I’ve been pretty out of it for a few days now with a chronic tooth infection which has limited my diet, and given me more pain than I could have believed, so I’ve not caught up with a lot of what’s been happening, and I’ve missed quite a bit of fun (**stamping foot and pouting**), but yesterday, pepped up by antibiotics and painkillers I popped down to Las Galletas, a still fairly small fishing village roughly half way between Los Cristianos and El Médano. The occasion was a Crafts Fair, and after the mega-fair in Pinolere in the Summer I was expecting to be disappointed, but quite to the contrary came away very happy. It wasn’t billed as a Christmas Fair, but had that kind of feel about it, or maybe it was just the general mood as the festive season approaches.
My plan was to meet a friend, take a turn around the fair, have a coffee, spend an hour or half hour with some other friends who were coming later, and home to an early night, assuming my tooth would demand it, but I ended up both arriving earlier than intended, and staying later….which obviously indicates that it was very enjoyable.
The first plus was the seascape which greeted me on the short promenade. Some clouds were still hanging around yesterday, after two weeks of stormy weather, but they were making their exit with a grace which put me in mind of Swan Lake, beginning as startling white wisps and banks, they shifted and drifted to leave the sky eventually for a classic sunset.
On to the fair, then. The richness of the island’s traditions and the quality of craftmanship are a testament to the originality and endurance of its people. There were leather workers, and lace makers, crafted candles, carpentry, glassware, jewellery and weavers who made straw into hats and baskets, and barely an item which stank of commercialization of any sort. This fair was “the real thing”, from the replicas of toys of yore to my new friends from the apiary in Aldea Blanca it was all genuinely crafted with skill and love. I asked a man displaying those beautiful knives I mentioned seeing in Pinolere how long it took him to make just the small one, and the answer was two weeks, so carefully and painstakingly are they created.
It was probably a good thing that this Christmas finds me stoney, because I would otherwise have spent a fortune! As it was, I settled for an amazing cinnamon scented candle for my Christmas table, plus some cinnamon crystals to store away with the decorations, so that they smell of Christmas when I take out the box in a year’s time; and I loaded up on cured goats’ cheeses and fennel honey, and a bottle of coffee liquor from the ladies below, which, it seems to be, will be the perfect way to top off the Christmas feast.
I was disappointed that there was only piped music when I arrived around 3 o’clock, which made me glad I stayed later, because the folk singing and dancing in the evening had a lovely community feel to it, especially for the last dance when the group pulled very willing people from the audience for the last waltz. Canarian folk music, like many forms of traditional music is probably an acquired taste, with solos by rich tenor voices, the same sort of sound you get from a Welsh Male Voice Choir in a way, but I never fail to be impressed by the enjoyment of the performers, their commitment to what they do, and the fact there are so many young people, both male and female who are happy to carry on these traditions.
Backpack clinking pleasantly as bottles of honey jostled with the coffee liquor, I made my way back to the car, full of local cheese and homemade bread, as the Christmas lights twinkled around and about, with a little of the bonhomie rubbed off too.
Today, by contrast was a modern tradition, and one which, it has to be said, we wish there was no need for, and that would be the annual Carrera por la Vida, the annual walk from Playa de las Americas to Los Cristianos to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
It wasn’t a day for dwelling on the necessity for the walk, as much as to celebrate having had in our lives those we’ve loved and lost to cancer, and to hope that maybe just one person seeing the parade pass by might learn something which might save their or someone else’s life one day.
It’s a “glamorous” cause compared to some. Women worldwide have labored long and with much imagination to raise awareness, so that it’s hard to believe that there are still women (especially, but it can happen to men too) who don’t know about self-examination or the necessity for mammograms or the urgency of getting to the doctor if they find an abnormality, but it seems that there are. You could hear the comments as we passed by, some people just don’t want to know until it happens to them.
On this island it was also nice to see a thoroughly integrated affair, despite some stumbles from the English anchor, the spirit of co-operation was nice to see, and it would be nice to think that it might extend to other areas, and that more ex-pats might genuinely care for and become involved in the community in which they live.
The Triatlon Team from Adeje who swam the route in an hour and a half in a rough sea. Austin on the left (no apologies for motherly pride!)
Sorry about the quality of these photos, I’ve been having some camera problems over the weekend!
Last but by no means least, (yessss it’s food again!), let me tell you about cinnamon ice cream with dark chocolate sauce, which, you see, requires no chewing so I could indulge on Friday lunchtime. The ice cream rich and solid and so laden with cinnamon I christened it “Christmas on a spoon”, and the sauce so perfectly dark and yet sweet that it made me dream of Inca kings! This is where my week turned on its heel and dismissed the pains and inconveniences, the ice cream having been preceeded by a salad so fresh and with flavors so perfectly blended that we wondered if it even had dressing on it, and a sweet potato stuffed with cod and topped with grated cheese. Such a way to break an unintended fast! Anyone wanting to know where this was will need to submit requests in writing for my approval, because I SO do not want this place to be over-run! Just one clue, which will not surprise many, it ain’t in the south!