Thursday 8 July 2010

Holiday Snaps: Spanish flight of business

Haunts of times past
Walking up the arterial road Avenida de Tirajana is sometimes a spectacle, my hotel sits at the very bottom of the avenue at a roundabout that splays out into a T-junction which is part of Avenida de Gran Canaria; a ring-road that is probably the longest named street on the island.
Anytime I have missed breakfast which ends at 10:30AM I have walked up to Moby’s Restaurant where a Barbara Windsor-like matron serves with all concern and friendliness a good English breakfast with all the trappings apart from the dreadful black pudding.
Economic tombstones
In the last few days, I had the feeling the business was no more, so today, I walked up to satisfy my curiosity and yes, the restaurant space was up for rent, possibly a casualty of the Spanish flight of business confidence.
A few yards, I am thinking English today; yards before the restaurant, just before my hotel found the wisdom of having wireless access as a free service in the lobby, there was Café Punto, an internet café run by a gay French couple with full unrestricted access, delicious Spanish coffees and good chatter.
Again, the dreams of settling in the sunny climes of Gran Canaria seem to have been dashed by the economic downturn – the shop is up for rent too. Dino's little patio Tapas bar is still running though.
The tsunamis of misfortune
Whilst sometimes the business model might be responsible for the failure of many businesses, one sometimes has to take account of circumstances where the entrepreneurs might have done everything right but were overrun by extenuating circumstances well beyond their control.
Many other restaurants and services had become ghosts of what they had once been, premises gutted and For Rent signs hanging on the doors or glass panes that would not be like rich pickings for anyone who thinks there is an advantage to be had.
The desperate situation leaves me scared of entering any shop to purchase a camera, having once branded the traders carteristas (pick-pockets) in the good times, there is no telling how worse the experience might have become.
With sloppy Brits forgive the Spanish
As I got to the Yumbo Centre, I saw a big sign for The British Center and I made for the place to ascertain its authenticity. Well, it could not have been authentic by any stretch of the imagination if Centre were spelt in the American variant of English.
Then, it was not where it was supposed to be, it just was not there, maybe no one could pay to bring the big sign down. Whereas I had eaten pork pies in my mind long before I got there, a mirage it was like an oasis to the thirsty in the desert.
Fund Grube, the pseudo-luxury shopping chain of Gran Canaria could be forgiven for having signs reading, “We are on sale” when what I think they meant “We have a sale on”. If the Brits could not get their signs right I suppose you can forgive the Spanish for getting their contexts wrong.

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