We went for a drive yesterday, and ended up in the national park. We parked and went for a walk along the Los Roques trail, and then headed over to the cafeteria which is part of the Parador hotel and the visitor centre. And this is where I get baffled. It was Sunday lunchtime. Several buses had just arrived. We are ahead of the queue at the food counter so I decide to leave the crafts and gifts shop until later. After refusing to pay the extortionate prices for snacks, we ended up with coffee that is now from a machine so has lost all the taste and body it used to have when made by humans. We drank it quickly because it really wasn’t nice, and then I headed over to the shop … which had suddenly closed. There were at least three busloads of tourists heading its way and it closed.
Meanwhile, the loos have a guardian of the keys who demands money before you can enter. Now it is my understanding that all restaurants and cafés must have bathroom facilities, and that they must offer these freely even to those who are not using their establishments. We were using the establishment but still had to pay. OK it’s just 50 cents – there’s no sign but she told my husband that his 40 cents was not enough, and that he must add at least 10 cents more – so is there a fee, or not, and if so, what is it? And, that’s from everyone … busload after busload … for something that should be free.
So, we decided to go to the visitor centre. This had been closed for “reformas” when we were last up there a year or so ago … and we had rolled our eyes because it had already been closed for a year at that point. But no, still closed. What on earth is the point of pretty road signs dotted all around the island’s roads directing them to tourist destinations which are clearly clueless, and have not the first idea about nor interest in how to deal with the tourists who arrive? Get your act together, for heaven’s sake.