A – Z participant

It’s almost April, everybody!

Do you what it means? It’s time for A-Z blog challenge!

I discovered A-Z blog challenge last year and I fell in love with it as I did with NaNoWriMo before.

For those who don’t know what it is, I’ll give a brief recap! A-Z challenge asks you to write twenty-six posts in a month, each one of them corresponding to an alphabet letter! You might rest on Sundays! The post can be random or you can give them a theme, but the most important thing is to have fun!

It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, new writers and make your blog known in the blogosphere. Also, it is a good excuse to be left alone one for once and being able to write more. I mean, if we add this to November, it’s just two months in a year I can ask for a very strict writing routine!

Last year I decided to interview my characters and it was very funny. I created a few new ones, whenever I didn’t have the letters covered.

I promised I would use them sooner or later and I will, I just didn’t have time or place to do it so far.

If you want to know more about this great initiative you can press the following link.

For the moment I’m a participant and the theme of this year will be Places of Sonrisa.
I decided to describe one place of my fantasy world for every letter. Also I tried to jot down an acceptable picture of each one of them.

I hope you enjoy them! And happy challenge!

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Paddy’s gone!

And another festival has passed away and I can proudly say that I’m still alive! At least I’m in better condition that I thought I would be!

As you can imagine from the publishing date of this post it took me a while to get into the routine again, but I managed to write my words down! Also I think that a Franny’s news post is in order at this stage!

Let’s go back to the post and, before I say anything else, let me impress you with the figures.

A festival was held in my workplace from the 14th to the 17th of March and we counted over all the four days 24.790 visitors.

There is no mistake, I really mean twentyfour thousand seven hundred and ninety visitors.

I have to say I was pretty lucky this year because I worked only two days out of four, Saturday and Sunday, which were actually the busiest: we had 7.255 visitors on Saturday and 8.557 on Sunday.

I’d say, with a pinch of regret, that this is the end of my luck, as this year I wasn’t at the core of the action, the entrance door, but back to the second line, the audio guides. It wasn’t that busy and hence not that fun. Also the way they built the new desk prevents you to see the atrium and so the thousands of people flowing into the place.  

This explains why I have only one post for you this year. Although we weren’t that busy, I couldn’t go around as I wanted. The best I could do was staying outside the little office to taste some of the atmosphere for a few minutes.

And let’s try to put some order.

Saturday

I was scheduled in the opening shift at 7.30 and the first customers started to arrive at 8.30. (We open 9.30)

At 8.45 I saw the first group of girls sat at the beginning of the queue waiting for the tills to be opened.

At 9.15 there were already 20 customers waiting for the place to be open. Some of them bought the ticket at the credit card machines and tried to get in before the opening time.

I wonder, why they cannot wait, why? They’re on holiday! And most of all, on the program we specified that the festival wouldn’t start before 12, so why bother to be in so early?

And when you thought that the entrance couldn’t be more jammed anyway before the opening time, a huge group came in and of course everybody needed the toilets.

Dear tourists, toilets in museums aren’t the Tardis, they’re not bigger inside. There are 4 stalls, and if you put 50 people there all together they’re not going come out so soon.

At the same time the phone was ringing continuously.

Ok, you can say that it was a busy day but it’s my job and I should do it. I know, but sometimes all I would ask would be a pinch, not much, just a pinch of common sense. If you see me on the phone, you don’t talk to me anyway to know information about the tour. And you, third person, if you see me talking at the phone and trying to gesture the idiot talking to me to wait one second, don’t start talking. But you do, because you’re the tour guide, you’re the master of the universe!

You see, writing down all these things I realize that this kind of episodes happen in my workplace all the time, but in occasion like the festival they present more often in just one day.

After I joined my mini team in audio guides I realized that I could relax for a few minutes, and at least for that day we didn’t have almost any waiting queue at all. An American gentleman came over and asked “Do you usually have line here?”

No, we usually use this queuing layout for fun…but you cannot be ironic! So you just smile like an idiot and you let it go!

One of the most frequent episodes was:

Customer: “Audioguide in Italian!”

Me: “Oh ciao! Di dove siete!” (Which part of Italy you’re from?)

C: “Italiani”

M: “Fino lì c’ero arrivata” (I got that bit!)

But even after that some of them tried to speak English anyway.

As I said the fun was at the entrance door. At 13.30 there were two queues outside, one for paying visitors and the other one for bookings online.

At 14.15 there were already 4.260 people in.

At 15.50 they started to slow down the flow of people coming in.

Of course, you are in a nice position because you don’t have to queue but you cannot help to think of the reason why so many people are doing that. So I had a sentence I fidgeted in my head with:

“Keep queuing, you’re doing well!”

Needless to say we couldn’t tell to anybody.

At almost the end of the shift I was very tired anyway and going to the toilet I almost hit with the door a few customers, who started crying for the surprise.

And coming back from the toilet the karma got its revenge. A stag garbed in a green short dress, fishnet stockings and tall leprechaun hat run after me because he wanted a hug. Since it was the only way to get rid of him, I more patted him on the back and I ran away…but he was happy anyway…and very drunk!

 

Sunday

It was much busier and so I don’t have almost anything to tell you but a couple of things.

First of all I want to show you the picture I took of the audio guides ready to go for the day…they didn’t last long that way. That day the queue was long.

 2014-03-16 10.58.09

We offer audio guides in six languages and if you speak English you don’t need it.  But as you can imagine tourists don’t read signs, any kind of sign, even if this means life or death.

So as usual the most common situation was wasting time to explain people why they don’t need them.

A part from the usual “Ah, do you have in American English?”, “But I speak Canadian” and so forth the best was the following (alas, not so uncommon like you may hope)

“Can we have the audio guides in English, please?”

“No, you actually don’t need them, as they’re translators for non-English speakers”

“So what do we need?”

“Well you have posters and videos all the way through, the audio guides don’t add anything to that”

“So how do we do the tour?”

“You read the posters and you watch the videos and you start over there!” I say pointing to the huge neon white “Start” sign.

“So we don’t need it?”

“…”

Eventually they left…and right on time otherwise I would have abandoned my manners.

When I left at 17.30 there were 8.000 people in and you know the final numbers.

I know that this post isn’t exciting like the past three ones but as I said the conditions were different.

Waiting for the time and the strength to write my Franny’s new I leave you with a virtual hug.

Pre-Paddy’s!

And we’re in March again, ladies and gentlemen! And as aficionados of my blog do you remember what it means right?

 

 

I love Care Bears and thanks for whomever did this!

Yes, Paddy’s day!

How do I prepare for the event?

Oh well, you know me, gathering make up, nail polish and green wig, tops with all the typical Irish mottos…

No, nothing of the sort. I’m not a big of fan of fashion but I’d prefer it at the moment!

Do you know what this is?

 

It’s one of the girders composing the structure of the building I work in! Yes, on Saturday the 15th and on Sunday the 16th I’ll be in the first line to welcome the thousands of customers who’ll visit the museum next to the factory of the most famous stout.

You might say: Franny but Paddy’s is on the 17th! Aren’t you a bit exaggerating this?

If you don’t believe me, check the numbers in this post, and this and also this.

These are testimonials of my experience from last year. As you can see St Patrick’s day is the quietest!

Of course I’m trying to prepare better for the war this time and I’m setting a menu, and cutting salad ingredients, fruit and veggies in advance in order to leave the level of meal preparation at minimum in the following days.

Of course last chance will be calling the take away but I’m still trying to do my best to stick to the diet.

I cannot promise you that my future posts on the weekend will be funny like the past three, because I was assigned to another area, where the exposure to the weird is at its minimum…well, kind of.

But you also know that everything can change last minute and most of all, considered I’m working with customers (and remember, tourists!) everything is possible!

So I’ll leave you for the moment! I hope I’ll survive! And I hope you’ll enjoy the celebration wherever you are!!!

Thanks, Mr.Card!

As I previously mentioned in my posts, I’m studying one of the books by Orson Scott Card, How to write Science fiction & Fantasy.

Although I’ve never read one of his stories, I know him by name and I’m aware that he’s a very good storyteller! I have to say that I feel indirectly flattered by what he writes in this particular book. I know it might sound mental, but at the same time it’s astonishing for me finding out that I’m doing already or I’m planning to do what he suggests in his book in order to write good stories.

Hey, I told to myself, then it might be that with an awful lot of work you might come out with something good sooner or later!

I’m sure I’m going to try to read at least a couple of his books, but for the moment I leave you with a quote from this particular one, which made me feel very proud, as I’m struggling to find time to do exactly how he suggests.  

 

“In creating the strange milieu in which you story takes place, you must first understand as well as you possibly can the familiar milieu in which your own life is taking place. Until you have examined and comprehended the world around you, you can’t possibly create a complex and believable imaginary world.

Indeed, one of the greatest values of speculative fiction is that creating a strange imaginary world is often the best way to help readers to see the real world through fresh eyes and notice things that would otherwise remain unnoticed. Speculative fiction is not an escape from the real world, and writing it is not a way to have a literary career without having to research anything! Speculative fiction instead provides a lens thought which to view the real world better than it could ever be seen with the natural eye.

In other words: you can’t know too much”

 

Speaking of researching and learning!