How to avoid gridlock – Tenerife Style

Posted: May 8, 2008 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After the end of Los Realejos’ Flypa 08 festival on Sunday, we left El Socorro beach and headed back to the car, parked about a kilometre up a steep hill on a semi-circular road which also served as the approach to the main road.
As we drew closer to where we’d parked, we could see that chaos had descended on the area. Cars seemed to be pointing in all directions, bonnets to boots, boots to boots and bonnets to bonnets. A quite incredible feat of engineering had clearly taken place. The upshot being that nobody seemed to be able to manoeuvre anywhere. In the middle of chaos central stood a bewildered policeman. We wandered past and soon found the source of the problem, right next to our car. A large minibus was stuck in between two lines of parked cars, unable to go forward because of a badly parked white Berlingo (what is it about Berlingo drivers?) and unable to reverse because of the trail of cars behind.

A portly, agitated woman blocked my way.
“Do you have a mobile phone?” She asked in Spanish, spoken with a strong German accent.
“Err, yes.”
“Then phone the police,” she demanded.
I pointed to the policeman thirty yards behind us, who had acquired a growing number of advisors.
“I think they might already know about the problem,” I replied, leaving her to her flustering.
It’s interesting the way different nationalities react to the little frustrations living in Tenerife can throw up. The Spanish, shrug heir shoulders and adopt a philosophical approach, whereas the Germans, and to a slightly lesser extent the British, huff and puff and make outraged noises.

The minibus’ manoeuvring was taking it within inches of our Fiat Punto, which although not contributing to the problem, was far too close to the action for my liking. When we’d parked, there’d only been parked cars on one side of the road. Now they lined both sides making progress for anything bigger than…well bigger than a Punto, difficult.

No matter how carefully he eased forward, the mini bus driver couldn’t make enough space for the bus to pass. Then somebody on the bus must have had a brainwave. Its doors hissed open and a group of Canarian men emerged, laughing despite their predicament. They surrounded the Berlingo and with a heave and a minimum of fuss made a much better job of parking it than the owner could ever have managed. Then, just for good measure, they ‘re-arranged’ the position of the car on the other side of the bus as well.

It was simple, but effective and it created enough space for the bus, and the rest of us to continue merrily on our way without the need for calling in the boys in blue.

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