Here she is; the lady who led 19 innocents, who didn’t speak five words on any Chines language between them around China for three weeks. Our ‘National Escort’, Linda … real name Yang Juan Mei … who stayed with us the whole time.
The arrangement was, at each venue, a local guide would show us around, and Linda would make all the arrangements, and generally look after us. Except in her home town, Xi’an, where she undertook both roles.
She was quick to deal with any complaints .. usually handled quickly and efficiently. For instance, a crack in the washbasin on the Yangtze 2 brought her to our cabin within ten minutes, with a member of the crew. We were offered another cabin, but we said we could live with it, and just wanted to bring it to attention in case we got stuck with the bill … which I don’t think I could have got across without her.
Efficiency, encyclopaedic knowledge and an irrepressible sense of fun … and, sometimes, her ‘dragon lady’ face when things weren’t to her liking. I don’t speak Chinese, but it seemed one or two restaurant and hotel staff got the rough side of her tongue when the occasion merited.
To be fair, though, we only had one really bad meal. Linda told us afterwards:
‘I’ve told my Boss. We won’t be going there again!’
So, when the Wanderlust ‘Guide of the Year’ comes around this year … I shall definitely nominate her.