There was a Martin Scorsese film in the mid 80s where a computer programmer picks up a girl and subsequently experiences quite the maddest and most bizarre New York night. Friends visiting from La Gomera have just lived the Tenerife version.
It started very early yesterday morning with a flickering battery light on La Gomera that Gordo insisted wasn’t a problem.
Switch to mid afternoon somewhere on La Laguna’s back streets and Jo (the friend who we stay with when visiting La Gomera) and her neighbours (from across the other side of the valley) Gordo and Ushi are standing beside a broken down car full of goodies purchased in Leroy Merlin, Decathlon and Al Campo.
The three were on Tenerife to buy skylight windows for Jo’s house and whereas Jo visits Tenerife a lot and knows it well, for Gordo and Ushi it was their first trip north. They’d had an extremely successful shopping trip, purchasing everything they’d been after plus a load more (shopping on La Gomera is limited)…and then the car broke down in the middle of nowhere and the Gomeran trio experienced a true alternative taste of Tenerife.
The Good Samaritan
As they pushed the car to the side of the road a Lagunero stopped and asked if he could help. Gordo told him he thought it was the battery and the Lagunero opened the bonnet of his car and tried to start Gordos car using jump leads, but with no luck. After that he attempted to charge the battery from his and whilst this was going on suggested they decamp to the nearest bar where he insisted on buying the beers.
Unfortunately the battery didn’t recharge and the Lagunero even went as far as removing the battery from his car to check if the battery really was the problem – it wasn’t. The car was kaput and they didn’t know even where they were.
A quick phone call to the insurance company came up with the name of a local Grua who luckily the Lagunero knew. A short time later and the Grua driver – another sweet man according to Jo – had hooked up the car and was on his way to the nearest Ford dealer with Jo and Ushi in the cab, leaving Gordo to phone for a taxi.
Despite telling the local taxi company the name of the street he was on Gordo was unable to make them understand where he was, so he elicited the help of a passer-bye.
“We’re near Bar Tabaiba,” the passer-bye told the taxi company.
“Ah, why didn’t you say so? Now I know where you are,” was the response. “I live on that street.”
Even though he lived on the street, the controller only recognised it by the name of the bar. Brilliant.
A taxi arrived within minutes and they reached the Ford garage at 4.50pm; ten minutes before it was due to shut. A mechanic took a quick look and told Gordo they’d have to check the car out properly in the morning and that they’d phone him back then.
So at 5pm on a Thursday evening Gordo, Ushi and Jo found themselves in deepest industrial La Laguna wondering what to do next.
The Drunken Magician
They decided to catch a taxi to the north airport and hire a car. Seemed logical…except for one small detail. When they got to the airport they discovered that not one of the five hire companies at the airport had a car available.
A decision was made to take refuge in the airport bar and call us. We’d been expecting them at around 6pm and were on the banana road walking the dogs when the plea for help came through.
Twenty Five minutes later I turned up at the airport as Gordo had ordered another beer, including one for me, to find that they had acquired an addition; a quietly drunk magician from Berlin who to me looked more like a business commuter, albeit a slightly scruffy one, than a magician.
As Andy pointed out later what did I expect a magician to be wearing when he was travelling; a cloak with stars on it?
The magician was on his way to Las Vegas via Playa de las Américas and somehow had ended up at the north airport having been robbed of all his money (or had drank it more likely) somewhere else on route. He was so sloshed he couldn’t tell me his name – not a good advert for someone who was supposed to be able to tell your fortune. We finished our beer and left the penniless magician to his fate. When he said a garbled goodbye to Jo he tried to kiss her hand, but was so inebriated that he didn’t manage to actually connect and gave up with a shrug about three inches off target.
As we headed homeward with Mount Teide visible in the clear night sky, the three recounted their day’s experiences. Despite having a mini disaster far from home, they were in great spirits and very philosophical about what had happened. In fact they were overwhelmed with the friendliness and kindness that complete strangers on Tenerife had shown them. The Laguneros had done themselves and Tenerife’s reputation proud. They’d experienced a Tenerife that was muy amable.
As a footnote, at 9.20 this morning Gordo’s phone rang. It was the garage to say that they’d be able to fix the car and Gordo could pick it up later today.
I’ve just deposited them in Puerto de la Cruz . Jo’s going to show them around until they catch the bus to Santa Cruz for another leisurely stroll before it’s time to collect the car and head back to La Gomera full of wondrous tales of adventures on the big island.