In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Yaron Ovadia to discuss his experience as a tour guide specializing in Islam and Middle East Studies as well as his his fieldwork among the Bedouins of the Judean Desert. Dr. Ovadia recalled his experience as a nature guide, his academic interests and decision to pursue a PhD and his thoughts on the pros and cons of the tour guide training course. In addition, we spoke in depth about the anthropological nature of his fieldwork among the Bedouin. Lastly, we spoke about the possible pitfalls of bringing tourists to visit these communities, the recent Abraham Accords with Bahrain and the UAE, and his thoughts about how we will exit from the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Ovadia may be reached by Facebook https://www.facebook.com/yaron.ovadia.391 and will be releasing a book based on his research in the near future.
Naomi Ehrlich Kuperman, my guest for this weeks episode, has been guiding for over 40 years and kindly reached out to me to share her passion for guiding. Naomi and I had a far-ranging conversation that touched on the tour guide training course and how it has not kept up with the times, relations between guides and drivers, her experience of guiding Germans and how this has changed over time, and how she survived and overcame previous crises such as the first and second Intifadas and the First Gulf War. In addition to guiding, Naomi is a Board member of Moreshet Derekh, the incoming tour guide association and shared some of the recent political successes surrounding unemployment benefits and retraining for guides. Last, but not least, she shares some sage advice to young tour guides that they would be wise to heed.