Archive for July, 2009

There were a couple of non flying things at the air display in Puerto de la Cruz on Sunday that caught my eye:

I want to be best friends with this guy.

A portable giant beer can = a fiesta where the beer comes to you. Can life get any better?

Its a case of excess skin.

It's a case of excess skin.

I don’t think that’s a real dog, I think it’s one of those things that children keep their pyjamas in.

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I mentioned a couple of blogs ago about the disturbing new fashion trend (new to here anyway) of some lads rolling up the legs of their shorts so that it looked as though they were wearing nappies.  At the closing day of the July Fiestas on Sunday I forced myself,  against my better judgement to take a photo of one of the culprits.

I know some women say that men are just big babies, but...

I know some women say that men are just big babies, but...

This is horrible. Honestly is there a woman out there who thinks that this is an attractive look, or who would be happy to walk beside their partner if he was dressed like this?

There’s a defining moment which signals that it might be time to call it a day, that the party is almost over.

At the Dia de la Trilla in El Tanque on Saturday the obvious signal may have been when the fire fighting helicopter with the big orange bag full of water passed yards above our heads on its way to tackle a forest fire which was burning on the other side of a hill near the fiesta. It wasn’t.

My defining moment came when I was squeezed shoulder to shoulder with a crowd of hot, sweaty and slightly glazed looking caballeros at the beer kiosk and the barman informed me:

“No hay cervezas.”

By the look of his seriously bloodshot eyes, he’d probably accounted for a good percentage of the drained amber nectar himself.

The lack of beer wouldn’t normally have been a deal breaker, but in 40+ degree heat when your water has run out, downing a cool beer was paramount to drinking the water of life.

Andy pretends that she knows what shes doing

Andy pretends that she knows what she's doing...someone should have told her farmworkers don't usually take their handbags into the field with them

We’d spent a couple of hours at this wonderfully laid back and unique little fiesta up in the hills above El Tanque where local farmers gather to have a drink and watch prancing horses and lumbering oxen turn a waist high circle of wheat into a threadbare carpet. There’s clearly some agricultural purpose to it, but it looked more like an excuse to have a frolic in the hay to us than the most efficient way for threshing wheat.

The first thing Andy did when we arrived was to purchase of a couple of straw cowboy hats. That might sound a bit kitsch, but:

  • Everyone, but everyone wears them at these fiestas.
  • We wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes without sombreros of some sort and…
  • I thought they made us look really cool.

I felt my voice taking on a Clint Eastwood/Snake Plissken quality on a number of occasions – in reality it sounded more as though I had a sore throat and a lisp, but hey, I had a cowboy hat and a piece of straw between my teeth and was feeling too cool for school.

El Tanques version of a beer tent

El Tanque's version of a beer tent

As many of the older women huddled in the meagre shade under bushes and trees we braved the hairdryer hot breeze and stood at the edge of the era watching the threshing whilst the caballeros drained the beer kiosk of all alcoholic liquids.

In summer at this level, the heat can become not only unbearable, it also turns the countryside into a powder keg and sure enough a fire must have started in the pines on the other side of a hillock from the fiesta. The Island’s fire fighting helicopter flew over and back above our heads dropping huge bag loads of water on the blaze.

This sight was enough to have us wondering whether we should leg it to the car and evacuate the area pronto – but the fact that the locals hardly even acknowledged the copter’s existence was reassurance of sorts and drove home that in summer months the sight of a helicopter dowsing forest fires must happen with monotonous regularity.

They breed ‘em hard up there. The fact that the hot wind could bring a fire racing in their direction in no time was clearly no cause for concern. The idea that the beer tent was about to run out of alcohol on the other hand…

These guys are getting dangerously close...

See More Photos of the Dia de la Trilla here

I’ve mentioned the disturbing ‘Zoolander’ haircuts amongst some of the young lads in Puerto de la Cruz before, but at the Virgen del Carmen celebrations last week we were faced with some sights which made the ridiculous hairdos seem quite sensible. Trouble was that it was also the ‘Zoolander’ lads who had adopted a fashion style which although unique, was quite the most stupid look I’ve ever seen in my life. They’ve achieved a fashion crime double whammy.

So what is this innovative new look favoured by the chavs on Tenerife’s northern coast?
For some reason they’ve decided that rolling one leg of their swimming shorts up as far as it’ll go is an attractive fashion statement.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

Some even go as far as to roll both legs up giving their shorts the appearance of a nappy. I mean nappies don’t even look good on babies, but on 18 year old lads they become really quite unnerving? Is there some weird sexual cult in Puerto that we don’t know about?

There were loads of them dressed like this, but bugger it if I’ve actually managed to capture one on film to have you clasping your hand to your mouth at the horror. My camera must have a built in ‘good taste’ function. I know I usually wait till ‘undesirable’ people exit the lens before taking a shot (I’m not going into detail, lest it offends, but someone wearing knee length socks with sandals results in immediate camera swerve), so maybe I’m doing it subconsciously now.

You’ll just have to take my word for it, the look is beyond funny, it’s frightening; only a complete moron could think that it’s a good look.

“I feel really sorry for their girlfriends,’” was Andy’s open mouthed response when faced with hordes of what could have easily have been young masons at the beach.

Most young Canarios look annoyingly effortlessly stylish, but I think these guys come down from the hills and try to emulate a type of chav style and get it horribly wrong.

As I don’t have a photo of the one-legged chavs I’ve included a shot of these girls on a balcony instead. Not just as an excuse to post some eye candy, but as a cautionary tale. This lot are the Sirens of Puerto de la Cruz with their sweet smiles and gestures luring you closer to take a photo of them…

Closer, closer... just a little bit closer.

Closer, closer... just a little bit closer.

…and then their mate appears and does this. Don’t be fooled.

 Take that suckers!!!

Take that suckers!!!

Whiskas has been well behaved for some time now. Well apart from some disgraceful behaviour during dinner last night. When Whiskas stands on his back legs he can just about see on to the dining table. Every so often he tries to reach out a paw to swipe at something he takes a fancy to (a sort of casting out a fishing hook principle). Usually it’s more in hope than anything else, but last night he got lucky, sort of. He connected with the lid to the chilli sauce bottle and it hit the deck. Now I should have let the little bugger have a lick of the chilli sauce – that would have been a lesson for him, but instead I grabbed the bottle top before he got anywhere near it.

The trouble was that he’d been successful once and that was motivation enough for Whiskas. Within seconds he was back at full stretch, the white paw lashing out to try to grab at anything. For some reason he took a particular liking to my lime green glass cover with little bobbly bits on it and tried to hook it a couple of times – at one point both his legs left the ground and he hung suspended Lara Croft-like from the edge of the table by his front paws. It was quite the funniest sight I’d seen in a long time (I must try and get a picture), but he was in danger of getting overly excited and had to be reminded that a place actually hadn’t been set for him at the dinner table i.e. he was removed by the scruff of his neck.

Anyway that’s another story. As I was saying he’s been well behaved ever since his ‘bed’ on the bench outside our bedroom was rolled up as punishment for NIN (noise in the night). Ironically it wasn’t the punishment which caused him to rethink his bad behaviour, it was the fact that when I rolled up his cushion inside the bench cover, I unwittingly created a bed which was far more comfortable than his previous. A bit of readjustment and fluffing here and there by Whiskas and he’d created the luxury pad. Now when he crawls on to it he crashes out big time – dead to the world – and we don’t hear a squeak from him till morning.

Awww, butter wouldnt melt...thats cos it would be straight down his throat!

Awww, butter wouldn't melt...that's cos it would be straight down his throat!

Andy is disappointed with the results of her garlic crop, but personally I was impressed. I love it when we pull something out of the garden and it ends up on our plate, doesn’t matter how small it is.

You can guarantee that it’s going to taste a million times better than anything you can buy in the supermarket. The last time we grew some garlic it was stronger than any garlic I’ve ever tasted anywhere.

And the upside to that is: – no worries about getting nipped on the neck by a vampire and also no bugger is going to venture within twenty yards of us, so it’ll cut down the chances of contracting swine flu…yay.

Home grown and even home plaited

Home grown and even home plaited

Okay, before anyone points it out, I realise that’s a mixed metaphor but it fits. Alexander Supertramp (AKA Jesús the neighbour) has left the building.

He turned up on the doorstep the other Saturday afternoon with a ‘hey, I thought you’d be having a siesta’ when he saw Andy working at her computer.

“Why did you come up now then?” Andy asked.

“Maybe I wanted to snuggle,”
he teased back.

This is Jesús’ idiosyncratic way. As it turned out he’d come up to tell us he was leaving. He’d applied for a job as a masseuse in Oregon and had been successful. He planned to leave to spend a couple of weeks with his family in the Basque country before heading way out west to start his new job.

We were both happy and saddened at his news. We were sad because he was leaving and we liked him a lot and would miss him, but we were happy that he was starting out on a new adventure. In truth he’d been stagnating down in his little casita and after he’d lent us the DVD of ‘Into the Wild’ (excellent movie by the way and you HAVE TO follow this link, turn up the volume and DON’T skip the intro) I realised that he was using Alexander Supertramp’s story as a blue print for his own life. However where Alexander Supertramp was starving to death in the wilds of Alaska, Jesús was starving to death next to a golf course and a banana plantation between Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava. It was caused, I have to say, by an unhealthy obsession with golf; he’d rather play than eat.

Alexander Supertramp, or Jesus - or are they one and the same?

Alexander Supertramp, or Jesus - or are they one and the same?

A couple of days before he was due to leave he turned up with carrier bags full of stuff from his house; bread flours, delicious chorizos (including a particularly tasty wild boar one), sausages from his last trip to the Basque country and a clump of acelgas (Swiss chard) from his garden; one of the few things he’d actually managed to cultivate in 10 months. He was clearing out big time.

On the night before he left he popped up to have a couple of drinks and to say goodbye.

“When do you start work,”
I asked, pouring him a glass of white wine.
“I don’t,” he replied.
“What?”
“I’ve decided not to take that job,” he explained. “My sister had already paid for a ticket to come and visit me here in August and she can’t get a refund, so I’ll have to come back.”
“To stay?” Andy asked, completely confused.
“Who knows?” Jesús shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe I’ll start from scratch again. Ramon said he’ll help me build a proper garden.”
“God, you really are like a butterfly in the wind,” Andy laughed. “You really don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going.”

Jesús laughed and shrugged again.

He left for the Basque country the next day. He left his laptop with us so I guess he’s definitely returning, but we’ve no idea if he’ll be coming back to stay or just whilst his sister is here. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to see off that wild boar chorizo before he returns.