It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Not to minimize the words of Charles Dickens, but the first line of A Tale of Two Cities most accurately sums up Karen, Isabel, Sabrina and my first 24 hours in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. Boy, have I got a story for you:

On Thursday the 30th of November, Karen, Isabel, Sabrina, and I excitedly arrive at our apartment in Tenerife!! We have an incredible view of the ocean, an amazing pool, and we’re about 200 feet away from the beach. What could possibly go wrong?!

We’re all about to get tucked in to bed when Sabrina discovers white bugs crawling all over the pullout couch. (This is after we had been lounging on the couch for a good hour). We immediately text the woman who manages the apartment who responds, “those are not bed bugs.” We confirm that she is indeed correct, they are not bed bugs, but nevertheless there are some sorts of bugs crawling all throughout our bed. She responds, “they are mole.” (We’re still trying to figure that one out). We call her to tell her we’ll need another place to stay and to see if she has any idea of what hotels still have availability (at this point it’s 2:30 am in the morning). She doesn’t pick up…SMH….I text the man who owns the apartment, but know we have slim luck of him replying as it is 4:30 am his time. Our next course of action is to call to see if we will be getting a refund, as it doesn’t seem the woman who manages the apartment is too willing to do so. informs us that they cannot ensure we will get a refund, but they will help us negotiate. That gives us a little more hope! We call about 10 hotels on the island and none have open rooms. There were a few hotels that we can’t reach via phone, so we figure we should walk to them since they’re only .3 miles away. Thus, at 3:00 am we begin our journey of staying out all night in the streets of Tenerife. Wooh!!

We get to the first hotel that unfortunately informs us it has no openings for that night and is also unsure about their availability the following night. (A super weird thing about the hotels in Tenerife: a lot of them have no idea if they actually have availability because they do their booking through 3rd party websites. So, even when you call the receptionist at a hotel, they have no more idea than you if there are rooms available. That made things…eventful?). But, the guy at the front desk is super nice and willing to help us out, despite the few instances where he refers to himself as “guapo” and “the attractive receptionist”! He prints out the prices of other hotels for us, tells us about a convenience store open 24 hours, and even calls about 5 other hotels to see if they have openings; unfortunately, they don’t.

At this point, we are all pretty discouraged but having an absolute blast reveling in the ridiculousness of it all. We are about to head out to check another hotel when the security guard asks us if we want some coffee. Of course we agree, and we all sit down on the couches of the hotel. We are so tired that we secretly wish they will forget about us, and we can sleep in the lobby for the night…. They don’t: the security guard asked us to leave. But just before stepping out, the receptionist invites us to a pub on Saturday night with him and the security guard. We didn’t think things could get any weirder. Man, oh man, were we wrong.

At about 5:00 am we head out to another hotel, which as you can guess, doesn’t have openings. So, on to the 24-hour convenient store!! On our route there, we realize how crazy beautiful the sky is that night. None of us have seen stars in months, so we are all amazed. We begin singing “You Are My Sunshine” and “My Girl” and just having an incredible time.

Once at the store, Sabs and I got Cheetos puffs, cookies, and nutella. (We thought we deserved it…). There was nowhere to sit, so we head to the benches at the bus stop to munch on our snacks. We know we have to wait to go back to the first hotel until 8 am, when the boss is supposed to arrive for her shift, to check if they have availability for the following two nights. It’s 5:30 am, so we have quite a lot of time to kill.

That’s when the absolute delirium hits. Karen ends up eating her yogurt with a straw and “what are the odds’ing” Sabrina and me to dip our cheetohs in the nutella. We decided we don’t need the “what are the odds” and just dip ‘em in on our own accord. (Wouldn’t super recommend this combo. The cheetohs and nutella cancel each other out, and then a pretty bad after taste hits ya). And then I ended up with cheetoh puffs in my nose. It was all weirdly very fun.

Finally 7:15 am rolls around, and I get a text from the owner of the old apartment that we would be reimbursed!!! We decide we’ll first go drop off the key to our old apartment, and then head to the first hotel to see if they have availability. On our way to the apartment, we walk down about 100 flights of stairs only to realize they led nowhere, so we had to walk all the way back up. We were practically crawling. (Did I mention we were in pajamas this whole time?).

The first signs of daylight!

We arrive at the hotel only to be told that they in fact did not have any openings….Yikes. So, we go back to hotel #2, and, wait for it………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


It was quite the turn of events!! That day at breakfast, I asked everyone if they would have traded that whole experience for a sleep-filled night in our hotel, and we unanimously agreed, “no.” This night was maybe one of my favorites of my entire study abroad experience. And it could only have been that way if I was with as awesome of people as I was.


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