Suffering ‘the darrell’ of travel

Every tour group has a “darrell”. You know, the one who complains the loudest and most often. And wears socks and sandals. The darrell is always holding up the group, lagging behind, late to arrive.

images (1)The darrell knows more than everyone else, especially the tour guide.  Despite looking wanky, the darrell has the hat smothered in pins and patches, and the luggage covered in stickers and stamps from destinations all over the world. This septuagenarian has been everywhere. That must have been expensive, if paying full fare…
The darrell “starts up” on the first outing of the first day of the trip. The litany of woe begins: struck by a motorbike on the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City (what was the tour guide thinking!); then tripping over the lobby furniture so “negligently” placed in his way. What, just an apology from the manager! This is shaping up as the worst tour ever, the darrell is keen to tell everyone. The tour operators know that the darrell is sight impaired! But they shouldn’t even need to be told!

Other travellers invite the lonely darrell to join their table during meals; listening as one tragedy after another is unloaded. Oh, the injustice of it all!

Housekeeping, chefs, waiters, guides… no staff is off limits to the darrell. Why doesn’t the room have blah blah blah; why isn’t there more choice of blah blah blah; why didn’t the tour go to blah blah blah (oh look, the darrell seems to have perfect vision when pointing to maps and lists of inclusions!)

images (3)

There you are, up early and appraising the many choices at the breakfast buffet, appetite growing, and someone loudly “hawks up” behind you! Oh, of course, it’s just the darrell, clearing his lungs, throat and nasal passages. Charming… 

On this cruise, there are never fewer than two bars at any one time serving complimentary alcohol from midday to midnight. But at 1pm there’s the darrell, large empty glass in hand, wobbling through the lounge, loudly muttering about the lack of service and looking for someone who’s willing to listen. Other passengers suddenly become preoccupied.

Someone says someone heard that the darrell is claiming to have been struck by a herd of water buffalo on the day trip. True? Maybe, who knows…

Age and state of physical health are irrelevant to the darrell. While other passengers, aware of their limitations, sensibly refrain from choosing some of the day tour options, not the darrell! After all,  if something goes wrong it’s the tour operator’s fault.

By Day 3, every tour guide has the darrell sitting at the front of the bus, clearly in sight at all times, name badge on and legs taped up in bandages like a race horse.

By Day 4, the darrell is being told by other travellers where to sit in the dining room… just not at this table.

Days 5, 6, 7…  the darrell is relentless: This tour is just terrible; this is a disgrace; this is a disaster; how can anyone be expected to pay for this…

Late in the tour, arriving at a new destination with new accommodation, and within an hour the darrell is at it again, remonstrating to staff about the room, the food the blah blah blah… It seems to be working, as a manager leads the darrell away from the public, for special attention.

There you are, at this new destination, preparing to take a snap pic of the early morning’s beautiful breakfast buffet when the buzz and chatter of diners is abruptly drowned out by a loud “hawking up” behind you. Oh no, you turn around, oh yes, there’s the darrell,  sitting alone at dining table, muttering angrily …

It transpires that the darrell’s tour package ended upon arrival at this new location. However, the darrell books a room for a night and proceeds to join the rest of the paying passengers having complimentary farewell drinks and a farewell dinner. Oh dear, it’s not to be: the paying punters dob in the freeloading darrell, who complains bitterly to staff about the outrageously unfair treatment.

The last day of the tour and, you guessed it, the darrell is still at it. Livid, outraged, complaiming to the manager that the darrell’s wallet has gone missing! Whilst on this property! A search by the darrell himself turns up the wallet, in a toilet cubicle. Empty of cash, of course. The darrell, being such a worldly wise citizen of the globe, indignantly demonstrates (in public, squatting and repeating all the actions and motions) how the ridiculous design of the toilet cubicles makes losing one’s wallet inevitable!

Then comes check-out time. The darrell is refusing to vacate the room and pay the tarrif. Standing in the doorway, clutching the suitcase that’s smothered in destination stickers, the darrell is insisting that the room had two beds and the bill is for two beds, although only a single bed was requested, and therefore the room should be for free! The darrell seems to be enjoying attracting the gathering crowd of onlooking guests in the hallway, and is loudly and vehemently demanding to see the porter, the concierge, the front desk manager, the duty manager, the general manager…

Eventually,  the hotel bill is waived for the darrell. Ahhh, another successful trip, and another destination sticker for the darrell’s well-worn suitcase. 

Now off to the airport to tackle the airline staff…


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