From the archives (originally posted on July 3, 2006):
From Bob: There was a student who met the rest of her group on the front steps at Ellis Island and complained that, though she had gone through the entire museum and read everything in sight, she hadn't found anything at all about Elvis.
While on the way for a tour of Grand Central, Doug Nervik stumbled onto the Madison Avenue street fair. He was thrilled and gave his group some free time to shop and eat. One very sweet woman on the trip gazed up the crowded street lined with booths as far as the eye could see, turned to Doug and said: My goodness, I always thought the Grand Central Station would look different than this! I thought it would be inside!
Occasionally, what our American students don't know can be depressing and, when we bring them to the United Nations where international docents take over for an hour, a little embarrassing. The docents come off the elevator at the end of the tours and look at me with glares of recrimination as if I were responsible for the bottomless ignorance of the country's youth. I get defensive, explaining: "I don't know them. I just met them at the airport yesterday. Come back! " To avoid this, I usually cheat by giving the kids some of the answers to questions I know they'll be asked inside. I'm not the only one. Jeff P. was quizzing his group on the bus as it drove up to the U.N.
Jeff: So the flags of the member states are in alphabetical order. The last flag is easy, starts with a z, Zimbabwe. What's the first?
Jeff: No. And that's not the name of our country. Ours starts with a u. We're near the end.
Jeff: No. No. That's a state. What I'm looking for is a country.
Jeff: Oof. I'll just tell you. It's Afghanistan.
A couple parents in the back: BOOOOOOOOOO!!
And then he had to explain how we're not actually at war with Afghanistan. It's not an easy job.
(COMING TOMORROW...PART TWO)