I see this blog as a kind of diary more than anything else, especially now that I’ve studied lots of other blogs, and have a better idea of what I do or don’t want to do with it. It’s read by some very old friends of very long standing (who’ve known me longer than anyone),who are probably the only people who are interested in my ramblings.
A lot of what I write is about life on Tenerife, “my” island home, but this isn’t a piece of journalism, nor is it a guide to the island (see my links for some excellent examples of those if you need them). So, I logged on this morning thinking I had nothing to write about. Last week was a very ordinary week, other than the Blues night in Lavabar, I didn’t take in any shows, or feasts or fiestas, (I’ve been a bit lazy, to be honest, it wasn’t that there was nothing on offer), but then, I thought, “……but isn’t that the essence of what I want to do here? Simply record an ordinary (to me) life, which isn’t, necessarily, ordinary to others who live in cultures and climates and continents far removed. Even good friends with whom I share a past or mutual interests or a common language, live lives very different to mine. I suppose that’s why blogging appeals to us so much. We really are fascinated by different lives, and places, and cultures, and by what connects and what separates us, and I suppose this is one reason for me, personally, that I don’t live in the country in which I was born and raised.
The trend is for travel blogs to become more like travel guides or books. I love both, my favorite reading without a doubt, but I like blogs because I’ve been able to follow the journeys of people to whom I’ve been drawn. A blog for me is a journey (life or literally), and being able to travel with the person who writes. This is one reason for liking this travel blog and also this one so much! OK – it’s also because the writing and the photos are great, but I like the feel of logging on, and wondering if the authors have posted about where they are now, and what it’s like, sharing thier adventure a bit.
So, for the record, here is my ordinary, unexciting week, which, possibly, someone living on another planet might find some interest in.
The default weather condition here in El Médano, as anyone who knows me knows, is W-I-N-D-Y, as in, always a stiff breeze, and often, just where I live here, meeting the wind head on and having to lean into it to walk without being blown backwards. I am sure the corner of this road is the windiest place in a windy town. So when Monday dawned as calm as the calmest day in the Doldrums it must have been really bad news for the international kiteboarders who had gathered for the Tenerife leg of the circuit, and when it continued into Tuesday it must have been downright depressing. I imagine this happens, though. I imagine the whole kiteboarding circus rolls into a town and the winds drop, and they say “sod’s law” , “here we go again”, or something, and break open the beers, take the chance to chill and mull over past triumphs and adventures (and, my god, must they have plenty!)
After a really boring and unsociable Monday the plan for Tuesday was to meet a friend on the beach in Los Cristianos and then have an early dinner. However, dinner turned into lunch, and we never actually made it onto the beach, although we did sit and watch other people on the beach, whilst eating huge ice creams……Puh-leeze do not ask about the diet!
The main beach in Los Cristianos seems very drab these days after living in El Médano. The users seem lethargic in comparison, and it lacks color somehow – could be all those superdrab sand-colored sunbeds? There was a time, years ago, when I used to love going down there in the summer, the beach was full of people doing things, beach volley was huge for instance, now there is only one court (is that the right word?) , and the place seems full of elderly people who just want to stroll or bake.
There is one seriously good reason for going to Los Cristianos beach, though, and that is the bar El Ciné, which, although it is hidden away behind the Bahia Bar/Restaurant which fronts the beach, remains the place to eat, as all locals know. Literally, the queues both lunchtimes and evenings stretch a long way, if you don’t get there early. Other nearby bars and restaurants are almost empty…….Don’t ya think, duh, that they’d try to figure out how Carlos, the owner, does it??? He has, in fact, been there as long as any of us can remember, and his secret is that everything is very, very basic and simple, but fresh, fresh, fresh. The tables and chairs are bog-standard plastic, the menu is very limited (I arrived early and there wasn’t even anything on the menu I could pick at whilst waiting), there is nothing fancy, the only alternative to fish or basic seafoods is chicken wings, the sauces (mojos) come in plastic bottles on the tables, instead of being served in little dishes. Ann and I both had sardines and salad. The salad was the simplest imaginable, just tomatoes and onion, but so tasty anything else would have spoiled it, and the sardines, were fresh and sweet and wonderful. Had you seen the queue Tuesday lunchtime at around 2pm when we left you would have felt compelled to give it a try. Why, on earth when there are so many empty tables at other restaurants, would people queue to eat at El Ciné you would wonder. Your average tourist, passing by, would maybe miss it, hidden as it is, but it is a magnet for local workers (including fishermen, so how much of a recommendation is that??), and people “in the know”, as well as the odd tourist who stumbles upon it and is looking for genuine, local fare – they usually come back night after night.
After lunch we sat, in best old-lady tourist tradition, and licked at ice creams from Via Via, an heladeria a bit further down the main part of the beach, their single cones for €1.60 are larger than the doubles in most places, and their chocolate mousse is to DIE for! So now you understand why we didn’t swim – we would, most definitely have sunk!……..could have done with a dip to get the sticky sardine smell and ice cream sweetness off my fingers though!
Sometime Wednesday the winds blew up and the kiteboarding began in ernest, which was fine for them, for the rest of us it was a glimpse of hell, the winds were hot, calima clouded mountains and horizons, and we sizzled until Friday evening they began to tail off and leave us with our quite normal, glorious, sunny August weather :=)
Thursday, I had something towards the other end of the dining experience, the marvellous Japanese/Chinese inspired dishes from Dim Sum in La Caleta. This is the latest venture from the Teppanyaki/Bianco chain, it opened only a few months ago and has been an instant hit, so much so, that one of the owners, and locally-well-known frontman, Rob, tells us that no advertising has been necessary! And this in the midst of the worst recession the world has ever known. Doesn’t that speak volumes for the quality of the place??
Here I go again – variety, you see, whether it’s culture, food or people, this place is a genuine melting pot. Strolling into the town center in the evening last week became even more fascinating than usual. You could sense the excitment in the air the competitors and their fans had brought, mixing with the the hoards of people down from the north for the week, kids building sandcastles, even in the dark, and El Médano’s own amateur talent show going on in the the town square, quite unlike the sedate strolling or feet-scrapping slopping about which had been the vibe in Los Cristianos earlier.
Other “average” kind of things? Well, Friday around 1 am night I spent an hour lying on a sunbed on the roof terrace, sheilding my eyes from the light pollution, which was more than I thought it was, hoping for a glimpse of a shooting star. I saw one, and it wasn’t as thrilling as some I’ve seen here, where the night skies are quite extraordinary. For one thing you can almost always actually see the sky, and despite the pollution there was, I could still make out millions and millions of pinpricks that were stars, as well as seeing the closest stars and planets shining like beacons. The place to have gone, really, would have been up into the mountains away from the pollution, but, as mentioned, I’ve been in lazy mood. Even so, it was a wonderfully calming and spiritual experience, but for sure, I won’t be so lazy next time, lesson learned.