Friday, 31 March 2017

Tourist thoughts.

Here is a selection of complaints, supposedly genuine complaints, received by a travel company:

 "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food."

 "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

 "The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”

 “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

 “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

 “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

 “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.” 

“I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”

 “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

I especially love the complaints about there being too many foreigners in foreign places. These claim to be genuine complaints. Some may be invented, of course. However, years ago we flew back from Santiago de Compostela to Liverpool (when such flights still existed) in a plane where the majority of the passengers were members of  the Crosby Cross-Denominational Pilgrimage Society. They had been on an organised trip to Santiago, a sort of pilgrimage by plane I suppose. Well, if you can do the Camino on a bicycle, why not in a plane? I earwigged on a conversation about their accommodation. One of them expressed her dismay at how little English was spoken by the staff in the pensión. "There was a suggestions box", I heard one lady say, " so I wrote, 'SPEAK ENGLISH'."

Those who crave for foreign parts to be just like home would not doubt be pleased with this headline from yesterday's Faro de Vigo:

" Starbucks desembarcará en Vigo La multinacional inicia el proceso de selección para su primer establecimiento en la ciudad."

Rumours have been flying around for a while, apparently, but now the multinational is advertising for a "store manager", who must have at least two years experience. And dozens of people have already applied to be part of the team of twelve who are supposed to be working there eventually.

Just what Vigo needs: a place where you can buy gallon-sized paper cups of vaguely coffee-coloured liquid. Oh, and probably get vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and goodness knows what other flavour of so-called coffee! It hasn't arrived yet and according to the article I read it will most likely be situated inside the big posh store El Corte Inglés. So all the "pijos", the posh folk, can go and drink Starbucks coffee.

When we first lived in Vigo we were advised to go to El Corte Inglés because they have everything - en El Corte Inglés hay de todo - just at rather posh prices.

We are not fans of Starbucks. One of the joys of visiting Spain and Italy is the number of small cafes where you can get a decent coffee at a reasonable price in a reasonably-sized cup. Costa Coffee is already in Porto airport, selling quite good coffee but in the usual range of small (in other words as big as a large breakfast cup of coffee), medium (getting on for 1/2 to 3/4 of a pint) or large (more coffee than you should sensibly drink over the course of a whole day). They also seem to sell the same range of cookies and flapjacks that you get in the branch on Market Street in Manchester. 


 What happened to going to other countries to experience their culture?

Local food, local drink, local customs - all things that make your visit extra interesting.

And above all, don't complain because it's not quite like home!

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