone whose sole purpose is to either rob you or scam you? Haha. No shame, that’s kind of mean, but seriously. If you want to tip them go ahead, but do it at your own risk. Personally, I think it’s better just to avoid them as far as possible.
“South African gypsies” – we don’t have gypsies in South Africa. We have beggars, and homeless people, and robbers, but they don’t usually come in one package. Which is fortunate. So no, you’re not likely to come across a “gypsy” while visiting South Africa. Obviously it is possible that you may come across someone who tries to scam you, but it’s not that common. Having said that, I’m not a tourist here, so I suppose I’m used to the environment and generally quite cautious. I will say, that if you would like to help out a beggar or homeless person or someone else, I strongly suggest giving food or milk or something solid, rather than simply giving money.
“When gypsies take your belongings do they feel as if they are stealing?” I can’t even attempt to answer this because I have absolutely no idea. I would think that they know what they are doing is not legal, considering how eager they are to avoid the police.
“Can I cancel after I have paid in full” – I can’t remember completely what the Ts&Cs are from Contiki, but I think you can cancel up to 45 days before your departure. There might be a fee. I think the closer you get to the departure date, the more money you stand to lose by cancelling. And obviously you don’t get your deposit back. The best advice is don’t cancel Contiki! Haha. If something comes up and you cannot go anymore, try find another departure date or tour or whatever. You’re missing out on what could be the time of your life if you cancel! I think Contiki has some sort of “seal protection” thing or something you can buy when you book that covers you if you have to pull out though. Ask the Contiki reps or read the terms in the back of the brochure.
“Why are the Contiki farewell dinners so expensive?” – First off, let me say the farewell dinner we had in Amsterdam was pricey, but was also worth it (read here). I don’t think you could do it cheaper by yourself. Having said that, some of the things are definitely cheaper if you do it by yourself, but then you also have to organise it which can be a pain (especially if you’re feeling hungover and/or lazy). I read quite a lot of posts about people saying these dinners (and the other optionals) are over-priced. It’s possible. But also, consider the risk that the places hosting the dinner is taking. They’re agreeing to let 50+ (and there’s usually more than one group at a time) young, excited, and likely drunk, tourists/travellers into their place of business. I think that I’d also raise the price a bit. But you get lots of free wine and so it’ll all be okay in the end…
I honestly recommend attending the Paris (Catherine’s) and Amsterdam (Sea Palace) dinners if they are start or end of your tour. You get to be with a large amount of the group and the food is really decent. The other dinners you could probably skip and find your own nice restaurant for a better price.
This last question is my absolute favourite question of all time – “Should I go on Contiki if I am a virgin?” Yes. Obviously. No one cares if you are a virgin or aren’t a virgin. It might not even come up, unless you’re playing “I have never” in which case you might want to sit out. None of it matters. What matters is how you treat those around you, and so if you’re going to call every girl or guy who hooks up on your tour (or on the other tours) a slut, then you will have a problem. Let people live their lives, and you live yours.
Looking forward to more bizarre requests in the near future :)