Some Tinerfeños will tell you that Gomerans are not the brightest people on the planet. There’s a whole load of jokes which have been made up to illustrate this which go along the lines of:
Q. “Why does a Gomeran keep an empty bottle in his fridge?”
A. “For his friends who don’t drink.”

Now I’ve been to La Gomera many times and these are probably unfair. Although, the last time I was there I picked up a bus timetable for the small airport which showed that buses departed five minutes before the inter-island plane touched down. Now clearly this sort of thing doesn’t help.

The irony is that many Spanish mainlanders view Tinerfeños, in fact Canarios in general, as being a bit backward. A common remark from holidaying peninsulares goes along the lines of: “You’ll always be behind us.” supposedly referring to the hour difference in time between the Canary Islands and mainland Spain, but really meaning a whole lot more.

It winds me up and obviously I’m not even a Canario, but in the last week a couple of events had me on the verge of subscribing to the mainlanders’ viewpoint.

The first was the visit of ‘the electrician’. We didn’t ask for him, he just turned up. We live between a banana plantation and a small golf course. As access to our house is through the golf course, we have an intercom thingy beside the entrance to the course. About six months ago we were leaving the house and noticed a man fiddling with the intercom.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“Oh, we’re moving the entrance to the reception, so I need to move this as well,” he smiled. “But don’t worry. It’ll be much better when I’ve finished.”
Needless to say, it didn’t work after that.

The other day the same ‘electrician’ turned up to fix it. He came striding up our path and nodded to us.
“Can I come in to have a look at the wiring for your ‘portero’, it isn’t working.”

We both had two pieces of information that I felt shed some light on why.
a) Before he started fiddling about with it at reception six months previously, it worked.
b) After he finished, it didn’t.

Now I’m no expert, but that suggested to me that the problem lay at the reception end. I told him, but he still wanted to take a look and within minutes there were wires hanging everywhere.

Three hours later and much head scratching, it still wasn’t working. He disappeared down the path. Another couple of hours later he appeared again, beaming.

“It’s fixed,” he announced.
“Brilliant. What was the problem?”
“Bad wires at the reception. When the box was moved the wires broke,” he smiled, proud of his discovery.
Apparently all memory of my suggestion five hours previously, that that was where the problem was, erased.
I could have screamed.

The second situation was quite the most unbelievable. About a month ago a customer reported that he hadn’t received the ‘Real Tenerife Island Drives’ guide that he’d ordered. This is rare, in fact it was the first time, but obviously these things can happen. We immediately despatched a second and forgot about it…until yesterday when the ‘missing’ guide was returned to us with a British Royal Mail sticker showing that it had been sent back because of an incomplete address.
And the reason the address was incomplete? Because some halfwit in the post office in Puerto de la Cruz had fixed a postage label right over the top half of the address! Now in my book that takes a phenomenal and quite frightening level of stupidity to do something like that.

So next time Carlos down the Beehive bar starts to tell me:
”Did you here about the Gomeran who…” I’ll interrupt him with, “Did you hear about the Tinerfeño postman…”

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