Expo 2005 Journals:
The Prime Minister of Pakistan learns to ride a Segway

土曜日, 8月 13, 2005
1:05 午後

I have just completed a six day shift during which two noteworthy things happened.

First, I'll tell you about a "minor annoyance" that comes along with our job. Two days ago, we had to stay 10 minutes late at the end of our AM shift because the Prime Minister of Pakistan was coming and they didn't want the shift change to take place during his visit. We of course find this annoying because we're always exhausted by the end of a shift. (Also, many of us were just sitting there in our positions while the pavilion was empty—we closed it for the visit—and the people on Queue had to deal with the line outside which just kept getting longer. That's not fun, let me tell you.) But while we were waiting around feeling mildly annoyed about the just-another-VIP visit that was keeping us late, I observed that people who are not here working at the Expo would think that it was so cool that the Prime Minister of another country was coming by, and other guides laughed sort of half-heartedly and agreed.

They pulled me out of the empty Pre-Show (where Alex and I were sprawled on the floor and benches because we could be) and told me to come into Post-Show to ride the Segway for the visit, in case the PM wanted to come that way. (Dayn was already in there, but I guess they wanted me on the Segway. Okay, cool.)

Well, it turned out that the PM's contingent did come that way, and they very quickly swarmed around me and the Segway and started asking me all sorts of questions about it. (Including some rather difficult ones—he was trying to grill me on what the point of it was, and I was just thinking, "I do not work for Segway, it's not my job to sell them, they just tell me to ride it so I do!") At first it was just some of the other guys in the contingent but then the Prime Minister came over with the head of our Pavilion and the rest of their squad, including Sanober, who was the VIP guide that day. (She's from Pakistan, so this was a big deal for her, and we made sure she got the VIP position that day.) The Prime Minister, of course, wants to know about the Segway. Sanober says aside to me, "You tell him about it!"

So I got to teach the Prime Minister of Pakistan how to ride the Segway.

Yep, just another day in the life of a US Pavilion Guide. Meanwhile almost everyone else was sitting around wondering when we would get off shift. Haha! That's the brutally honest glimpse into our lives here. But it was pretty darn cool the way it ended up for me. Becky (one of the really cool people on the staff) said that when the whole group of them swarmed around me (because they did swarm; bother that Segway) I looked really startled at first. Haha. ;)

Anyway. Then there was yesterday, which isn't such a big story: I just thought I would note that we had a huge sudden rainstorm. I expect this was not much fun for those who had to clean up the VIP entrance hall, which flooded, but for me it was exciting. I was working in the best position to observe the storm and yet be safe from it: that is, X-ray, which is under an awning but still outside. So I saw the wind and I saw the dark clouds and even some bolts of lightning, cool! I have only seen one other storm in Japan (last weekend, actually, when we were watching the storm from my bedroom window). I like thunderstorms and Japan has mostly deprived me of a season of them, in favor of horrible disgustingly oppresive killer HOT humid weather. UGH. But yeah, yesterday we had a huge sudden downpour, and people in line all started shouting and putting up their umbrellas (a mostly futile gesture). Water started leaking in through the ceiling of the Pavilion's front deck in some places even—not where I was standing, fortunately, but just a couple feet to my right, right atop the speaker and TV. Hmm...that might be bad. I unplugged the speaker. Before that, though, I did have fun talking to the crowd with the microphone, going on about the rain and thunderstorms and how it's raining slightly less inside the Pavilion so they'd better hurry and come in. (There is a little bit of rain as a special effect in Main Show. When they get misted inside, they'll realize what I was talking about.)

So that was my day at the Pavilion yesterday, and the day before. Today is a day off, then we have two more AM shifts.

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