Monday, April 15, 2013

Eight Days in the Canary Islands -- Day 6

While I'm fairly certain "Fuerteventura" means "Strong Fortune," I think it may also mean "Big Piles of Rocks." Since the bus tour on La Palma was so expensive, Alexander the Pool Shark and I have decided to rent a car to explore the island.

"There is only one problem," he says as we're setting out toward Morro Jable in the far southwest corner of this squashed pork-chop of an island.

"What's that, Alex?"

"On the bus tour of La Palma we had a tour guide who told us about the island, but--"

"But have no fear!" I say. "I can do it. See, here on your right"--the car swerves to the right as Alexander the Pool Shark tries to see what I mean--"&%$§! Look at the road!"

"You were showing me something! Am I not supposed to look?"

"You're driving. You're supposed to keep your eyes on the road!"

"I don't understand. You suggested that I look."

"OK, so here on your right"--the car swerves again, but only slightly before Alexander looks back at the road--"is a big pile of rocks. Some are small and some are larger, but there is definitely a rock theme to this desert landscape."

"Interesting," Alexander the Pool Shark says in earnest.

"And on your left"--car swerves to the left, but I'm used to it now--"you'll notice the rock theme but with sea. This is an island, a rocky island with lots of rocks and some sea."

"I see," says Alex. "Get it?"

My tour continues for the next hour in the same way. It takes us an eternity to reach Morro Jable, which turns out to be a beach lined with big and medium-size hotels--the kind cheap-holiday seekers book. I'm not being a snob. I stay in these hotels all the time. There's a lighthouse that I just have to have a picture of. Don't ask me why. I'm fascinated by lighthouses, the way they jut up to the sky, their bold presence in this desert landscape, their--.

Alexander the Pool Shark laughs. "Bold presence. Huh-huh."

The beach at Morro Jable is unihabitable. Sand screens have been erected to protect lazy-ass sunbathers from the constant bother of sand and wind. We walk along the promenade for about three minutes before turning back to the main street. The sand blowing against our calves feels like hundreds of tiny needles. Back at the footpath lined with souvenir shops, ice cream shops and sports bars, I'm astounded that my legs are not bleeding. It was truly painful.

"You are a wuss."

The day growing long, we head north through--you guessed it--a desert landscape, but before we get very far, I make Alexander the Pool Shark stop the car so that I can take a few pictures of the art. I love the Spanish habit of placing sculptures at every roundabout. Some of it is ridiculously colorful and, honestly, crap. This roundabout art, however, is great--so great, in fact, that I have to take pictures. There are groups of children lifting their faces to the sky. To the sun? To God? It's inspiring. Hopeful. Really really good. The artist is Cuban sculptor Lisbet Fernandez Ramos (2007).




We drive and drive and drive through the endless desert (read boring) landscape. It takes us another hour to get back to the port. Since the ship is leaving the port at 5p.m. we don't have time to explore the north of the island--although I'm fairly sure it's a desert landscape. I don't need to see any more of Fuerteventura, but I do need dinner.

And after dinner, I am in the mood for some entertainment. That's the great thing about a cruise. There's always someone dancing or singing somewhere. Yes, this is a good thing! As I've promised to say nice things about the entertainment aboard the AIDA Sol, I would like to mention the actor-singers who perform night after night. These two excellent performers play lots of roles but always together. Strong voices. These are, for the most part, well-written scripts and entertaining music. Mostly in German, though. If you don't speak German, this part of the entertainment will be lost on you. I'm sorry I haven't made a note of their names. If anyone happens to know, please let me know.



Tomorrow Day Seven of my Eight Days in the Canary Islands.

To continue with I Must Be Off! A-Z, go to G is for Greece.

I must be off,
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Ficton, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.