Driving on Tenerife – A Magical Mystery Tour

Posted: April 22, 2009 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Transport, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tenerife’s ‘mas o menos’ culture is amusingly quaint 75 percent of the time; the other 25 percent it has you pulling your hair out and screaming ‘HOW CAN YOU BE SO ESTUPIDO?”

The other day we watched a bloke outside the bus station in Puerto de la Cruz methodically peeling the backs of some leaflets before dropping the discarded paper on the ground at his feet. The fact that he was standing beside a litter bin at the time was bad enough, but when he then proceeded to stick the leaflets onto the bin itself, the urge to run across and ram his head into said receptacle was almost too much to resist. Maybe he felt dropping his litter, being beside the bin, was ‘mas o menos’ putting it in the right place.

On Thursday we had to head south for a couple of meetings. I love driving on the old country roads on Tenerife, it’s proper driving; however the motorway is the most practical way of getting from north to south in the shortest possible time. It’s a straightforward drive except for the bit where the TF2 joins the TF1. There’s been road works at this spot since the dawn of mankind and every time we drive it there’s a different detour, just to keep you on your toes. This time was no different, but a big yellow sign a good couple of hundred yards from the road works made it clear which lane we should stick to.

The left lane veered of to Santa Cruz, the right to Tenerife South; easy peasy.

The Road to Who Knows Where

The Road to Who Knows Where

Or it would have been had the sign been accurate. As we sailed along in the right hand lane passing the fork of no return, we noticed another ‘Tenerife Sur’ sign on the left lane a few yards beyond the junction and could see a road leading from the lane we weren’t on which clearly joined the TF1 in the direction we wanted to go.

Our ‘detour’ was obviously an older version and they just hadn’t gotten around to making sure all the road signs were in harmony yet.

I don’t know what it is. There seems to be something lacking in the national psyche when it comes to being able put accurate detour signs in place. I’ve driven up single track roads to discover, after a couple of hundred metres,  a sign informing me that the road is closed (usually right beside where the work is taking place). Call me Mr Picky, but it would seem sensible to put a ‘road closed’ sign at the beginning of the particular road that was closed. Still, I suppose it doesn’t do any harm to practice my ‘reversing long distances in a narrow space’ skills. You never know when I’ll need to put them into practice to escape renegade cops or Somali pirates or something.

Another annoyingly common little practice is the one where workmen erect a detour sign at the start of the road works, then maybe another at the next junction after that, but then…nada mas. It makes some journeys a bit of an adventurous mystery tour, but it is hellishly infuriating.

Like I said there are plenty of times when ‘mas o menos’ has you smiling and looking at each other with a ‘this is all part of living in a different culture’ gleam in your eyes.

There are other times when being ’mas o menos’ just doesn’t cut the mustard, when charming becomes moronically stupid and even potentially dangerous…not having accurate temporary road signs is one of those times.


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