Voyage, Voyage

Gentil Organisateurs, Club Mediterrannee, Cefalu, Sicily, 1987
Gentil Organisateurs, Club Mediterrannee, Cefalu, Sicily, 1987

Never tried novel writing, but digital snippets of personal lives are certainly quite important to make sense of ones own history, are good for the memory and maybe helpful for others. Today am going to tell you about my life as an animator in 1987.

After leaving school I tried to combine work and holidays by applying with several travel companies. To get knowledge in a third foreign language I used a simple phrasebook, banks were giving away when changing money. Luckily I found a job with Club Méditerranée as a “Gentil Organisateur (GO) Caisse” in a village of huts in Cefalù, Sicily.

During the day I was working in the bank of the club, opening accounts or bank safes, changing money and charging accounts when people bought something in the club with double-entry bookkeeping (client account, carbon paper, bank journal). The first thing people did when arriving at and the last thing before leaving the club, was going to the bank in order to deposit or get back their valuables. Because there were major arrival and departure days the job could be quite stressful.

The two meals a day were served in the open air club restaurant. Since most guests were singles, it only consisted of tables for six people. At every table there was one animator, who had to care about they got to know each other and were entertained.

In the evenings there were changing events all animators were taking part at. Once a week an impressive spectacle done by the whole staff was held in the amphitheater of the club. Since the guests were speaking many different languages the shows were completely nonverbal and consisted of changing acts, costumes, music and light effects. There the popularity of the animators was tracked with the volume of the applause every animator got after the show and discussed later in reunions.

From time to time we had to pick up guests from the airport and to do guided tours in Palermo, assisted by a local guide. Sometimes guests had the craziest wishes like playing tennis at night, personal dancing lessons or private tours.

Of course some private tragedies were occuring as well, but I don’t want to get to personal.

All together an interesting, challenging experience, and certainly one of the coolest jobs I had.

From todays point of view, big data and artificial intelligence may certainly add value to travel experiences, but probably most people prefer personal advice or company, which of course has to be matched somehow with interests or experiences. For example I am often asked by tourists where to eat, despite they have guides and a mobile phone. Many don’t leave their hotel, because they don’t want to go somewhere alone. Many leave their hotel, but are afraid of some things.  Some people don’t even go on holidays. So the major challenge will probably be the situative personal matching.

Club Mediterrannee, Cefalu, Sicily, 1987
Club Mediterrannee, Cefalu, Sicily, 1987

 

 

 

 

 

 

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