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NEVER use the services of Mayta Munsun, www.eternaltourist.com!

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Nov 27th, 2011, 02:15 PM
  #1
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NEVER use the services of Mayta Munsun, www.eternaltourist.com!

When planning a trip to Rome with 3 other friends, one of our group made arrangements for a tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica with Mayta Munsun owner of Eternal Tourists. Mayta was to accompany us on a 3 hour tour. She advised us to purchase our own tickets and that she would arrange for a Taxi to pick us up at our apartment. We were then to pay for transportation to the Vatican area. First of all, Mayta was 20 min late;. upon my initial look at Mayta I knew our trip was to be a disaster. This snarly looking woman drug herself out of a Taxi and began yelling at us to hurry and get into the Taxi. She was dressed in a poorly kept skirt and snagged sweater, her oily hair had been washed about 2 months ago and she was hobbling with a cane.

Upon arrival at the museum I was stuck with a 24Euro Taxi fare. Maya picked up the Taxi from her home quite a distance from the Museum. Next stop was the courtyard of the museum where guides explain the paintings that would be seen in the Sistine Chapel. This explanation took well over an hours and several dozen other tours came and went while Mayta droned on. I attempted to ask a couple of questions; however, that only brought ugly looks as Mayta could not remember what she had been talking about. Next we began going through the Vatican museum which is composed of 2 huge corridors. We were only able to get through about 60% of one hall. During this time Mayta stopped several times to sit down as she was tired. Whenever 2 of us attempted to walk ahead we were chastised to stay with her. Mayta decided that we had had enough of the museum and now it was time to see the Sistine Chapel. We stayed in the chapel for about 45 min while once again Mayta needed to sit on her fanny. We were able to take a quick look see at St. Peter's Basilica before planning to head for lunch and back to the apartment. Of course Mayta couldn't miss lunch! She made it a point to tell us that we just had to go to the nice restaurant that she was acquainted with and that she would have the driver take us there (she came along too) of course having manners we asked her to join us for lunch. Mayta had a 4 course lunch and was unhappy that none of us were having wine. When the bill came Mayta became our "guest". It turned out that the restaurant happened to be close to where Mayta lived...another FREE taxi ride. After lunch Mayta tried for over an hour to get us a Taxi back to our accommodations, but, due to a political demonstration near the lunch area no Taxi's would come around. Finally our group started walking the streets and were able to flag down a cabby going home for the evening. Later we discovered that had we gone way out of our way in order that Mayta wouldn't have to pay to a Taxi to her home. Oh and did i mention that at lunch Mayta informed us that our tour had gone an hour longer and that we owed her for 4 hours and not 3! NEVER USE THIS TOUR GUIDE! she may be licensed but in Rome there are NO licensing guides! She is a dirty old woman who is well past her prime and definitely a rip-off artist! BUYER BEWARE
mav4749 is offline  
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Nov 27th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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And how was the rest of your trip?
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Nov 27th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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Had a wonderful time. Can't wait to go back. This was the only negative
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Nov 27th, 2011, 03:24 PM
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Well this isn't much of a trip report. Too bad you didn't post any positive things about your trip when you tagged this as a TR. It appears that you registered on this board just to vent your frustration.

If you were so unhappy with this guide why did you go to lunch with her???
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Nov 27th, 2011, 03:55 PM
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Thanks for letting us know. Will consider this fair warning.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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BEST GUIDE POSSIBLE IN ROME! Four of us hired Mayta Munson -- please note the correct spelling of her name -- for a Vatican Museum tour on November 17, 2011. We hired her precisely because she was an American with a background in art history. We couldn't have been more pleased! Knowledgeable, funny, a great sharer of inside stories, Mayta made the museums come alive to each of us. She arrived right on time, kept the pace moving with an energy level that matched our own, answered the many questions we asked and was unfailingly pleasant and interesting. We invited her to be our guest for lunch because we enjoyed her company and we knew she would know some great restaurant we'd have never found on our own. And she did -- the best artichoke and filet of sole I think I've ever had, with fine service and very friendly proprietors. After lunch, she worked a miracle and found us a cab to get us back to the apartment we had rented -- a miracle because there was one of those spur-of-the-moment transit strikes that started while we were enjoying every bite. I would recommend Mayta Munson to any of my friends interested in seeing Rome through an expat's eyes, especially to those who enjoy art and its history. I find the earlier comments insulting to a very talented and helpful guide, one I would willingly use again and hope to at some future date.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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And you registered on Fodors just to post this comment???
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Jan 8th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Interesting, the OP posted just once and the response on Jan 8th is from a new poster with just the post on this thread. Two different experiences or...?
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Jan 8th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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Yes, I registered on Fodors when I read the disparaging remarks online today-- I had Googled Mayta Munson to be able to send her a couple of photos taken on our trip, one of those things I kept meaning to do but kept running out of time, and when I read such horrid things said about her, the absolutely total opposite of our experience, I felt it only fair to present a more positive report in her behalf. Give me a break -- the woman makes a living leading tours of Americans, many of whom could probably give a rat's pattootee about having to see a museum, much less something as intensive as the Vatican group. Our foresome was thrilled to have someone with an art history background, a love of Italy, a more mature nature and English as a first language. The experience got our trip off to a great start and carried us through Florence and Venice until returning home to Texas way too soon. If the earlier complaintant wants a young pup to run through a world-class museum complex, then let them find some guy hanging around the front door -- there were lots of them.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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But what about the taxi routine she invented?

Why couldn't she just meet them at the Vatican? Something's fishy and it isn't only the artichoke and sole.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 05:43 PM
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I would never use a guide who expected a four-course meal on my dime after I paid for the tour and transportation. Why? The guide should buy me a snack or a drink for my business!! How truly tactless. OP - thank you for heads up.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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Ms Munson said we could meet her at the Vatican on our own or she would pick us up in a taxi -- we chose the taxi and got an added bit of tour guiding en route. We invited her to lunch because we liked her and didn't really know where to go in the area. She was not the one who brought it up. I never felt there were any kind of expectations other than the fees discussed and charged as agreed. She's an excellent guide and I'd happily use her again.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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The following was posted on Fodor's by

Elaine on Dec 28, 02 at 1:46pm

We booked Mayta (Eternal Tourist) for a half-day trip to Tivoli in October 2002. Cost for her & auto/driver was about 400 Euros - a splurge for us. She was knowledgeable, but be forewarned. 1) Conversation during drive-times provided minimal information about sites unless we initiated questions. 2) At her suggestion, we had lunch at a local trattoria before seeing gardens. It soon became apparent that she expected us to pay for her meal. 3) She can't walk extensively due to her health, so we were left to walk most of the gardens alone without her expertise.

Check the link, it's the last post.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...te-tours-1.cfm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is more consistent with OP's story. OP - thank you.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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It's strange how btungate's experience is the exact opposite of the OP's, and mirrors the transport strike limiting taxis after lunch.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 05:48 PM
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What can I say? The four of us all liked Ms Munson and would recommend her to any of our friends traveling to Italy. As to similarities in strikes and such -- they seem to be more the norm, rather than the exception, in a number of countries. I find it interesting that now a second less than happy report makes its way here, all the way from 10 years ago. You can even throw away tax receipts and bankruptcies are removed from credit reports after that period of time.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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Elaine's history on this board has thousands of posts over 10+ years, so yes, we put stock in her opinion even if it was 2002.

>>>Yes, I registered on Fodors when I read the disparaging remarks online today-- I had Googled Mayta Munson to be able to send her a couple of photos taken on our trip, one of those things I kept meaning to do but kept running out of time, and when I read such horrid things said about her, the absolutely total opposite of our experience<<<

Odd. This thread didn't turn up when I Googled her name.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 08:22 PM
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Fine, folks -- I didn't realize people had to earn tenure on your board and will go quietly into the night. Why your Google didn't work I don't know. Why others have had other poor experiences, I don't know. All I could share was my own experience, which was a positive one. Bye now.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 11:36 AM
  #18
 
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Mayta is my mother in law and I love her immensely -- you mean people should just shut-up! She is a smart, caring, and beautiful person
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Apr 26th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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awagstaff,

Glad to hear that your relationship with your mother-in-law does not fit the stereotype, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the guide service she provides.
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