On December 24th, 2017 my friend and I had the worst tourist experience of our lives. While we were in Port Elizabeth, South Africa we decided to take a tour of the city and the Addo Elephant National Park with the company Alan Tours. It was a private tour and Mr. Alan Fogarty himself was indicated as our tour guide, he seemed to be the owner of the company.
Since the very first minute of meeting Mr. Fogarty, his presence was absolutely unpleasant. He started the tour having to apologize because he had not filled the gas tank. So because of his unpreparedness we had to go with him to a gas station, causing us to lose time we had paid for.
He was clearly in a bad mood and with a weak disposition, making it seem like he wanted to be anywhere else but guiding our tour. It was not our fault that he was working on Christmas Eve, as it was his company that decided to accept the job.
In our opinion Mr. Fogarty was a very arrogant and dismissive gentleman. Everything had to be done when and how he wanted it, which was very off-putting as clients.
His behavior caused us to feel intimidated from the very beginning of the tour. Mr. Fogarty spoke in a very low voice with the car so we couldn’t hear a word he said. We are Brazilians, and we started to make comments in Portuguese between ourselves. Because of this at one point he made a comment that our English seemed to be poor. We found this comment very unnecessary and insulting. Maybe he has a point, but we never have had problems communicating while traveling. We answered that we don’t have many issues with our language skills, but we couldn’t hear his response. In a very arrogant manner he then asked us if we preferred that he used the microphone inside the car.
During the visit to Addo Park, it seemed this gentleman was only interested in spending time in ways that were pleasing to HIM. Not in a single moment did he ask if we were tired of driving around endlessly in the middle of nowhere unable to find the animals he considered important. We did eventually see a lion but he decided not to stop the car, saying that part of the park was too crowded, and said we would probably find lions elsewhere. That didn’t happen.
The visit to the park was too long and exhausting in our point of view. And when you book a PRIVATE TOUR we assumed you would be able to participate in decisions about how to spend your time.
By the time we reached a restaurant for lunch, we already had enough of Mr. Fogarty’s personality and wished to have some peace and quiet between ourselves; yet we had to share the table with the boss. Ok.
He then started asking us very personal questions about our jobs and life. Sometimes throughout the meal, he would take pictures of us with HIS CAMERA, with no authorization from us. As we became more and more uncomfortable, we just kept quiet and tried to smile.
He then dared to make an ignorant comment about our country, Brazil. He mentions that it is a dangerous place. Is this acceptable banter from a tourist guide?
On the highway back to Port Elizabeth, Mr. Fogarty drove at very high speeds in a reckless fashion. We unsuccessfully tried to find our seatbelts in the backseat, making the drive even more dangerous.
Upon arriving at Port Elizabeth, while he was mentioning that we were crossing the Main Street of the city, my friend made a comment that he was driving too fast. He then immediately parked the car and rudely turned to us demanding to know what we said in such a manner that it frightened us. We were too frightened to get out of the car as we had no idea how far away we were from the port where the cruise terminal was, so we decided to just ignore him and wait for this nightmare to end.
He was completely oblivious to how bad and uncomfortable the situation was. It was almost unbearable. He then started a speech about the city, in a very professorial tone. We just stayed silent and he said that we should answer with the affirmative “yes” when he speaks with us. It was absolutely unbelievable. He was acting as if we were his children or his employees (whom I pity for having to endure him).
He eventually stopped his car in the city center and we left the vehicle to get away from him and tried to just take some pictures by ourselves. He prohibited us from doing this, telling us he has things to tell us and we should listen to him, behave ourselves and stay by his side.
We were so confused and tired, in a foreign country and in an unknown city that we decided to obey his petty authoritarianism. We listened to him and at one point we ask him if he could drop us off at the cruise terminal before the scheduled time. We lied about the time the ship was leaving just so we could finally end this nightmare.
He finally took us to our cruise terminal, with a dour face after realizing that he that he wasn’t going to get a tip out of us.
In our opinion this gentleman can run a company, however as a tour guide he was an absolute disaster.
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