Friday, 28 March 1997

Canaries with Attitude

My travels and other animals, a brief account of a holiday unbounded

Afternoon, Friday 28 March 1997
Medano, Tenerife

Well, here we are, halfway home almost! It is nearer in time, but a little less in distance, about one thousand miles less. We managed to get the Jetfoil this morning despite less than four hours sleep. Last night was an excellent last night in Gran Canaria, just as we wanted.

We started at the ‘Happy Cockerel’ restaurant, which looked foul from the outside. All of it’s menus were in English, Dutch, German, Spanish (I wonder why), and two others but not French. It sounded good! I chose what looked to be a good wine, Seniros de Prayda, Reserva 81, and it was. It had musty flavour with a deep brown outlook. Started with eel and scrambled egg on toast, which was like a cross between salmon and sardines, only a bit tougher, but very good. Christian and Nicolette had asparagus soup, which pleased them by all accounts. I followed this by a delicious peppered steak, very tender, melt in the mouth affair.

After the food we headed back into town to, beyond all belief, an Irish theme pub. All the normal crowd were there, and Christian started on the ‘Vodka y Tonica’ whilst I got on the Dorada which was served, rather bizzarely, in pint glasses. This means it feels to big to hold and if you knock them over they lose all their contents, unlike a bottle. We finally headed to bed at about two o’clock with alarms set for half past six, definitely not to be missed.

Half past six rang, and it was in the middle of the night. It definitely was not the time to get up. I struggled out of bed and headed for the toilet only to find Christian had struggled a bit harder and faster. We did the final packing and said good-bye to Nicolette and went outside to get a taxi, by which time it was pretty much light. We got to the Jetfoil port just before Seven and booked our bags in, rather than carry them on board as we had done previously. As we waited in the lounge, the sun edged over the horizon from across the sea, almost the opposite of yesterday evening.

We boarded the Jetfoil and fell into a fitful dozing sleep, not really very good rest. Arrival in Santa Cruz occurred promptly at Nine o’clock after what felt like endless sea. It was very hot and sunny for that time in the morning. We walked to the main road and found a bus stop right next to the port. Ah, not like England!

Whilst we were trying to check out which bus to catch to Medano, a bus arrived. Searching got a bit more frantic, until a helpful couple just said get on this Urbain bus the bus station, then get a InterUrbain bus from there. The cost was minimal again and we had a joyful coffee at the bus station waiting for the main bus at Ten o’clock. We got to doing things and only remembered we had to get the bus at five to ten.

The journey down the dual carraigeway took an hour only. The bus drives straight down the dual carraigeway without turning off into all the villages on the way. It does, however, stop on the hard shoulder, at the junction that goes to each village. Soon into the journey we found out why there were so many free seats on the left hand side, the south side, the sunny side. As we baked, we justified ourselves by saying it was the last day in sunnier climes.

After an hour the bus turned off at the Medano junction and stopped at the top of Gemma’s street, what convenience. We had come over a hundred miles by public transport, over half of which was across the sea, in four trips, in just over four hours, walking no more than one to two hundred yards. This must be some super subsidized transport system that is horribly expensive to the taxpayer, not like the wonderful super economic British system, that would involve a high spend from the individual and a high degree of commitment to get to and from the central ‘supportable’ transport area.

Unfortunately nobody was at home when we rang the bell s we wandered through Medano to Frank, who we’d hoped would be working in the surf shop. The locals watched us with a disinterested gaze, possibly noting our slightly different but definitely still tourist look. We did find Frank at the surf shop and he gave us the keys. We wandered back through Medano to the apartment, with the locals managing to raise their level of interest about an iota. We stored our stuff and went shopping for cheap booze. Not much success, all the booze is cheaper than duty-free, but it is all absolutely dire. Sparkling wine for seventy pence, whisky for about four pounds, but anything recognizable was about half English prices and nothing I would buy. We settled for the wine which was goodish and not exactly what I was looking for, never mind.

We stashed the wine and wandered back through Medano to give the keys back to Frank, the locals managing a wry smile which was hard work. As it was lunchtime we headed for the French place we had been to on our last visit. I had an excellent pancake whilst Christian plumped for the prawn salad, again with orange squeezed on the premises.

After this the beach beckoned, maybe a last day swim, maybe a last chance to burn. The beach was covered in bodies, ah fiesta time in El Medano. We perched on the rocks in the same place as last time and I got on with the job of writing postcards. This was a task and a half as it was twelve postcards and my hand couldn’t write after a week’s break, not to mention the uneven surface I was writing on. We held back from jumping in the water, trying to get settled, which wasn’t the best of ideas. Just as I finished the postcards everybody left the water and the clouds appeared. A few minutes later a kid screamed and shot out of the water, he’d been stung by an octopus. This was the last straw, bad weather was a stopper, but stinging wildlife was a definite turn off.

We head back towards the apartment for just after two o’clock and waited for Gemma, whose shift we’d discovered ended then, on the steps outside the apartment. After an hour we are still waiting, after I’d had a chance to wander around town looking for a postbox, which turned out be yellow.

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