Busy, busy week

The Saga Pearl in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The Saga Pearl in Santa Cruz de La Palma

Whew, what a week!

On Monday I did the panoramic tour with the Saga Pearl (basically, “Lovely views and quite a few of them”). On Tuesday and Wednesday I worked at the Roque. The first group on Tuesday included a French couple who didn’t speak any English or Spanish. I think they expected to just look, but I felt I had to try, so my extremely rusty French got a thorough workout. It was very tiring, but they evidently appreciated it.

On Wednesday the French couple phoned. Since they only speak French, it took quite a while to understand that they wanted to buy two of my books. Great! The only problem was organising to met up because

  • I was having a very busy week
  • they were staying at the Princess hotel, about an hour’s drive away and
  • all organising had to be done in my dreadful French.

Thursday was another cruise ship excursion, this time to the silk museum and Hacienda de Abajo.

Just before my German class on Thursday night the French couple phoned to say they were in Los Cancajos, and could I come?

Well no, because I had German class, which was a pity because I wanted to sell those books. (The German course is quite intense, and if I miss a class it’s hard to catch up.) I said I’d be free Friday afternoon.

This morning I had two groups at the observatory, then stayed to chat with one of the visitors and photograph the building work for the new GOTO telescope. I’d just sat down with a well earned glass of orange juice when they called again.  They were in the restaurant in San Jose. Could I come?

Er no. I was an hour away. But perhaps my son could? So I phoned him – and he was in the same restaurant waiting for his lunch. And just as I persuaded him to ask them to hold his food, it arrived.

So then I had to phone the French couple to explain. They seemed to think I wanted them to go to my house, but I didn’t want to try to give directions in French. Eventually I managed to get through to them that my son was there.

Then I had a bright idea. I got my son to send me a selfie, and passed it on to the French couple. They found him, and then he had the bright idea of using Google translate. And it all got sorted in another 5 minutes. Happy customers, happy Sheila, and happy son (because I paid him a commission.)


And this morning I had another two groups at the observatory. Nice people, but I feel ready for a couple of days off.

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.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. Technology certainly has its uses! Well done for persevering and getting the sales. Did they buy the English or Spanish version?

  2. Hello Sheila,

    we wish to thank you so much for the inspiring tour this morning. We really enjoyed all your explanations and we appreciated your wonderfully set anecdotes.

    We hope you will find time to enjoy some days off, to improve your not so bad german, and to take a deep breath of the wonderful island’s air – or at least 75 percent of it.

    Wishing you all the best

    Werner, Sabine and Lenny

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