Gran Canaria is the largest of the islands that we are visiting in the Canary Islands group and the fact that it is big was clearly visible on arrival as it has a very large port.  The cruise terminal is located deep inside the port and it is only a matter of just crossing the street and you are in the town. Right on the edge is a shopping Centre; always handy for the crew and it is 5 minutes from the beach if you cut straight through town and over the low hill. Although I say handy for crew members; I have learned by now that foreign shopping centers act as real magnets on our guests and this afternoon I saw quite a few marching through it, looking at the various “Spanish” things for sale. One gentleman was making eyes on a cast iron standing lamp; giving me the vision of him carrying it as hand luggage all the way home on the plane.

This morning most of the trainee’s from the class left and I picked up on my regular activities again; this time teaching the cooks from the kitchen how to search cabins in an emergency and how to deal with crowd control.

Las Palmas has one of the best tourist inventions of the 20th century ———— the big red bus. Wherever my wife and I travel, my one and only stipulation is, if we go there for the first time then I want to go on the Big Red Bus for the sightseeing trip around the town.  In an hour you get a very good idea of what there is and how to get there and then you just stay on and hop off (and later hop back on) until you get where you want to start exploring. I assume that more of the guests have discovered this great invention as the bus company had constantly a bus standing at the entrance of the pier for the Rotterdam, and the bus was full most of the time, including Yours Truly.

Las Palmas (not to confuse with Las Palmas on Mallorca in the Mediterranean) is a nice place but it is clearly visible that it really got a boost in the 1970’s when the package Holidays came about from England, Holland and Germany. Just around the corner from Las Palmas is Playa de Americas which is one big tourist area with little national enclaves of British and Dutch. Sometimes I wonder why you would go on vacation if you are basically going from a Dutch town without sun, to a Dutch town with sun and the rest remains the same.

The other day I held my Holland America Line lecture and that generated a lot of response on the side. It is amazing how many people come back to us because they either worked at HAL for a while a long time ago, or because they had family immigrating with HAL to the new world.  Today I had the privilege to meet a couple of which the gentleman’s Grandfather had come across on the Maas (Later Maasdam I) in 1881. His other grandfather came over on Nieuw Amsterdam in 1911 and his grandmother on the Potsdam in 1912. Basically without Holland America he would have never been living in the USA. Luckily I could fill in a few gaps in the history, mostly the why, behind the ships and that gives a good feeling.

Tomorrow we will be in Arrecife on Lanzarote and I wonder if they have a big red bus there. There will be free transport for the guests if they want to, as the local shopping Centre is laying on a shuttle bus. Maybe our friend of the cast iron lamp will get a 2nd chance to buy one.

The temperature dropped another 2 degrees today and is now down to 21oC / 70oF and that is out of the wind and in the sun. I wonder how cold it will be in Morocco.