For the second consecutive year, the Canary Islands became the summer destination for both of us: lots of sun, friends, nice people, good food, varied landscapes and low cost flights in abundance. This time, we didn’t just stayed in Tenerife, we also visited Gran Canaria Island.
We arrived by cruise. The trip was calm, but Mario gets nauseated easily. I went on the deck to watch the sea around us and Tenerife getting increasingly smaller. It was my first time on a large boat, despite having crossed the Strait of Gibraltar some years ago.
There are 2 carriers that make the route from Tenerife to Gran Canaria: Fred Olsen (that doesn’t dock in the capital and was therefore excluded) and Naviera Armas. The trip cost us €38 each, took two hours and docked in the port of Las Palmas, the capital. By port, I mean just that: one concrete pier, terminals for other boats, corporate deposits and asphalt. They took us by transfer to the city center in 10 minutes at no extra charge.
In Las Palmas we realized the need for a map to guide us and get to the hotel. We asked for a map on the first supermarket we found, but they were €15 which we decided not to spend. Minutes later, in the center of Santa Catalina Square was a tourist office where they gave us a map. For free. Jackpot!
We spent one day and one night in the capital, and contrary to what we expected, the weather was downright awful: gray skies, rain, wind and cold. We stayed at hotel Pujol (in spanish is pronounced Poo-whole) :D.
We left the bags in the room, and headed to the streets.
As two young healthy guys, we’re not afraid to walk, so we always try to move around as much as possible by foot. Is it tiring? Heck yes. But it is the most rewarding way to experience a city. It helps us feel less like tourists.
We visited the historic quarter of Vegueta. There are the Santa Ana’s square and Cathedral, imposing and built in what appeared to be rock from the island, reddish, possibly volcanic in origin. The cathedrals interior is quite dull, and there’s a fee to go in. Don’t bother.
Later on, through long narrow streets we found the house of Columbus, a museum about the relationship between the Canary Island with America through history.
We walked a lot and saw a lot. It drizzled the entire time.
The next day we packed our bags and went to the south of the island to Playa del Ingles, in Maspalomas. The bus trip cost € 6.80.
The Canary Islands have a good public transport system. The buses have very few luxuries, but are always punctual, cheap and all the routes and schedules are available online: http://www.globalsu.net/es/lineas.php
As we approached the destination, it became more evident the increase in hotel units, resorts, condominiums and bungalows. We were clearly in a giant holiday resort for beach tourism.
We arrived to heat and sun. Stopped at the Jumbo Shopping Centre, the Buenos Aires apartments were right there. After the check in, we went up to see the room. We chose a room with kitchenette with pans and some dishes (which helps when you’re on a budget) and a balcony facing south, overlooking the palm trees and the swimming pool where a man on an inflatable mattress floated without moving a limb. We stared at him for a while. He did not move. Not once.
We went for a walk on the neighborhood. By the amount of red tourist prancing around proud of their sunburns, it had been a sunny week. Here in the south there’s no old town or monuments of any sort, but there are lots of shopping centers with Indian and Chinese stores selling refrigerator magnets, perfumes, electronics and pareos.
We dined in Buenos Aires and went to the Jumbo Shopping Centre, next door. It is an old alfresco shopping center, gay friendly, and has a mosque at the entrance. Yep.
We sat in the first crowded bar filled with other tourists, and to our surprise, ended up watching a Spice Girls show. 5 dragqueens in a choreographed show that just filled our hearts with 90’s nostalgia. * IF YOU WANNABE MY LOVA! *
The next day we visited the famous dunes of Playa de Ingles. We had never been surrounded by so much sand. The extent of the dunes was colossal and sand hills blocked the wind and sound. It was quiet and strange. The scenery is quite spectacular, and able to transport us to a desert imagery, vast and wide, like the giant fart that echoed out of the ass of another tourist who thought to be alone.
We crossed the dunes to the beach fearing the bombing would continue. That fart ruined the moment.
Playa del Ingles, was our starting point to the Faro of Maspalomas and Puerto de Mogan.
The area surrounding the Faro is much more refined. All buildings are new and have a more refined architecture. The area is known for hosting high class Eastern European tourists. The walks, terraces and hotel lounges were full of wealthy tourists. But the gold fences can’t always protect you from the conscientious objectors. In the hours we were there, we came across a revolutionary man shouting into his megaphone:
– Down with capitalism coño!
– Capitalist pigs!
Someone was in a bad mood…
From the Faro we went to Puerto de Mogan. The bus ride was right by the sea, in zigzags between rock formations and beautiful landscapes. Every 3 or 4 minutes, from the top of the mountain we saw entire tourist villages, with resorts, private beaches, boats and yachts.
After a while we reached a not very large place within a valley – Puerto de Mogan. A picturesque marina, with some residential houses and small hotels, served by a very tiny beautiful beach. At the marina, the clear water makes the fish and sea urchins visible.
White houses built between water channels contrasted with the strong lilac color of the bougainvillea, that climbed the walls and crossed the streets creating natural porches and shadows that protected us from the strong sun. We had lunch there, on the terrace of a restaurant overlooking the sea and the boats in the marina. It’s an amazing place that is well worth visiting.
After lunch we went to the beach. It was pretty crowded and in the distance, at sea, what looked like a replica of a ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean served alcohol and techno music to tourists.
Late in the afternoon we returned to our hotel and the man of the inflatable mattress was still in the same place. We’re not even kidding. Every single day we stayed at that hotel, the dude was always on the same corner of the pool, floating with the same inflatable mattress, in the same position, with the same bathing shorts.
It’s a weird way to experience new places, and its hard for us to understand that there are people that enjoy that. He should’ve got up and take a look in what the island has to offer. He should’ve slam his body down and zig-a-zig aaah!