Monday, 16 February 2015

Away on holiday 2 ......

iv) The People. I like people, which really isn't a surprise as I grew up surrounded by them. No, what I'm on about are National characteristics.
   The French for instance, regardless of what they might be driving, at the time car, lorry, tractor or even horse, will try and overtake you once they realise you and your car are from England. They've never forgotten losing the Battle of Agincourt. So getting past you on the road, path or queue in the supermarket helps to restore a little national pride. They will also look at you blankly when you try and speak French. Shop staff and waiters are the worse, it's part of their psyche I was once speaking to a farmer and mentioned the maize field opposite. He looked at me expressionless. So I pointed at the maize. Still no response. So I walked across the road with said farmer in tow and literately grabbed the stuff  "meyes" I repeated "ah meyes" he said! That's enough about the French (for now, anyway).
   Back to the Spanish or more precisely the Canarians. They are, on the whole small people. Who tend to wait for you to talk to them rather than the other way round. They offer no more information than asked for. That is until they realise you are interested or know a little about them and their culture. Then the flood gates open. You mention Nestor (local artist) or Galdos (local writer) the local food, bus routes and they quiz you about what you know and then fill in all the gaps, punctuated with plenty of smiles and laughter.

v) Carnival. I've never been to a Carnival and this one had two distinct parts. The organised shows, bands, dancers, singers etc on the stage mentioned yesterday and the street carnival. Where anyone and everyone dresses up and waits for you to point a camera at them so they can pose. Well most of the time....

So cheer up, it's Carnival

Get there, on foot

In a cab

Or on a giants shoulders

Can't find your friends?

Phone them

They're here somewhere

It's easier than you think

Decide what to drink and who's paying

Join the party

You might need to find a loo at some point

Then just work out how to get home.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :)))


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Away on holiday.......

   So nothing from SC today. It's time to bore you with my holiday reminisces. I'm queuing with Mad Girl at gate C12 In the lounge at Las Palmas airport. Waiting for our flight home. There isn't a plane yet at C12 but us Brits like to queue and once queuing we like to worry.  The length of queue (will we get on?) The location of the queue (are we queuing in the right place?) and where we are in the queue (why are we at the back, middle or front?) Because we paid a little extra to reserve seats with a bit more legroom as I'm 6' 3". MG and myself are near the front, we are now "EasyJet speedy borders". It's like first class for poor people, you get boarded first. So no mad rush to stow your hand luggage 
   Our seats are by the emergency exits. So they have lots of legroom. Plus if we ditch in the Atlantic we'll be first out and then can choose seats in the life raft which have the best legroom too. Nothing like being comfortable in a difficult situation is there.

It's been a great ten days, so in no particular order, here are our highlights, .

 i)   I now own a comb (part of the hotels bathroom bag of goodies) alas I don't need it for my head, it hasn't suddenly re-sprouted, no, now I have a beard. The hotel has also very kindly laid on a bathroom full of mirrors. Where one can see every part of one's body from any and every conceivable angle. It raises the age old question, "Does my bum look big in this?" well in this bathroom yes it does. In jeans, or a towel, in fact it looks big all on it's own! There is also an illuminated magnified mirror. Which I guess is there for six feet tall Swedish models to help them locate and then examine their backsides if they feel the need "Ders may boom look big in dis?"
however I'm using the illuminated magnified mirror, to sculpt my "lost in the wilderness" beard. Hopefully into something distinguished. Armed with one of Mad Girl's disposable razors a mini bottle of shaving gel and my gift comb and careful shaving, I now resemble the villain from Buck Rogers, "Ming the Merciless", only I'm not wearing a robe. I'm in shorts and tee shirt with "Good boys go to Heaven. Bad boys go to Las Palmas" emblazoned across the front.

ii)  Unbeknownst to us, we have arrived on the island just as carnival starts. The girl in the tourist office, which was handily situated next to the huge Carnival stage, told us we were very very lucky, as today there are guided tours of the stage and behind the scenes. Very, very luckily it was also free. She pointed vaguely towards the corner of the huge stage and told us to go there. As instructed we vaguely wandered over to the vaguely corner of the stage. Over the next fifteen minutes others joined us and left us and came back. Although I speak no Spanish, Dutch or German I guessed the topic of conversation was,
"Did she mean here?" and "Baldy over there looks English, they know how to queue, so we must be in the right place." 
We were then picked up by Marta, "Is you for the tour guide of the stage, yes? Follow me."
She made quick work of the rest of the rabble and we were all nodded through security and on to the stage. I don't know about you but whenever I get near a stage or even a train platform for that matter. I have to fight hard to control the urge to fling my arms in the air and cry out, "Hellooooooo Wembley"
Then fall to my knees, whilst playing air guitar and swishing back my head and imaginary long greasy hair. I controlled myself whilst Marta professionally went through her tour guide patter in several languages. Not once did she fall to her knees and cry out," Elloooooo When bal leeeee" I know she really wanted to. The tour finished backstage on a little podium with all the sponsors names on a board behind us. it's where they film the winners and losers, you know the sort of thing, "I wood lie-ker to fank my pair-rents and fair-ends pour all dare help" followed by a smile and/or tears. I was dying to give my Oscar winning speech but again managed to control myself. We were invited to grab as much stuff from the dressing up box as we liked and she would take our pictures. Now why is that most men given the chance go for the blonde wig and grass skirt? I opted for the clown look partly due to the fact I have huge feet so I'm already halfway there. Anyway as I pulled on my curly red wig, Marta began collecting the various phones and cameras. I was tempted to hand her paper and pencil, just to test her professionalism but I'm on holiday and meant to be chilling out. In fact I've been ordered to be chilled by MG. So I just hand over my camera, set to "look I'm having fun" mode. 
   Marta then gave us the days and times of the various shows coming up. Sadly for some in our party (those in blond wigs and grass skirts) the drag queen final would be held in two weeks. By which time they would all be back home.

iii) The colours. I know it's because they have sun virtually year round. So by definition it's a bright place but the buildings, especially the older ones are painted in some great deep colours. The picture is a church wall in the centre of town.   

I haven't finished but we're all loaded on the plane. So more in a day or two. I've plenty of legroom, Kindle and iPod fully charged, so lots to read and listen to but I have two slight concerns, is our pilot super experienced and know the way. I may be a "speedy border" but I'm also a "scaredy passenger" and will the gas that's building in my stomach wait till we land before it decides its time to fight it's way out. As mainland Europe is a huge chunk of land and he would need to be a really really rubbish pilot to miss it.I can honestly say at this stage, the gas situation is more of a concern.

Onwards and upwards. In pursuit of fulfillment :))) 

Footnote. I don't own a tee shirt that says "Good boys go to heaven bad ones go to Las Palmas" but maybe I could get one ready for next year. I lost the gas battle but fortunately the bloke next to me was asleep so I just raised my eyebrows and nodded in his direction when people looked around to see where the terrible smell came from.