I’ve gone right into Victor Meldrew overdrive in the last few days. Exclamations of ‘Oh for God’s sake’ have been coming thick and fast…except that’s the censored version.
The first topic which has left me exasperated is the discussions about an outbreak of norovirus in the south west of Tenerife on Tripadvisor. This is a subject that won’t go away at the moment and there are at least ten threads about it.
I fully understand visitors’ concerns about this. Every November I have concerns about picking up a bug when I go to watch Man Utd in a bar full of people snuffling and coughing with cold and flu germs transported from Northern Europe.
And there lies the irony about the norovirus. Nobody can say where it came from, but there are a couple of factors which sort of point a finger. The first is that it seems to be specifically affecting areas where there is a high British visitor count. The second is that two friends who are nurses in the UK mentioned in passing that wards in their hospitals in completely different parts of the country had been shut down because of the same virus. Oh, and add to this that the Canarian population who don’t come into contact with visitors don’t seem to have experienced the virus and the evidence mounts.
If anyone decides not to come to Tenerife because of norovirus it’s a bit like Columbus and his men saying ‘we ain’t going back to the Americas – they’re full of sick Indians’.
Anyway that was the first trigger. The second was a tweeter from an American who was worried that a 70s degrees forecast they’d read wouldn’t be warm enough. That was okay, Andy replied to them reassuring them that it would be warmer and gave them links to some of our web pages.
Well she’s arrived on Tenerife having opted for Playa de Las Américas and what was her first tweet? It was one asking if anyone knew where she could get Spanish food in Tenerife with a comment about ‘who knew it would be difficult?’
The answer to that one, love, is anyone who did their research first and didn’t opt to stay in what is probably the least Spanish/Canarian place on the island. Las Américas is a great tourist resort, but it is purpose built for visitors – it doesn’t pretend otherwise. It is not the place to go if you want to experience local culture and food. So don’t stay there if that’s what you’re looking for.
Next one to have me shaking my head in despair was a guy in the Beehive Bar in Puerto de la Cruz on Saturday. The bar was screening the Formula One race on Spanish TV before the Man Utd V Fulham game. A bloke walked up to the bar and asked if the commentary could be changed to English. When Adrian, the bar manager, replied that it couldn’t the customer went into a right strop, mumbling about how he wouldn’t be able to understand it. Another customer pointed out that it being in Spanish didn’t change the names of the drivers or who was in what place, but he wasn’t having it.
“That’s it, I’m finishing my pint and going back to my hotel,” he whined whilst Adrian took it all calmly and without comment. He sees it every week, people moaning about the commentary being in Spanish; he’s much more patient than I could ever be. I don’t understand these people – they’re getting to see the race/game whatever. Who the hell cares whether the commentary is in English, Spanish or Swahili?
The final rant is reserved for the Canarian management team in Al Campo supermarket. It’s our friend Jo’s birthday this week and she specifically asked for a couple of CDs by Eva Cassidy and Nick Cave. Jo lives on La Gomera and sees Puerto as the big metropolis where you can get anything, she forgets that whilst there are a couple of aisles of CDs in the supermarket, the majority of discs are by Spanish groups. But there are some international artists, so we headed up there yesterday afternoon and started searching through the CDs and that’s when we hit a wall.
Get this – the CDs were not in any order whatsoever. They weren’t in alphabetical order and they were classified by music type. They’d been thrown in willy nilly. It was impossible to find out if they had specific albums without searching through every last one of them. Now whether this lack of organisation is down to laziness or stupidity I don’t know but what it isn’t, is customer friendly – and it’s not smart from a business point of view. How many people walk away without buying saying ‘stuff that for a game of soldiers’?
Anyway, that’s my moan about Americans, Brits and Canarios over – tune in next week for the French, Germans and the Innuits.