Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eight Days in the Canary Islands -- Day 8

Auditorio de Tenerife "Adán Martín" -- the Symbol of Tenerife and the Canary Islands
We've survived the high seas. Overnight, we have sailed into the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where our journey began. We have eaten our last meal on the ship and we have seen our last show. We have trod--now we're getting dramatic--our last kilometer on the treadmill and exuded our last drop of sweat in the sauna. We are done.

"Our flight is not until five o'clock this evening, so I have hired a car and we shall expore the island." Alexander the Pool Shark trots off to get the car.

"Really?" I call after him. "Are you sure you don't want to sit peacefully at the airport for six hours . . . and check our emails?" But he's gone.

I sit and watch all the people leaving the ship. I've never seen most of them. There were, after all, 3000 of them on board. Their suitcases number in the 1000s too. We've carried ours with us because we'd planned to tread a few more kilometers on the treadmills before breakfast. Very good intentions indeed.

When Alexander the Pool Shark finally arrives with the car, we set off in the direction of a tourist spot called Las Americas.

"What does Las Americas mean?" Alexander asks me because I am known for my talent for languages.

"Are you kidding?" And for my adorable sarcasm.

"You don't have to be mean to me."

"I don't have to."

Instead of explaining how plurals work in Spanish, I turn on the radio and start singing. Las Americas is a beach resort area with an incredibly long promenade that is wheelchair accessible. As we walk and walk and walk and walk--this thing is longer than the Copacabana--we hear lots of British voices, lots of Italians and lots of Russians. More and more Alexander and I are mistaken for Russians.

"Dobre," someone says. I turn. Why, I don't know. Maybe I am Russian. It's one of those guys outside a restaurant who tries to get you to sit down and eat. "Dobre dobre." So this is the only word he knows.

"We are looking more and more Russian these days," says Alexander the Pool Shark.



"No, Da means yes in Russian."

"We will now stop at McDonald's and buy you something to eat on the plane."

"Will we really?"

"Yes, We will buy you a gluten-free double cheeseburger so that you will not starve on the five-hour flight back to Germany."

"I don't think I'll starve."

"You will starve."

"The gluten-free double cheeeburger will be cold and nasty by the time we're on the plane."

"It will not." And this settles it.

We then pay a visit to the volcano that created this place: Teide, or Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world. Sadly, it's dormant now, the last eruption being in 1909. Still, it's a popular tourist destination.

We've packed a lot into the day. Here are a few more impressions of the city Santa Cruz . . .

Unlike Fuerteventura or Gran Canaria, Tenerife is worth another visit or three. The gluten-free double cheeseburger, on the other hand, is really nasty and cold by the time I eat it on the plane, but I eat it because I'm starving. When Alexander the Pool Shark is right, he's right.

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

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire) about a man struggling with expectations. Available from Amazon Anything.