Saturday, 7 March 2015

Funny stuff

I should explain one of the funny things about where we are, this tourist village. It sits in a district called Maspalomas, beside some natural sand-dunes which are protected as a heritage site - we will go and see them shortly.
When they developed this territory, the money must have come from all the various European tour operators, and so the new roads - avenidas - which were laid out were named for these companies. Hence there is this remarkable map, with the following names emblazoned: Avenida Touroperador Neckermann, Avenida Touroperador Tui, Touroperador Intamu, ..Lufthansa, Vingresor, Lineas Aereas Finnair, Kuoni, Tjaereborg, etc etc. It is remarkably difficult to navigate round this district as the roads are very windy and have no obviously distinguishing features apart from the occasional dry gulch, or bus-stops which look pretty well identical.
Today we went west along the coast road, past a bay with a cement factory beside some scruffy cafes, one of which gave us a marvellous cortado, while we sat in a terrace protected from the howling wind by a scratched plastic sheet. The family have run this place since 1952 and seem to ascribe their success to Ste. Rita, the patron saint of fishermen (as we know from her marvellous rocky shrine in the parish church at Wissant near Calais), and also to Jesus. Images of their patrons adorn the walls beside the brilliant photographic menu displays, and very attractive they are too.
We reached Playa de Mogan by way of the winding road carved into the face of the cliffs, where the layers of volcanic rocks are utterly fantastic, with lurid colours and very dramatic textues showing how the different expulsions from the bowels of the earth have fared very differently under the weathering and erosion of millions of years. Really, the rocks are the hero of this place. You get huge slabs of purpley brown, interspersed with streaks of glittering white, or sandwich-fillings of massive rounded boulders which presumably rained down onto the ground long ago. Some of the layers are massively thick - maybe 4 or 5 meters - and some are just little papery slivers, but all have left their mark, and no doubt the geologists of the world have all been here to measure and cogitate. It is very exciting.
Playa de Mogan is touristy, with a tidal waterway leading into a prosperous harbour. They have made some pretty footbridges over the canal, and shifty 'Chase-the-Lady' teams have set up to fleece the tourists, using half-potatoes as cups. 'No photographs!!! No photographs, lady!!!'
There are enough cafes, restos, sandal-shops, beach-wear boutiques etc to keep anyone happy, and some lovely bougainevillia trellised overhead.
All this under a strange mist or sea-fog, and a fierce wind blowing from the south. All the palm trees and awnings and lines in the harbour have been whipping about in this wind. A young man from Heathrow (been here 13 years, came with his parents, now pimping trips in a schooner on the harbour wall) said, this is not usual weather. He hopes it will be gone by Monday.
We had lunch overlooking the water, tootled a bit more, then came home as we are tired!!! Sitting about now, in this domestic setting, with fresh-squeezed orange juice to hand and maybe going for a swim in a moment.

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