Are we “a-clue-istic”? | 22 February 2020
Now an international pastor, in one of his amazing speeches, stated: “Someone who is a-clue-istic means someone having no clue and if you try to find this word in the dictionary that means you, as the reader, don't either.” (Matt Goran)
Now we keep saying that Seychelles is a luxury destination. I would say price, flora and fauna- wise, definitely, and maybe we can argue that we are still one of the safest where crime rate is concerned?
But shouldn't we thrive to brand the Seychelles as a luxury “all round life time experience”?
Now a short visit to Praslin is always a treasure for “moi, a true rare treat”. Peace away from the stresses of Mahé, no traffic jam, no noise and the humble list goes on. A simple delectably uplifting and rejuvenating bliss. So you will understand how over the moon I was when I was told “Praslin here we come”! I must say, however, my happy bubble was soon burst once we got to the airport to find that our so called “customer services” has gone down the drains flamboyantly with fashion. At the check-in (Mahé), there was no “good morning”, “welcome”, not even a smile nor direct eye contact. Maybe it was too early in the morning? (we were booked on the 06h00 flight). There were four staff, struggling, reluctant representatives of our “National Airline”? With no security questions asked and sadly no “we hope that you enjoy your trip with us” or at least “we wish you a safe flight”. Nothing. The end product of no competition. The security, were professional hands down and wished us a safe flight, ironically. Boarding procedures had another standard which I could not recognise. My hopes that at least one would dare to be different with commendable at the front line work ethics, were just crushed to pieces once more. No smile, no “we would like your attention while we play the security video” and while we were ushered out of the door, no comments, no eye contact, no smile, nothing. Boarded, staff swiftly did a head count and was gone. Not caring to advise passengers that their hand bags should be placed under seat while they held it on their lap in plain view. No “wishing you a safe flight”. The pilot made his announcement and I couldn't make head or tail of that either, really sad. Took off, landed on Praslin, with no “ladies and gentlemen welcome to Praslin” announcement which I thought was the norm irrespective if it is an inter island flight, and once again the little glimpse of hope I was hanging on to just disappeared to oblivion. Once the plane came to a complete standstill, the pilot simply swiftly turned around facing the passengers and said “thank you”, but he did smile briefly. Now what is going on? Why don't we understand that when we are in the “service industry” we are inevitably ambassadors of the company we work for and moreover, that of Seychelles. Where is the “proud to be Seychellois” mojo? Now park politics aside and let's be honest. Let's stop using excuses to explain what makes some of us seem to be the most sour bunch, ruin it for the hard working few, when we actually boast that tourism is one of our major source of income. Where does the sustainability fit in? What are we trying to sustain really and where have we set the bar at? Where is the human proud to be of servitude essence?
Now reading this first part you will be gritting your teeth either because you feel that there is a need of a shake up or because you simply don't agree. A-clue-istic?
Welcome to Praslin!
Once I got my bag from the conveyor belt I felt so beaten with sheer despair and anger, watching the tourists just pulling their bag towards the unknown. I just thought to myself, how pathetic and sad is it that some of our front line staff have become so complacent and soul less! If they can't be bothered that the power they hold could make an everlasting magical one of a kind impression which would get someone just to come back for more, they should not have the job in the first place.
Then the magic unravelled and I simply thought to myself “let there be hope”!!
We were welcomed by the most dynamic smiley young couple I've ever had the honour to make the acquaintance of, namely Nadia and Romano from La Pirogue. A gem of a couple oozing with passion for their work and who simply understand that a customer is for keeps and not for reaps. After a warm, professional and most amazing welcome, briefing, inspection of the car, we were given the key and off we drove.
We went to a new guest house, “Stone”, a name which I found most peculiar as I simply couldn't see the relation that the name had with the “architectural representation” which embraces the inside of the wall of the establishment at the side road entrance. We were greeted by Antonio Stravens, the proud owner of Stone which comprises different sized apartments. I simply had to find out about the structure which looms majestically, sprouting water and dazing with a mysterious light. It was revealed that the plot of land had lots of rocks initially and also that he had to overcome a lot of hurdles to make his project come to reality. Barely operational for 2 ½ months even he had a more than just a healthy occupation rate. Amazing experience, amazing welcoming and always at reach staff ! Totally peaceful with all amenities as could ever be required. Now this was an experience of a lifetime !
Drove to Villa de Mer at Amitié for an early breakfast and there we were greeted by Shirin Lablache in the restaurant. A simply beautiful petite ever so smiley waitress which made me feel that the trip was so much worth it! Meeting selfless people is such an honour and even more so when they are just naturally pleasant and sincerely welcoming ! A true gem for the hotel !
Ended up at the Pension Fund Complex and became desperately conscious that I really needed to use the ladies. I saw a lady pass by with a bucket and some cleaning stuff and I simply had to ask her for help as I had found that all the doors with the toilet signs were locked. She then explained that the toilets were for the staff on that floor only but that she had the key and was about to clean them anyway. On that note she kindly let me in. Now, that was the 4th act of kindness of the day and with a smile she ushered me on and I left so elated. Now some of you might think that this is ridiculous but for me it was more than just an act of kindness. This was true customer service, with a big splash of empathy at it's best! She didn't know me for Adam but offered her help regardless.
At that time, I thought to myself that I had had my expectations already exceeded to the max and come what may but this was going to be the best weekend ever. For lunch we stopped at “Le Cafe de Celiska” at Anse Consolation. I was intrigued by the name and I remembered seeing the construction going on the last time I had come to Praslin. We were greeted by John Charles, a waiter who just put another meaning to the term customer delight. With a humble but professional demeanour, flaunting a posture with a classy presence and sporting a beaming sincere smile. A waiter with an incontestable flair and difference.
The history of the restaurant is also quite original and they serve the best fresh lime juice ever !
After a ride around the island, a few stops here and there sightseeing, the evening slowly conquered daylight, and it was time to turn in.
Next day we had lunch at Ile de Palme, a scrumptious seafood platter which we shared. We always go back for the seafood platter at Ile de Palme, whenever we can, which we consider a well deserved treat, as it is simply the best we've had to savour till now! The best deal price wise, spiced up with a touch of aromatic flavours, succulent and all cooked to perfection, with outstanding service to top it up. There is no other place I feel more welcomed and at peace. The perfect place to end the short holiday with renewed inner peaceful magic to fuel our strenuous days awaiting us back on Mahé, until we get the chance to go back again.
For the return, got to the airport and we were greeted with smiles from behind the counter. Friendly HM Praslin staff which made a humongous difference. For boarding we were greeted by Stephy, a smiley staff who I have never met before, with no chip on the shoulder, and who welcomed, greeted passengers, smiled and said the magic words “have a nice flight”! I just had to thank her wholeheartedly and just forwarded the remark “thank you so much for your professional service Stephy and keep up the excellent work”. I only got to know her name by her badge. She seemed to be so touched and simply blushed, smiling with all her might! Now that was rewarding.
They are really doing something right on Praslin... Thumbs up Praslinois !
I must agree that there are quite some sparkling jewels on Mahé too but they are more scattered... And I was quite moved when I made the acquaintance of the few we gave the “Customer Delight, beyond the call of duty” award to in November 2019.
Can’t wait to discover more of them at their best! I shall not rest...
Contributed by Eleonore Scharfenberg