I’m nosey, I confess it. I listen in to other people’s conversations all the time. I don’t do it deliberately, but clearly I’ve got one of those built in triggers which kicks in when it hears certain key words.
Last night the words which set it off were ‘giant moth’.
The conversation was taking place between a Canarian barman, a newly arrived pair of British swallows (people who spend the winter in Tenerife and fly back to their home country for summer) and a sweet young couple who were visiting the island for the first time. They'd found themselves staying way off the tourist trail in Isla Baja and had been travelling into Puerto de la Cruz in the evening for a bit of nightlife.
I’d already warmed to the young couple earlier as they had a lovely fresh enthusiasm for learning about Tenerife and had spent a lot of time asking the barman how to say certain things in Spanish. He duly obliged, only coming unstuck when they asked him to translate ‘cider and black’ into Spanish.
Anyway, I’d stopped listening until I heard the words ‘giant moth’. The young couple had moved on from asking the barman how to ask for a ‘roll’ or ‘sea bass’ in Spanish and had started telling a couple of swallows next to them about their exploits.
The Mariposario is a fascinating place to visit and the young couple were clearly blown away by the experience, if a little freaked by encountering a ‘butterfly’ the size of a blackbird. However, it was the conversation which followed which really interested me. As they enthused about the butterfly park, they asked the swallows if they’d been – they hadn’t. They asked them if they’d been to see the Drago tree – again they hadn’t. Despite having visited the island yearly since before the young couple they were talking to were born, they had never made the 20 minute journey down the coast to see one of Tenerife’s icons. As the young couple rattled off more places, the answers came back, ‘no, not been there’, ‘no, haven’t actually seen that.’
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this type of conversation between ‘interested’ new visitors and people who have visited year after year for the last couple of decades.
I sometimes wonder if some seasoned visitors can become complacent and forget that they haven’t actually seen all there is to see on Tenerife.
The young couple engaged the barmen in the conversation and asked him if he’d seen the ‘super moth.’
“Why would I pay to see a butterfly?” He shrugged his shoulders dismissing the world’s largest butterfly just like that.
It seems it’s not just veteran visitors who can become complacent about getting out and about to discover the best of this island.
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