Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cabras Canarias

(written 25 Dec)

After my last entry, I decided to spend another day at the same hotel because it had a free shuttle to what were advertised as “massive white sand dunes” and a white sand beach that I read about a lot online. This was as described, but too windy to surf. There were a lot of lounge chairs set up to block the wind, as well as obviously handmade circles of rocks, maybe 2 meters in diameter, set up for the same purpose. I found an abandoned one but it had nothing akin to mortar – although the wind was reduced, little jets of sand shot through the cracks and my towel and I were mostly sand within 20 minutes. I walked a bit more and found a band of 9 goats (cabrones, or cabras) munching their way across the dunes. I followed them a bit to try to get a good picture, but they were not so cooperative. Their presence verified to me that there was indeed prosperity on the island of Fuerteventura, or at least not that many starving people. I turned and cut across some dunes to get back to the bus stop, and encountered a large rock circle with four little German flags flapping vigorously. They seemed very precisely positioned, exactly equidistant and bisecting the circle with two imaginary perpendicular lines. Fucking Germans. I went to check it out and there was a presumably German couple, about 55, totally naked, fat and white and red all over. I wondered what the flags meant to convey. Body by bier und bratwurst? We claim this circle for Deutschland? German party here later?

After this experience, I felt it was time to move on and then took a ferry to the nearby island of Lanzarote. I stayed in a bungalow in Playa Blanca, on the south coast, for 2 days and found it rather similar to Corralejo. I asked locals where I could go that was less touristy and had good hiking and surfing. I was especially interested in hiking one of the island’s volcanoes and seeing the lava flows I read about online. I arrived here in Caleta de Famara on the 23rd and rented an apartment for 3 days. This little village measures about 4 blocks by 9 blocks.

Famara is indeed in the earlier stages of tourist invasion. It is much quieter, with a lot fewer lights and especially colored lights. All boats are fishing boats. A few restaurants have menus posted in German, English, and Spanish, but less ostentatiously. Moreoever, the type of tourist here is different. There are no hotels, and a lot less tourist-supporting infrastructure (for example, the town has no wi fi hot spot and no ATM). Hence there are very few old tourists or families. Most tourists are young, healthy, intense, and weathered. They’re here to windsurf, and there are several rental businesses. While Corralejo and Playa Blanca reminded me of San Felipe, Famara was akin to Puertocitos or Ensanada Blanca, two little fishing villages on the east coast of Baja.

Unfortunately this island´s fuerteventuras (strong winds) have so far dominated my time here. The wind yesterday was quite potent, and the roads were covered in floating sand ribbons snaking towards you, rather pretty until they hit you. You have to not just close your eyes, but also turn your head and then (before opening your eyes) clean your eyelashes because sand has been blasted into them. I tried a little hike along a ridge that seemed like it would be shielded by a taller ridge, but almost got blown over twice so I quit. Even the grizzled vets said it was too windy for watersports or hiking. The upside of this is that I made a lot of progress on some book chapters and a conference paper, which may free things up for the remainder of my trip.

I am now hanging out in my little apartment. It cost me €30 a night and has 2 bedrooms, a patio, bathroom with shower, and a big living room with couches and a TV. I learned about it by bribing the receptionist at the Atlantic Gardens in Playa Blanca with a bottle of sake that I was given for free the preceding night and could not be carried on a plane as it was 200 ml; I told her it cost me €6. So she hooked me up with her buddy Leonor, a set and heavyset matronly woman who is obviously the boss in this town and also seems to me everyone´s aunt.

Outside, two dogs, unfazed by the stinging sand, are greeting each other with their usual vulgar whirl. They’ve been spinning for a good 30 seconds now. You know, dogs are highly social creatures, and not especially dumb. Is a smarter greeting protocol that difficult? Why has no doggie diplomat, no Fido Franklin, no canine Curie, no puppy politician, ever developed (and communicated) a smarter way?

Hey wait, hold up a second!


Look, we both know what’s about to happen. You’re gonna come try to sniff my hindquarters so you can learn my family name, …


But then, as soon as you get close, I’ll turn so I can sample your perfume, and you’ll just get a whiff of my left hindleg.

Ummm…. You’re losing me.

Fine, never mind the “Needs and Opportunities” section of this proposal. Let’s just skip to the new idea. First, I’ll stand still, and you can shake my hand doggie style.


Then, you stand still, and I’ll mosey round back and see if your owner serves Alpo too.

What was the first part again?

[Sigh] Forget it.

1 comment:

david santos said...

Great work, my friend, great!!!