Wednesday, August 5, 2009

894th Post - Things in Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense, Part Six

Welcome to the sixth edition of Things In Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense (TIHTJDMS). This occasional series, as I have explained before, discusses things in the city of Halifax that might at first glance appear to be interesting. Upon reflection, however, it doesn't make any kind of sense.

This entry is about the Harbour Hopper. It is an amphibious vehicle that travels throughout the downtown. They charge a healthy fee to transport (mostly) tourists around the city and misinform them as to our history. I can't expect people who work for these tourist outlets to be experts in history, but it would be nice if they didn't always get things wrong.

As a driver, the last thing I want is for my car to be in front of a Harbour Hopper vehicle. I have seen on more than once occasion one of these vehicles slam into an unsuspecting driver in traffic. This is because the front end of the vehicle is up and off the ground, overlapping the rest of the Harbour Hopper. The result is that a driver can easily not see how close he is to a car in front of him. He can literally be on top of the next car, while the rest of the HH hasn't touched it yet. I wonder how much insurance the company that owns the HH's, pays.

I mentioned it is an amphibious vehicle. The denouement of a tour on the HH is when the vehicle enters the Halifax harbour. It just drives right on in. This wouldn't be so bad, but these days, the harbour's sewage issues are as bad as they have ever been. I can't imagine a tourist is very impressed navigating that close to the water and being able to see "floatables" like turds, tampon applicators, and condoms, so close they could reach out and touch them. There's probably a fetish for that kind of interest, but I don't want to know about it.

Let's see here. The vehicles are butt ugly. The drivers slam into other vehicles. The tour guides are woefully misinformed about Halifax history. And the HH navigates through shit-infested water. Yep. I want to spend $35 doing that!

Face it, my friends: The Harbour Hopper just doesn't make sense.

Next: A hold over from the G-7 conference that nobody uses.



Ms. A said...

Interesting take Bevboy on a very popular tourist attraction. Believe it or not, much thoughts, plans, and proposals are put into these machines and their tours by the owners to be presented and approved by councel. This is not to mention the mind blowing cost of these machines. Finding, refitting, and bringing these machines to code to travel the streets of Halifax is no small feat, with many hurdles to be scaled over.

It is unfortunate if in fact the operators and tour guides are misinforming the tourists about your fabulous history and facts, and should be definitely brought to the owners attention. They may or may not appreciate this but it is something they should hear.

So, with this being said, and with what I have read on what you take away from this tour...what pray tell was your thoughts on the hovercraft that operated from the waterfront a few years ago?

kevin.tillman said...

Hi Bev, if i were a tourist i'd think i'd enjoy the HH. I myself have floated on the harbour many times too ;) and it appears very clean. This is primarily due to the signficant tidal 'toilet bowl' effect. Most floatables quickly go far out to sea or end up on McNabbs or Georges.

I heard once they fired an tour guide because he was an actor that spent almost all the time promoting himself. I would hope they have some sort of script that is accurate from a historic perspective.

Bevboy said...

Wow. Two post comments criticizing me for my stance on something. I thought my review of "Survivor" would get me in trouble. Instead, it's the Harbour Hopper.

I have seen more than once the HH slam into a vehicle in front of it in traffic. I would hope that drivers are now being trained to take the shape of the HH into consideration. Otherwise, the insurance premiums the company pays would be horrendous. If I saw one coming up on me in my rear view mirror, I'd brace myself for impact.

Many people, including one HRM councillor I know, have commented on the historical "facts" the tour guides dispense. Once again, if they have improved in that error in recent months, then I'll withdraw that comment. Nobody expects them to be historians. But getting at least a few popular facts right shouldn't be that difficult and would not be boring to tourists.

I have no opinion on the hovercraft that operated in the downtown a few years ago. You would have no way of knowing this, "Ms. A", but I did not work in the downtown for several years and thus did not make it to the waterfront as much as I would have liked.

Patricia and I have been on the HH. If my parents came to visit and were up to it, I might take them out on it myself.

The purpose of this occasional series is to point out things in the city that don't make sense to me. If they are popular with the public, then I won't stand in their way but will still wonder what the fuss is all about. I have written about a restaurant whose name evokes a crappy part of Halifax history; my thoughts on the use of the Common for public, for-profit events; and the giant "tongue" along the waterfront. "Ms. A", just click on the "Halifax" or "Nonsense" labels associated with this blog and you'll see the previous entries.

My thanks to you both for taking the time to write. I know Kevin will keep reading. Ms. A, I hope you do too. If you disagree or even agree with something I write, please feel free to post another comment. I enjoy the feedback.


Ms. A said...

Thanks for the read this morning Bev.

There is suppose to be specialized training for the operation of these vessels and they are to be registered as both a vehicle and a vessel. Any shoddy operation of this vessel is definitely a point to be addressed by the owners, and we both know who they are.

And as for the tour information,I sincerely believe that the tourists go on this tour for the novelty of the ride but also the entertainment and education of the area provided by the guide. I, for many years, was a tour guide on both a local bus tour which catered to cruise ships, a guide on the hovercraft (which had the same strict requirements for operation as the amphibious bus does), and a kayak guide. Believe me if I hadn't "performed and informed" the people paying then I was not doing the job I was to do.

I will check out the other blogs, am very interested in the tourism of NS and NB...and whether it is good or bad...I am vocal about my opinions! Must run in the family!

Have a good day...and I look forward to more blogs.

Bevboy said...

Thank for having... faith in me, Ms. A. Keep reading.