Tourist info

I had a different job this morning.  Instead of taking a bus full of tourists from a cruise ship around the island, I got to sit on the ship itself and provide tourist information data.

I was escorted on board. I had to pass my handbag and my box of maps through an airport-type scanner, and leave my driving license with the security people. Then I was taken up a level into what I supposed you’d call the lobby.

My goodness, it’s a posh ship. The lobby (above) looked like a 5-star hotel.

I was officially supposed to start at 9 am, but there was already a queue when I got there at a quarter to, so I started answering questions. Taxi trips to volcanoes, laurel forest, buses to the silk museum etc. The maps disappeared at an alarming rate, and people joined the end of the queue about as fast as I dealt with them.

Gradually the questions changed from long trips to short trips, and then strolls around town. I started to sound like a parrot. “Follow the blue line out of the port – that’s about five minutes – and then go along the sea front past the lovely 17th century balconies and the little castle which was attacked by Francis Drake…”

I said goodbye to a couple, and found nobody waiting. So I looked at my watch – 11:45. That’s three hours with scarcely time to draw breath.

More people came along, at a slower pace. A few of my earlier customers trickled back with new questions (and one just to say “Thank you , that was just what we wanted.”) But by 1 pm I was sitting on my own, clearing out old messages from my mobile.

Now, I’d been told to work until one, but I’d been escorted onto the ship, and I thought someone might well appear to escort me off.

Fifteen minutes later I called my boss, but he didn’t answer. Five minutes after that, I called again. Still no answer.

At half past, I got up and found reception, and asked there. They said I could go. So I did.

After checking out the mega-posh loo, of course (below).

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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