Tenerife’s Weather – North or South?

Posted: March 16, 2009 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In the words of the great lizard king himself, Jim Morrison, people are strange. Being British, what the weather is doing is never far away from any topic of conversation. So much so that when talking to non Brits I have to make a concerted effort not to automatically blurt out as an opener.

“What a beautiful day,” or “It’s a cold one today, it’s like Britain in the summer.” (That should give you an idea what a cold one here amounts to). All of which confirms to my Canarian and Spanish neighbours that the British are indeed weather obsessed.

This cant be real - cloudy at Costa Adeje?

This can't be real - clouds in Costa Adeje...

The Saturday before last was a particularly cool day and as we walked into the Beehive Bar where we watch Man Utd Andy commented to Carlos the barman:

“It’s really cold today,”
(In Andy’s defence it was an unusually cool day for Tenerife)

Carlos’ response was to roll his eyes and turn his back and walk away.

“I guess you’ve heard that a lot today?” I added.

“Only from every person who’s come into the bar,” Carlos smiled even though he must have been bored senseless by hearing the same remark over and over. “One woman even asked me what I’d done to the weather.”

The weather is understandably at the top of many people’s ‘things I want to know about Tenerife’ list and features prominently on the travel advisory forum, Tripadvisor. This winter has opened my eyes to a particularly odd way in which the differences in the weather between the north and the south is perceived by some visitors.

The simplistic summary of the weather is: south – hot and dry, north – cooler and prone to rain in winter. Not 100% accurate, but it’s what everyone believes, so there’s no point going over old ground. I have to admit to being defensive about the weather in the north. Every time I read ‘the north’s always cold and cloudy,’ I want to scream at the screen. “DO YOU THINK I WOULD BE LIVING HERE IF THAT WAS THE CASE?”

One comment especially on Tripadvisor had me shaking my head last week and realisation dawned on me that it’s almost impossible to change perceptions even when little things such as facts get in the way. The comment was from someone who’d been staying at a resort in the south and had ventured north one day; it was this:

...and sun in the north. Surely these must be fake!!!!

...and sun in the north. Surely these must be fake!!!!

“Does the north ever see the sun?”

Now had the south of Tenerife been basking in unbroken sunshine and sweltering temperatures during the previous week and the north been shivering under a gloomy sky, this might have been a valid question, but here are some comments from residents which were posted on other Tenerife forums during the same week:

‘Horrible today, I feel sorry for the tourists.’; ‘Cloudy but not raining or windy.’ ‘Cloudy and not very nice.’; ‘Was so cold yesterday, coldest I’ve ever felt in Tenerife.’

And guess where they all lived? In the south of Tenerife. So despite experiencing cloud and temperatures that were cooler than average for the south of Tenerife, is was the fact that, as expected, it was cloudy in the north which registered with the person who asked if we ever saw the sun.

It’s a strange behavioural pattern which I’ve noticed on a regular basis; if it’s cloudy in the south, then that’s okay because the temperatures are still better than the UK. If it’s cloudy in the north, well what do you expect; it’s always cloudy over there.

A classic case of give a dog a bad name…


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