Our walking guide yesterday was an English guy who has lived here in Tenerife about 10 years. He knows his stuff. Led by him, we spent a pleasant – if windswept – day hiking again among the steep hills away from the coast:
We were two of four walkers. The other two were English: a retired man from Sheffield, and a woman from Bolton.
The walk concluded, the friendly woman suggested we stop for a drink in some café on the road nearby. The guide didn’t seem too keen, though. I suspected he – quite reasonably – just wanted to drop us all and go home.
However, bubbling with enthusiasm in the front passenger seat, she persisted. (We other three were in the back.)
As we drove nearer to the first place (she knew the island pretty well), he discounted it: “Uh, they’re really busy, it’ll take a while to get served.” (And there were several cars outside, so he may have been right about that.)
Approaching the next place, a few minutes on down the mountain road, he declared, “Uh, they’re not open Tuesdays.” (When we reached it, they evidently were: the door was open and the board was outside. But by then, we were virtually by it.)
He noted quickly that we wouldn’t be wanted in the next place: “They don’t like walkers in there.” (But it turned out when we drove by that one they were indeed closed for the day.)
At last he made his own suggestion: “There’s a petrol station I know that has a cafeteria.”
“A petrol station?” she questioned him.
It had been like an unintended comedy skit. In the back seat, I could have burst out laughing.
“It’s a good one,” he declared.
And it was. The outdoor seating area was fine. The small beers (my wife and I had) were excellent. The other man had a coffee. The driving guide had water. The Bolton woman enjoyed her drink too; but I’m also sure a petrol station wasn’t really what she’d had in mind. 😉
Interestingly, though, that cafeteria also contained the first server I’ve met so far here in Tenerife who evidently didn’t speak English. The young woman who produced our refreshments appeared to understand almost none. Or she was pretending she didn’t. 😉
On the road once more, pre-drop off at our apartment the guide revealed how he is booked solid for walks for the next week or so. He said after that he has several guys from the northeast of England booked to walk one day, and a Frenchwoman with them for one of them. He added that she is then basically on her own thus far for several other walks with him, and that she also apparently speaks little English. Speaking no French himself, he told us all that he had been arranging things with her by emailing back and forth using Google Translate. (My gut feeling is she probably speaks better English in person than he realizes yet.)
Having reached our apartment at last, standing briefly at the back of his car with us saying goodbye, and with us already having remarked that we’d like to walk again with him, he suggested that the woman might like to have us join one of her walks. My wife especially. “So there’s another woman along,” he pointed out.
My (far better with French than Spanish) wife agreed. Given her tone, I also knew she was kidding me as she replied to him, “Oh, yes, I could speak some French with her.”
After he and our two former walking companions had driven away, I knew what was gonna come flying at me within seconds. And it did, of course. Countdown: 3, 2, 1, and….
“Oh, yes, a hill walk all day with a Frenchwoman who barely speaks English,” my wife laughed as we strolled into the apartment complex. “I can’t wait to be there for that with you.”
To be continued (perhaps)… 🙂