Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The City Bus Tour: Welcome To The University Of Life

It was only two hours. Two hours driving all week. It should have been a breeze.

It was a City Tour for a University. As I rolled up to the main square, lines of people queued for the bus. Some were wearing shirts with 'BUDDY' displayed boldly on their backs. Was this the right place? Or had I mistakenly landed in a group of American tourists.

It was the right place and the Buddies seemed to be acting as mentors. I sat in my seat and silently acknowledged my dimwittedness as someone explained to me that most universities in Britain now run Buddy schemes to make new students feel at home.

A variety of ages boarded the bus. These were potential students and their parents, having a good look around before deciding which university to go to. We set off. Two students were giving the guided tour. Neither got the hang of how to use the microphone and the bus was filled a noise similar to heavy breathing in Nightmare On Elm Street. I listened to their spiel. It revolved around where the next drink was coming from mainly. Every bar, every nightclub, every pub of any note was mentioned.

After several minutes of this I stuck my oar in. Firstly in a helpful way - 'that's the best dim sun restaurant, that bridge was built in..., that is a statue of....'etc etc. Then the more mischievous information came out. 'That's the baby ward at the hospital, that's the police station, that's the law courts.'

There was nervous tittering from the back of the bus from the parents, who did not know how to digest this new information. There was audible relief when I stopped short of telling them where the Sexual Health Clinic could be found. The two student guides stared at me with their mouths open. They changed the subject swiftly by telling an awful Maths joke. In their haste they managed to pull the wire out of the microphone.

Silence. Mission accomplished. Peace at last.

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