Witnessing illegal behavior on tour
A group tour of Western Europe I took in fall 2010 included a visit to Amsterdam. While there, several tour members tried marijuana, bought from one of the coffee shops.
They did this during their free time. Earlier in the day, the tour leader had explained the purpose of the coffee shops.
Several tour members carried their marijuana with them as we continued on by tour coach to more countries.
For the record, the range of ages among tour members was 32 to 80.
At least one tour member obtained narcotics and openly “shared” them with group members as the tour continued. I do not know what drug it was. When asked, the tour member smiled and said, “It’s better than Aleve.” They were white tablets that I assume were prescription pain killers.
The tour leader at some point became aware of the drugs and, late in the tour, made a comment about tour members being stoned and drunk and getting lost. The tour leader also commented that it could have been very bad if the tour coach had been stopped at a border crossing and the drugs found by the authorities.
Our group made a brief stop in a rather touristy small town. The shops along the main street had sidewalk stands displaying items for sale: aprons, dish towels, hats — nothing really expensive. In front of one shop, I saw one of our tour members pick up a bright red dish towel, pocket it into a small bag and walk off with it.
Now, I can understand using marijuana in Amsterdam, but carrying it across borders and its possession in the rest of Europe are both illegal. As for the narcotics, if they were not obtained with a prescription, isn’t buying, possessing or transporting them illegal? Even if the pills were legally acquired, isn’t giving or selling them to someone else still illegal? Shoplifting may seem petty, but it, too, is a crime.
I realize that the tour company cannot control the behavior of its passengers. I would like to travel with this tour company again but not if my professional license and reputation are at risk due to the stupid and illegal acts of other tour members.
Should I have told the tour company about the drugs and the shoplifter? (This was early in the tour, and I wondered about the hostile feelings that could be created.) Should I travel with the tour company again? I’m interested in what ITN readers think about this situation.
Name withheld by request
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