He called me into his office, the captain, which usually means you’re fired. He wasn’t going to fire me, he said immediately when I entered, trying to remember my latest and gravest infractions. But he wanted to know why my work-and-rest hours list looked like a Dalmatian. It’s because stuff falls apart, I explained. Well, he assured rather loudly, stuff won’t be falling apart tonight because you and that Draga of yours are going out!
Rounding up that Draga of mine and convincing her that we had to go ashore per Captain’s orders took a while, but at 1900 sharp we marched off, tasting free air for the first time in weeks.
Of course we veered towards the old church called Iglesia de la Concepcion, where we joined a worship service. Then we crossed a noisy shopping street where Draga bought me 18 pair of Nike socks, vowing she would throw my old ones out (But they’re only three years old, I tried. I bought them in Ketchikan! They’re souvenirs!). We turned corners and crossed squares and finally we ended up in the gentle care of senior Julian at his fine eatery called Dorada, had ham and cheese and pizza and grilled fish, and babbled nose to nose about living in a little house somewhere, with a dog and a cat and plants on the window sills. No pagers, no machines that fall apart in the middle of the night.
Rosy and content we headed back to the ship and what I had tried not to dread the whole evening became reality in the cheerful face of Ludin, smiling at me from the top of the gangway.
“No more Freon inside fridges. Storekeeper very angry.”
“What have you done so far?”
“I put more Freon.”
“Only one bottle.”
“You put fifty-seven kilo of R22 in a seventeen-kilo system?”
“Yes, chiep. Shall I put more?”
“No Ludin, let’s continue tomorrow morning,” I say stepping by him as I follow my Draga down the corridor, to our little house with a dog and a cat and flowering plants on all the window sills.
A pleasant pedestrian street in Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Same street, but now viewing in the direction of the Church of the Conception.
From where we sat at Julian’s restaurant Dorada
Julian, a bueno hombre who works at Dorada restaurant
Four cruise ships in a row in the port of Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Quaint enclaves of houses built on the hill slants, Santa Cruz, Tenerife