After our disastrous attempt to show Sue the best of the Anagas, a day of R&R was in order, so we headed along the coast from La Paz, through the banana plantations, to the beautiful black sand beach at Bollullo, hidden in the folds of the cliffs.
It’s popular with locals; however, as the only way to reach it is by a thirty minute trek across the cliffs, or by a single track road most visitors never get there.
After a cold beer and some tapas at the little beach bar, we headed onto the black sands for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Whilst we’d been quaffing our beers we’d noticed that, despite it being Sunday when all beaches are packed to capacity, nobody was sunbathing at the back of the beach; everyone was squeezed onto the darker sand near the shoreline. We didn’t really think anything of this; the Spanish aren’t the greatest of walkers, it’s normal for them to plonk themselves as close to the water as possible. But that wasn’t the reason today. As we walked across the empty black sand, some grains slipped into my flip flops and I discovered why nobody was on this part of the beach, the sand was unbearably hot. It felt as though somebody had just poured hot coals over my feet. I cried out loud (well screamed to be more accurate)at the level of the pain and tried to shake the sand out of my sandals, causing a landslide which engulfed my other foot in what I can only describe as molten lava.
It was like walking barefoot on a hot plate and from that point I yelped and hopped, making John Cleese’ ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ seem mundane, until we reached a darker and therefore in theory, cooler patch of sand amidst the other sunbathing victims trapped at the water’s edge.
We threw our sarongs hastily onto the sand and lay down hoping to escape the torture of the hot sands.
Sarongs may look like a ‘cooler’ alternative to beach towels, but as protection against searing hot sand they’re useless.
“I thought this was supposed to be relaxing and fun,” grimaced Andy piling a layer of clothing between her and the sand as protection.
I couldn’t answer, I was to busy trying to fit onto a copy of the Guardian; my saviour from scalded buttocks.
Unfortunately as we struggled to avoid being scalded, we didn’t notice the tsunami sized wave that was rushing toward us until the last moment. Just as it reached the edge of my sarong, I spotted it and grabbed the most important items, my camera bag and my clothes; gallantly leaving Andy and Sue to fend for themselves.
I only managed a few yards before the fierceness of the sand stopped me in my tracks and I threw my shorts and T-shirt onto the sand and jumped on to them to try to alleviate the agony in the soles on my feet. Devastation in the form of a line of sodden sarongs was strewn behind me. Andy perched on one clutching her bag and clothes, her bikini top half on, half off (a very classy look – NOT); on another Sue sat holding a rucksack which had transformed itself into a water container. We squatted there for what seemed like an eternity, unable to go forward or back due to the ferocity of the hot sand which surrounded us. Around us some people tried to make it to the top of the beach and the sanctuary of the beach bar. One bloke ran a few feet then dropped to the sand, holding his arms and legs in the air like a dying fly; his swimming shorts his only protection between him and the unforgiving sand. A young girl, one end of her towel between her hands, the other under her feet, shuffled up the beach using her towel as a variation on a Zimmer frame. Suddenly my silly walk onto the beach didn’t seem quite so out of place.
As we squatted on that beach, trying to work out a plan of escape that didn’t involve waiting until it fell dark and the sand cooled, I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who talk about the north of Tenerife as being ‘cold’.
Of course it’s all relative; the north is ‘cooler’ than the south, but this is in sub-tropical terms. In this case the ‘colder’ north was still hotter than the fires of hell.