Tenerife must be lying several centimetres lower in the Atlantic at the moment – apparently there’s hardly a spare bed to be had. This is good news for the tourist industry and a much-needed boost to the economy of an island that has more than 35% unemployment.
Not all visitors are welcome, of course. Those who come to swell the membership of foreign gangs of various nationalities are indicative of the downside of tourism. When we go to meet a friend at the airport and find the place crawling with police, we know they have been alerted to the arrival of more criminals.
Although one shouldn’t blame the victims, it is difficult not to when many holiday-makers are so incredibly careless.
Some of them – not always the younger element, I might add - get stupidly drunk and become easy prey for muggers when they stagger back to their hotels in the dark.
Far too many men carry their passports and wads of cash in the back pockets of their shorts instead of using the hotel safe.
Both sexes leave handbags and bum-bags unattended while they swim in the sea.
They buy tablecloths from swarthy women in the street when there are shops that sell them much cheaper, and the tourists often hold their purses so carelessly that the women’s nimble fingers can steal enough money to buy a dozen tablecloths.
One of the criminals’ latest tricks is to stick a piece of paper on the rear window of cars in car-parks. The driver slings handbag, camera and shopping on the back seat and starts to reverse, then sees the paper and gets out to remove it. Before he/she has reached the back of the car the thieves have got in and driven off.
A variation on the car-park theme is to wait until a driver has unlocked the car and put their belongings inside, and then shove a map under their nose and ask for directions. While the driver obligingly looks at the map an accomplice steals anything of value from the car. This actually happened to a friend of mine – her handbag was of no particular value, but she lost her credit card, her cash, her Residencia, her Health card, her prescriptions and her house keys. After a lengthy visit to the Policia she went home via a ferreteria and changed the locks, then set about replacing all her lost paperwork. Her husband suffers from dementia so he forgot about it quickly, but she was traumatised for days.
But don’t let me put you off! Your chances of falling into any of the above traps are the same wherever tourists go, and Tenerife has more sunshine this time of year than the Mediterranean. So come here and enjoy your holiday, but do please be careful.