28th Dec. No idea what day of the week or whatnot. Fuerteventura

This entire day was a mistake. There is nothing good to say in this post. If you like your blog posts light and cheery, skip this one.

The day started badly when my breakfast arrived 53 minutes late. And not once in all the telephone calls during that delay period did anyone actually APOLOGISE. It’s on its way, madam. Well, no, it apparently is not. We won’t do this again. You had better bloody not. But that doesn’t excuse your behaviour this morning. You lied to me, TWICE, about it being prepared and on its way.

Hardly helps you start the day on a positive note.

21 in the shade but grey and overcast. Wore shorts. No breeze to speak of.

There were signs by the gangway saying that there was a shuttle bus to the port gate for the less mobile. Lovely. No, there wasn’t. So we walked the entire length of the ship anyway. Again with the Excellent Start to the day.

At the port gate, there was a shuttle into town, which we took. We went round the one-way system (dual carriageway along the beach as usual in Spain and Portugal) and ended up almost back where we started! The guide (from Nottingham) said the shopping centre we had asked about was “Just up there on the left – about a hundred yards”. Up being the operative word because this is a VERY hilly place. Think Madeira but with no consideration for disabled. No dipped kerbs, no taxis, no pavements at all in many places. Spiffing.

We tried to get a taxi for about half an hour to no avail, so we set of to climb the “short hill” (100 yards, remember?) ourselves. And, at the top: no shopping centre. Another road. With some buskers playing free jazz, and two or three stalls selling homemade jewellery. I asked one of the stallholders where the centre was. She pointed up the next turning and said…”Just up there on the left”. Ah, okay. So nearly there but not quite. Fair enough. So up we went.

Was it there? Nope. Let’s not waste any more of my time typing this. It was nearly a mile and virtually straight up of nearly half a dozen “Just up there on the left”s. The last bit, mum sat on the walker and I pushed her up, with dad leaning on/pushing me. This place is a dump and the locals will lie to you if you ask them a simple question. At no point, until we finally asked someone we bumped into off the Ventura, was it EVER just up there on the left.

When we got there, dad felt quite ill (unsurprisingly), so I had to sit him down and find him an orange juice. The slightly psychotic girl at the orange juice stall said I couldn’t buy him a drink because he was sitting on the wrong coloured chair. A very reasonable gentleman translated for me that if he died while I was arguing with her, I would get very angry indeed, and we got an orange juice. She seemed to think it entirely reasonable to charge me four quid for it, but I wasn’t going to waste any further calories arguing with her. I’m sure the Universe will take care of her in its own good time.

When dad felt better, we pootled a few shops and then we tried to get the lift to another floor. I will have to bow to the knowledge of those more familiar with Canarian mechanics, but this lift was even more psychotic than the orange juice girl. Firstly, it ignored calls and only stopped as and when it felt like it. Furthermore, it didn’t always feel like opening its doors, even when it was at a floor that someone might find of use. It shot past our floor several times, before it could be persuaded to open its doors and let us in. Then, it didn’t matter what buttons you pushed, it went to whatever floor it felt like. We wanted to go from 1 to 3. We visited 3 (but the doors didn’t open), Parking -1, 0, 2, and 1 (where we started) before it finally cottoned on that it hadn’t tried 3 in a while, so it took us there AND let us out. Ludicrous. And not ideal for someone still recovering from a long-standing fear of lifts…

Then we went to Burger King for my gluten free burger for lunch. The queue was immense and they were NOT coping! Turns out that ordering a hamburger without cheese here means without ANYTHING. Just meat and bun. No sauces, no pickle no nothing. So we got through a LOT of ketchup satchets to make it edible! On the plus side, saying without gluten gets you a bigger burger and a bigger bun than the normal bods get (but still no sauce or pickle). Mind you, you do have to wait about six weeks for it to be cooked, because the server will have long since forgotten you exist. I enjoyed it when it finally arrived, but then again, I was on the verge of considering the table itself tasty by that time.

So a few more fruitless shopping attempts later, we went back to the ship. There was a taxi sat outside the centre and the driver knew the bloke on the port security gate (I think he said he was his cousin), so we got to bypass it and got driven right to the foot of the gangway. Now, THAT’s service!

That last good moment aside, we are Never coming here again. Never ever ever. This place is a dump. I wouldn’t come here if it was last place on God’s green Earth. This place is a nightmarish hellhole of epic proportions. I will never EVER set foot on this rock again. If you’re disabled, don’t bother. They don’t care about you and they won’t help you, even if you ask for help. I don’t think I have ever met a more disinterested and unhelpful populace in all my born days. As long as you have Euros visible in your hand, they will talk to you, but beyond that? Heaven help you. They would rather lie to your face than say anything helpful or kind.

Mum felt ill/worn out so she didn’t come to dinner. We all overdid it and we were all pretty shattered. Dad and I took her back some food and she ate some of it, but she seemed a bit wheezy. Dad and I did some Sudoku and we agreed to talk in the morning and see how things were.

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