Sunday 4 May 2008

See More Gran Canaria

I am no croc

There is that risk of getting out for a holiday in the sun and ending up on a reptilian holiday. Crawl out in the morning and bask in the sun till it is too hot that you slither into the water to cool down and repeat the action again till the day is over.

Some might have a variation of that, which is to go from hotel to beach and then to favourite bar where all the dreadful home soap operas are on show the whole to to give you that home feeling.

I have always tried to escape the louche environment of Playa del Ingl├ęs to see more of Gran Canaria, get on a boat, get on a bus or call a taxi and see something different.

Out at sea

On Friday, I decided to get on a catamaran for a sail round the South of the island to a place where some of the passengers could get on jet skis or the banana boat.

My feet never touched the water; it is one of those situations where my sense of adventure is almost overplayed with the pleasure of being a spectator.

When I was asked, I said I preferred National Geographic, whilst a good number understood, it went over the heads of other listeners who I found out were in the hairdressing business – smart people with so much hair-do, even they would not get in the water.

As if I knew it would happen, with life-jackets and all, when they were forcibly dismouented from the banana boat with a deft manoeuvre, and everyone was in the water, not me, definitely not for me – but it was a very pleasant day.

Last minute last time

Getting the LastMinute excursion company to arrange two excursions was like drawing teeth, I could not get the days I wanted and when it appeared things were looking fine, their agenda had changed from what was in their brochures.

I wanted to do the Grand Tour which would have taken me round the island especially the North-West where I had never been and then the whole day trip to Tenerife and Loro Parque.

The first just was not getting far because I had to wait days and they would not pick me up from my hotel – I was having none of that. The Tenerife trip was to pick me up at my hotel at 7:31AM and then I was told it would be 5:31AM – I don’t even stir at that time for either work or travel.

Off on tour

In the end, I went to the reception of my hotel where their service to me and their longsuffering and patience with the operators yielded more dividend.

A VIP Tour for Saturday with pick-up at 8:15AM and a Tuesday trip to Tenerife for a 5:35AM pick-up – I suppose it would be a long day to say the least.

The VIP Tour pickup was 20 minutes late and it was an air-conditioned minibus, I had hardly been in it 5 minutes, and I was hyper-ventilating, I was cooped up in the back seat and feeling seriously claustrophobic, I had to ask if we were changing buses later.

I cannot help having a Lebensraum Complex, I like space, space to recline, space to stretch, space to breathe, eventually, as the trip commenced we realised why it had to be minibuses and not big buses because none of those would have been able to negotiate those roads in the hinterland.

Zigzag up and down

The trip organised by Zig-Zags Safari was a very professional setup (There is the X-treme Jeep Safari and the genteel minibus rides – I took the latter), there were 5 minibuses in the convoy and it could stretch up to 11 in some cases.

Using a minicab intercom system, the tour-guide Gary was in the 2nd bus and it was all in English.

By the time we got into the mountains in the West moving East, I was on a slow moving roller-coaster crossed with a helter-skelter – we were zigzagging the roads as we when up and down, round mountains and at one time climbing 700 metres in 3 minutes.

It was a bare-knuckle ride, heart racing and pounding, ears popping and at least one person was ready to see his breakfast all over again.

At one point, we wished were was having a reptilian holiday, then you saw people mountain climbing and felt you should be channel-hopping with your duvet right up to your neck.

See more Gran Canaria

But, we had to pat ourselves on the back for seeing more of Gran Canaria and some of the disappearing ways of the people which include agriculture, architecture, culture, arts and crafts along with other indigenously significant historical facts.

In many cases, tourism is to blame for the decline of these communities, but then tourism keeps the island going, what needs to happen is more managed tourism in balance with keeping the essential historical issues of the island.

Gran Canaria is not only sun, sea and sand, there is a civilisation that stretches back centuries to be visited, discovered and appreciated.

The tour guide lamented the fact that people have been visiting Gran Canaria for upwards of 20 years and never been beyond the highly-populated beach resorts.

I intend to publish the pictures, I took of the interior and we would end up with a DVD of our trip too – what a day it was.

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