I am in my third day in Corralejo, on the north coast of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands. The island reminds me of SoCal and Baja, as did some parts of Spain when I was there in March. There are many dark people speaking Spanish, an obvious difference from Bremen. There's a rather simple observation. Further, the terrain and climate are quite similar. Corralejo is a desert surrounded by ocean, and the islands visible to the east could well be off San Felipe. The beaches have identical sand and coral, mountains are stark and brown, and the flora are thin, sparse, and thirsty. It is about the same latitude, with a similar temparate and sunny demeanor that rubs off on locals and tousists alike. The tourist industry is huge, with restaurants blaring menus in English and German and aggressive hawksters attacking anyone who slows down to peek in their shop. They target well; those are the two languages I hear most, often with an Irish accent. (English, I mean.)
The next week or so should reward or punish flaneur. Probably both. I have no hotel or real plan as of 2 hours from now. I have a return flight that leaves from another island (Tenerife) and no ticket to get there. Great fun! Been researching options, talking to people, looking at other local hotels, and otherwise gathering information. Most of the locals are happy to talk to someone who speaks their language, and the very many elderly tourists here have all been to every beach on every island twelve times. Nobody really says anything negative about anywhere. There are some national parks, good hikes, and beaches with different types of sand. Some areas have a reputation as more quiet, and Corralejo is certainly among them. This is great for now but I suspect the pleasant and knowledgeable retirees will not be especially fulfilling for long. So, I should start making some plan for at least today. Fortunately, I’m travelling light.
In other motive news, I am very happy to announce that I will soon leave Bremen. I accepted the offer for a position as Senior Postdoctoral Researcher in Graz. Graz has been one of the top BCI labs from the beginning and it will be an honor to work there. I already have 2 great research projects in motion with them and look forward to many more. Graz seems like a great city and region, and I have spoken with nobody who worked there who ever said anything bad about it. (Rather like the Canary Islands, and I like it here too.)
I think the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Aden must not have been insiginificant in my job offer. It was I who broke the story about the piratecatcher on the Mur, and the noncoincidental decline in salt piracy along the river Salzach. This was an exclusive for you loyal blog readers. But nobody else took me seriously, and so now those same pirates are using Somalia as a base. They’re just a step away from seizing phat merchantment laden with flax, rum, and gold coin off the Spanish Main. This would of course disrupt tourism and wine production in Graz. So I should have negotiated a bonus. Oh well.