Palma de Mallorca - first Stop in my Tourism Career
Photo: An (almost) innocent kid in Palma de Mallorca - July 1980
Why am I in the tourism industry? Because I wanted to go to Italy when I was very young. University-entrance diploma, language school, apprenticeship and working in steel exports - I felt ready for a change and applied with TUI, Europe`s largest tour operator, as hotel representative. Since I spoke rather well Italian, I was convinced they would send me to Italy but no - Mallorca! In those days this beautiful Spanish island was called "Putzfraueninsel" in Germany - the island where "the cleaning ladies went for holidays", so my enthusiasm was pretty limited. Finally, I accepted to go and started long-distance studies (which I never finished ... shshshsh) - hoping that TUI would send me to Italy the year after (which did not happen). - I apologize in advance for the bad quality of the images ... but - no digital photos in the 80s.
Photo: That`s how I welcomed the guests at the airport (please don`t comment on the white socks... and the dirty car) - Tunisia, winter 1982/83 (my last season).
Love at first Sight - and Lots of Experiences
I remember that I fell in love with Palma de Mallorca the very first day I saw that beautiful city with one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Spain. I was based in Playa de Palma which is a few km away from the capital city of Mallorca. On my day off, I always went downtown to get lost in the tight alleys of the old town and to eat very sweet cakes in the pastry shops. I loved to escort excursions to "Tito`s Nightclub" where the guests enjoyed an international show programme (many years before, Marlene Dietrich and other famous celebrities had performed there). On the remaining days, I worked hard - welcoming guests at the airport, listening to their complaints in the hotels, escorting adventourous excursions such as a donkey safari (hard-core!) and writing reports for headquarters.
Photo: A very old album ... 80s style! (The lady who enters the wild wild sea so couragiously is my mum)
Learn for Life
Doing that job, you learn a lot about life. There was that poor lady who lost her glass eye in a sink, that heavy gentleman who destroyed the ladder in the pool since he was just too fat. And that nice crowd of guests who always waited for me in a shabby hostel to complain about everything (and they were right). The nice older lady who offered me money for escort services. The young couple who went on a barbecue excursion without having paid - when they returned to the bus, they were completely drunk and I had to convince (better say force) them to sign a credit paper. Oh well! What a good school for a very young and spoiled guy who was aiming at a career as a male model rather than working in tourism. However, I learned Spanish, sold 12 air excursions to Tanger/Morocco to a group of women in one week (commission!!) and got prepared for life. And I decided not to listen to that stupid client who called me "Travolta for the poor" - in 1980, John Travolta was a big star. In those days, the so-called "movida" had just started in Spain - people enjoyed life after the limitations of the Franco regime. And I had lots of fun celebrating with them.
Photo: Yes, in those days people smoked in bars, clubs and restaurants (not me...)!
Going back to Palma de Mallorca
Many years later I will now return to Palma de Mallorca (apart from a quick visit in fall 2014). I cannot wait to experience all the new chic places this city has to offer. I will stroll again through the old town, climb up the hills to Bellver Castle to enjoy the superb view over the bay and taste awesome seafood (not the heavy Mallorquin plates with meat, of course). And - I cannot wait to see a former colleague who I have not met after 1980! A few years ago, we became friends on Facebook. Stay tuned for my blog posts about Palma de Mallorca after April 19.
Photo: My favourite activity during my breaks! Winter season in Gran Canaria - 1981/82.
Ah - and what happened to my career with TUI? After Mallorca, I went to ex-Yugoslavia, Kenya (where I almost accepted a job offer), Gran Canaria and Tunisia before deciding to go back to Germany. And guess what happened - when I had already made that decision I was offered to work a summer season in Italy. It was tough to decline this offer. I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I had accepted. Who knows. Life can be so interesting.
Photo: This was actually in ex Yugoslavia (island of Rab), summer 1981. No idea where this colleague has gone.
Photo: Andalucia/Spain - summer 1984 (I already worked as product manager for another German tour operator)