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MY MISGUIDED TOUR
Art Rosenbaum
October 24, 1960
When the executive sports editor of the 'San Francisco Chronicle' was asked to lead a tour to the Olympic Games in Rome, he was frightened. When he actually found himself doing it, he became frantic. Here is the hilarious inside story that the "members" never hear—of crises with hotels and buses, of plumbing that wasn't and the bagno that was, and how a little man became a Leader
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October 24, 1960

My Misguided Tour

When the executive sports editor of the 'San Francisco Chronicle' was asked to lead a tour to the Olympic Games in Rome, he was frightened. When he actually found himself doing it, he became frantic. Here is the hilarious inside story that the "members" never hear—of crises with hotels and buses, of plumbing that wasn't and the bagno that was, and how a little man became a Leader

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He seemed almost sorry for me. "You did? Not us. We knew Hary won because we had the perfect angle.... We're right on the finish line."

There was the matter of bus departures. We never left anywhere on schedule because at least one person was late or missing. Every day I was confronted by the Big Decision—when to tell the driver, "I guess we can't wait any longer. Let's go."

Tardiness was only part of the reason. One day the Judge walked around the corner for a cigar and got lost. A Relative on the loose managed to forget completely the name of his hotel and after a half-day's frustrated wandering cabled back to his office in San Francisco to find out where he lived.

But I will always remember Rome most for my introduction to companionate bathing. My wife rang for the maid and with gestures explained she wanted a bath. The maid said she would be right back. Then I decided I wanted a bath, too, and I rang the bell. The same maid appeared. Gestures—bath, rub, scrub. I was led down the hall into a bathroom where the water had been drawn. I stepped in—too hot, but not bad—and just then the door that I thought I had closed opened, and my wife appeared.

There ensued certain words: "What are you doing here?" "Well, she told me to come in!" "This is my bath, not yours!" "What is this, the Italian His and Hers?" "Could she have meant both of us?"

My wife went back to the room. I washed quickly and then departed running; she returned for her bath. The maid stood transfixed in the hall during the entire episode. "Crazy Americani," she muttered.

When the Olympics ended we went to Zurich. We touched down in Switzerland in a rainstorm, and when we reached our hotel on a narrow side street, for once we found our rooms were ready for us. It was a tiny hotel with a rollicking bar and a proprietress who registered the guests, mixed the drinks and cooked Swiss fondue. One of our travelers, whom we had come to know as Mr. Cognac, said later that he regretted leaving because he had a tremendous investment in the corner stool at the bar, from which spot he had directed the group in selected American harmonies.

Our sightseeing plan was a trip to Mount Pilatus in the Alps, 6,994 feet up by funicular railway, and a return to Zurich via Lucerne. The local guide apologized for the weather. "You should not go to Pilatus," he said. "There is some walking necessary and your people will get their feet wet."

The men cried protests. "Why," said Mr. Cognac, "this is Oregon duck hunting weather! Man, after Rome's heat I'm beginning to live again!"

"What?" cried the ladies, "and miss shopping for watches in Lucerne?"

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