Archive for December, 2007
Queen Victoria heaves to in Tenerife

Queen VictoriaÂ

Slightly green around the gills, pale, and wearing running shoes, the passengers of the Queen Victoria cruise liner stepped onto Tenerife in Santa Cruz today. Well not all of them were fragile, just the 80 or so that have been hit by an outbreak of Norovirus, a form of gastroenteritis.

Apparently the bug, that really opens up the sluices at both ends, is pretty common on cruise liners. Those into seafaring superstition, are pointing to the launch in Southampton 3 weeks ago by the Duchess of Cornwall. When Camilla swung the bottle at the hull, it failed to smash, a surefire sign of bad luck according to some. Mind you, luck shouldn’t really come into it with a £300 million luxury Cunard liner on it’s maiden voyage.Â

Anyway, all that aside, she did cut a very impressive figure in Santa Cruz, all 90,000 tons and 12 decks of her. The official passenger compliment of 1,980 are wallowing in sheer luxury with 990 staterooms, theatres, shopping centres, swimming pools and even an ice rink. The ship has already called at Vigo and Granada in Spain and Lisbon, Portugal, and will continue on tomorrow to Casablanca, Morocco, and Gibralter before sailing back to Southampton for January 6.

Grand Lobby

I tried to get round to the ship itself but was stopped by security half way, and at that point I met a few passengers who, assuming me to be a fellow passenger, asked me where the bus goes from. I thought they meant for some day excursion, but no, they meant the shuttle bus between the ship and the docks exit, a mere 5 to 10 minute walk, pampered or what.

Queen Victoria is scheduled to leave port at 11pm tonight, which is a shame as Santa Cruz was vibrant and busy and shaping up for a fantastic New Years Eve. A large stage on the dockside will be belting out music tonight and Calle de Castillo, between the Plaza de España and Plaza Weyler has never looked better, lined with food stalls and street performers. Bon voyage and happy new year to them, and lets hope that like the England cricket team, they forget all about the runs.

Time to buy those Elton John tickets

PosterAs at yesterdays press conference at Golf Costa Adeje, 9,000 tickets had been sold for the big Elton John concert on January 24 at 9pm. As Christmas, New Year and Reyes fade with the hangovers, the tickets will really start flying so get in there now.

The military operation to bring the great man to Tenerife is in full swing, the Adeje councillor for tourism joined 2 of the promoters yeaterday to show solidarity and stress that the support is there from the local police etc to make sure all goes well. The main road down to the golf course will be all but sealed off to avoid congestion around the entrances but there will be 4000 parking spaces and Titsa will be running buses from all around the island down to the entrances to the concert.

Elton’s people are bringing 10 huge trailers of equipment and 350 staff to make sure the sound and lighting is perfect. I must admint to being one of the original doubters but it is looking good and they seem to have all the angles covered. Hopefully if this is a big success, it will herald more top acts to follow.

Tickets are easy to get, here are just a few outlets, El Corte Ingles, Parah beach wear stores, 250 Repsol garages and just about every music shop on the island. Otherwise you can use any of the Caja Canarias cashpoints, try official www.eltonjohn.com site or check with the new website www.eltonjohntenerife.com. Prices are 120 euros, 90 euros and 35 euros. See you there on the night but please, dont let me dance – it’s not pretty.

White Christmas – Tenerife style

White ChristmasÂ

Yippee, i’m back in the sun after my week in Oxford. The plane back had loads of empty seats, hope thats not an indication of a poor christmas for tourism, talk of strikes soon at airports certainly wont help.

Anyway, after coming back to the last traces of heavy rain, it has cleared now and is lovely and sunny but the colder snap has left Mount Teide covered in snow. It look grest from the beach, as you can see.

It’s all pretty hectic now in the run up to christmas, so let me take this opportunity to wish all my readers a happy christmas and a busy new year-Feliz Navidad.

A chump at Oxford

Well the sun has got his hat on here in Oxford but it’s still cold, so cold you could grate cheese on my scrotum.

Cock and CamelÂ

Things have changed a bit but thankfully lots of the old pubs are still burning brightly. This is my first winter trip since the new smoking laws and it is weird to see people freezing outside bars grabbing a crafty fag. There are more American style coffee shops than ever and despite having those hard cold metal seats outside, people are sitting in them to have a drag with their coffee. If they haven’t got piles yet, they soon will have.

Christmas decorations are very minimal here, mainly because the council is broke after wasting money on silly causes and their never ending attempt to redesign the city centre. Maybe i will get some paper chain packs and make some stuff fot them – for a big fat consultancy fee of course.

The GooseÂ

Oh well must go, the pubs call, 3 pounds a pint but at least the real ale is looking good, and lots of stronger winter warmer brews. Talk soon.

Banana split from Tenerife airport

Well here I am freezing my bits off in Oxford for a week. I will hopefully be updating the site with some bits and pieces, although that depends on how much real ale I drink.

BananasÂ

Flying out from Reina Sofia airport on Tuesday afternoon, a slight delay left me with a bit of extra time to kill, and determined not to start on the beer too soon, I had time to explore. You may remember I had a bit of a moan a few weeks ago about the tourist boards aborted banana promotion at both airports. The idea was that arriving tourists would be given a little box of 3 bananas and a leaflet of useful contact details, but despite a big splurge of publicity that made many news sites, the promotion was scrapped before it even started. So it was with interest that I spotted a stall in the upstairs departure lounge at Reina Sofia, it wasn’t there on my last trip in June,  selling souvenir packs of bananas to take home. The packs contain 8 bananas and cost 6 euros, makes you wonder how the free promotion became a business idea, and if the company El Regalo Mas Natural is owned byanyone connected to the Cabildo (government). It’s not a bad idea in itself, but they missed a trick. At that price it is a good way to buy a snack at the airport, given that Reina Sofia was found in a survey to be the dearest airport in Spain for food and drink.

Reina Sofia seems to be getting more commercial, there are definately more shops open downstairs and a few more locales nearing completion. I think the large local produce shop, selling cheeses, sauces, wine etc, is a good idea, after all if people are going to buy overpriced things to take home (2 small pots of mojo sauce for 6.70 euros) they might as well be locally produced overpriced things.

Another slightly annoying thing was the credit card stands, where a couple of supposedly dolly birds were trying to get Brits to sign up for a Barclays Flexi rate card. The ladies didnt just stick to their little stands, they were going up to people and giving them the cheesy smile and silly chatter to draw them in. Can’t help thinking that after being accosted on holiday by Lookie Lookie men and Timeshare touts, it might be the final straw for some tourists to get more hassle at the airport.

Very fast food in La Laguna

TowerJust 45 days, that’s all it took to build the new temporary home produce market in La Laguna. This is on an island where public work projects normally go at 2 speeds, slow and stop. So on Tuesday December 11 at 7am, traders can start to sell their local produce to the public just in time for christmas. The Catalan builders, AS Montaje, definately deserve their christmas bonus this year.

Back in the summer, the old market building in Plaza del Adelantado, started to crumble and slip into a barranco and of course promises of a new temporary building in Plaza del Cristo were met with a cynical response. The project has been remarkable, first the car park below was strengthened and then 15 aluminium arches were put up to support the building, after that it was full steam ahead.

Not only will the market help farmers and co-operatives to sell fresh vegetables, bread, pastries, wine, sauces and much more, it will also entertain the kids. On the site there is a 400 square metre artificial ice rink, where for a nominal 3 euros, children can exhaust themselves while their parents shop till the kids drop. The rink opens from 10am until 4pm in the week and till 10pm at weekends, fiestas and in the run up to christmas. Also on site is a cafe/bar open for the same hours.

If you want christmas wrapping and decorations, there is a special market open at the plaza by the Tower of the church of the Conception (see pic) again from 10 to 10 each day, up until December 22. Besides the usual goodies, they have large inflatable Tweety Pies with christmas hats on, wonderful for target practice, just set them up and shoot those Pios (it’s a Las Palmas thing) down.

Give your wish list to Santa – Cruz

As my trips to Santa Cruz normally involve football and large quantities of Dorada, I took the chance today to nip up and see how the Tenerife capital is shaping up for Christmas. The bus station is a lot better these days and the bus drops you a short walk from Avenida Tres de Mayo, or if you drive, the car park below has been shown to be the cheapest in the capital.

First stop had to be the new Tres de Mayo Commercial Centre, since opening on November 29, traffic on Avenida Tres de Mayo has increased by 2,500 cars per day, a rise of 10 %. I expected the centre to be bigger, it’s on 3 floors and some locales are still empty and it didn’t really excite me but the designer clothes shops will no doubt please a lot of shoppers. The main thing I wanted to see was the Saturn electrical store, the German company has arrived on a storm after advertising hoardings screamed that “Tenerife is very expensive”. The huge, 25,000 square metre shop doesn’t go in for fancy lay outs, just row upon row of every thing you can imagine that needs power. The choice is amazing and there are some fantastic low prices on computers, cameras etc but it’s not just cheap gear, they go right the way up to top of the range goods.

Cutting back across the small modern plaza to El Corte Ingles, I enjoyed having a poke around on the 10 floors, once IÂ stopped drooling at the cakes and pastries just inside the entrance. I’m no expert but for me El Corte Ingles is still the Daddy.

Onward to Plaza de España, well as near as you can get with the remodelling still going on. TramThe tram system is very impressive and gives the city a modern, moving with the times, feel but I can see how they have had a few accidents. They do ring their bell as they come snaking around the tracks but the bell isn’t that loud and doesnt ping until it’s just about to squash you like a ripe tomato on the inlaid tracks.

Call me sentimantal but I couldn’t resist a look in at the Ayuntamiento (council) offices to see the large nativity scene they always do. Impressive and with a change of lighting to show night every few minutes, it is well worth a look and is free.

There is a large box for donations and this year the money goes to AHETE the local society for heomophilia sufferers.

The main shopping drag of Calle del Castillo, from Plaza de España to Plaza General Weyler was bustling as always and after a few coffees (honest) and tapas and a couple of more attempts to head butt a tram, I headed back down south.

Go on, make a show of yourself

MagmaÂ

It’s another holiday weekend coming up, Thursday is a national fiesta, Day of the Constitution, and Friday will be taken by most people as a puente (bridge) day, as it is hardly worth going in for that one odd day. If your looking for something different to do, get along to the Magma art and congress centre by the Las Americas bus station for the Living and Lifestyle trade show.

These shows always make big claims as basically they are there to sell to you but at just 3 euros entrance, it’s worth a punt, if only to have a nosey inside “the bunker”, as the bleak stone building has become known. We are promised furniture, cars, fashion, a childrens park, beauty, sport and much more from Noon until 10pm on December 6 to 9.

SaturdayDecember 8 is billed as the big day with lots of all singing all dancing displays including at 7.30pm the election of Mr and Miss Magma -ooh err. It’s not exactly hard to get to as most buses call in at the bus station next door and it’s only a short walk through to the seafront. It’s worth checking out the almost finished pedestrianised promenade by the beach, it’s taken ages but it is a big improvement.

CD Tenerife rue missed chances

Unable to win away, home form has become vital for CD Tenerife, so a 2-0 defeat to high flying Numancia was a big blow to attempts to climb the table.

The first half was fairly even with meither side producing many telling moves. Santos fired over the bar after 6 minutes for CDT and Juan Pablo made a good stop from the visiting Jorda 1o minutes later. Referee Zamarano, still hated for an outrageous decision against Las Palmas 5 seasons ago, gave Numancia the verdict on nearly every whistle and their opening goal stemmed from a disputed corner that he awarded. There was a scramble in the Tenerife goalmouth and after a couple of half clearances, Jaio pounced on a loose ball and tucked it in the net.

Tenerife tried to raise their game for the 8,409 crowd and had their chances in a hot spell after 60 minutes. Nino and Arruabarrena both missed good openings and Santos skied the ball high with the goal at his mercy. Numancia seemed to sense they had weathered the CDT storm and Â