What didn't go quite as I hoped was meeting and talking to people. The first couple of weeks, and especially the first ten days or so, I actively sought out places where people would congregate, in hopes of striking up a conversation – in English. I went to the restaurants, the strand along the sea, and walked the streets (no, not that way) listening for English. Despite the island being a tourist destination, and Arrecife in particular being a cruise ship stop, I heard little English at all. It was mostly Spanish, with German, Italian, and French all mixed in. English was a distant finisher, far out of the money. What little I did hear was tinged British. I haven’t heard an American accent since the airport in Madrid.
To complicate the whole “strike up a conversation” plan, every bar and restaurant I visited had table service only; there were no bars to sidle up to, grab a seat and chat with the bartender and/or the person next to you. I don't know about anyone else, but the act of inserting myself into a conversation at a next table was just too intrusive. Striking up conversations with complete strangers is still minimally outside my comfort zone, but doing so across the gulf of different tables is too much at this point. Besides, I don’t recollect even hearing any English at a next table, so there's that.
I have definitely enjoyed my time here, and the length was just about perfect; I'm ready to move on. Lisbon, you're next. The chance to explore a city with history stretching back over three thousand years sounds wonderful regardless of whether or not there is someone to talk to. Who knows, with two million people in the metro area, I may find just encounter one. If not, I'm sure the voices in my head will continue to suffice. They've been up to the task so far.