Archive for April, 2009
Clash of the Titans reels in 2.5M for Tenerife

There’s not a spare sandal or bedsheet to be had in Tenerife, as we gear up for the Gods to descend. Clash of the Titans is being remade in Tenerife and 100 extras were recruited at the Sheraton La Caleta Hotel last week, all part of a 2.5 million euro windfall for the island.


A 350 strong Warner Bros production team will be here from May 15 to June 3 , and their accomodation, transport and maintenance will help to swell the island coffers. Sets are taking shape just a short spear throw from the Mount Teide cable car at Montaña Mostaza, soon lead players Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes and the rest of the cast will be busy there and at coastal areas of Icod, Buenavista del Norte, and Guia de Isora.

It’s a good chance for Tenerife to cash in on the commercial spin offs. The lookie lookie men are going to sell genuine Greek sundial watches and Mount Olympus cameras, cafes will serve burgers and chips cooked in ancient Greece, and other establishments that I have only heard of and never been to-honest-are to offer lap of the Gods dancing.

Sand storm on Arona beaches

The secret of good comedy is timing, so full marks to Arona council for announcing new heavy handed rules for all of their beaches, while Tenerife tourism is at an all time low. They intend to ban smoking, drinking and even building sand castles on the beach, with fines ranging from 750 euros to 3,000 euros.

It’s another crackdown aimed at eradicating the seedy and illegal practices that go on at, and around the beach areas. I can see where they are aiming with the last two, they want to wipe out the regular bottle parties “botellons” held by youngsters at weekends and holidays, and the sand thing is about the sculptures (some of them very impressive) that people build at the back of the beaches to appeal for money from passers by.

The trouble is the tourism horse hasn’t just bolted, it’s galloping at a fair rate like in the opening titles to Black Beauty. British tabloids could have a field day with this, just after The Sun claimed that Mount Teide could be about to blow its top. Local traders are not best amused by the announcement, the only time the sand is peppered with people these days is on bank holidays when mainland Spanish and Tenerife North descend with cool bags and picnics, and clear the supermarkets.

Banning beach smoking for pollution reasons is a very emotive issue and could have been better handled. The tourist information offices are already giving out blue plastic “ice cream cones” to plant in the sand, with a flip top for ash and the eventual dog end. More publicity and bigger collection points near the rubbish bins might have a brought more sympathetic response.

Arona has some of the best beaches in Tenerife, a wonderful life guard and disabled bathing service, and a struggling beachfront economy, let’s hope the tide will turn soon.

A happy CD Tenerife birthday

I’ve got to that age where I actually want socks and pants for a birthday present, but this year all I desperately wanted was a win for CD Tenerife over the Pios of Las Palmas – and CDT delivered with a 2-0 victory.

The day started in tasty fashion with a visit to the Canarian Food Fair at the Los Cristianos cultural centre, fantastic cakes, cheeses and wines for sale with lots of FREE samples. Just 2 thoughts hogged my mind, it was a Canarian fair rather than just Tenerife, so I had to suppress any desire to start singing anti Las Palmas football songs near the Gran Canarian stalls, and I kept getting this image of Little Britain – I was looking for 2 old ladies tasting the lesbian jam.

Anyway,onto football and many Doradas, the Pios arrived early and smashed up a bar in Santa Cruz and threw a few flares around the main shopping area – why can’t they be angels like our fans? The pre game tifo (banners and tick a tape) was magnificent, even the 1,000 Pio fans seemed subdued after that.

The game looked like being a tense no risks derby, Tenerife looked well below par in the first half and visiting hot shot MarcosMarquez had the better chances. Coach Oltra must have thrown a few coffee cups around the dressing room, because Tenerife emerged after the break, with new urgency. Just 6 minutes into the second half, Juanlu laid on the perfect pass to Richi who duly planted the ball in the Pios net to make it 1-0.

The scenes of celebration were incredible, hope The Sun weren’t watching, they would have put it down as a volcanic eruption. One goal is never enough, especially in a derby game, but Nino made it 2-0 after 79 minutes to show that he is the real Canarian hot shot.

Needless to say, Dorada sales after the game enjoyed a healthy boost, the police were a pain as always, the y moved the 2 Armada Sur coaches on from outside our bar, then we had to wait for all the Pio fans to be marched past with their police escort-a potential flashpoint- before we could finally board and head back south.

What a day, the upshot of it all is CD Tenerife are on top of the Second Division, at least for one night, and Las Palmas are still hovering over the relegation trap door.

CD Tenerife, a fanzine is born

Like an expectant father I have been pacing and waiting, but this afternoon the new Armada Sur fanzine “You Should See Us When We Draw” popped out of the printers, kicking and screaming into the world.

Weighing in at 16 pages, with a full colour front and back cover, it can be adopted (not for you Madonna) for just 2 euros per issue. To those not familiar with football fanzines, the idea is it’s produced by and for fans, independently of the club, and will take an irreverant, and often downright rude, look at CD Tenerife, football and anything vaguely related.

The first issue contains a look at the main peñas (fan clubs) around the Heliodoro stadium in Santa Cruz, a recent away weekend at Rayo Vallecano, and a few amusing (we desperately hope) items about football in Slovakia, early experiences of football in Tenerife, and our regular letters page, Dear Rolf.

This issue has been born just in time for the derby game at home to the Pios on Saturday, kick off 5.30pm, all 23,000 tickets sold in 2 hours. It’s a fairly modest begining, but with input from other fans, we hope to grow and improve. The fanzine will be on sale on the 2 Armada Sur coaches going up to the Pio game, or contact me and I will try to get one to you.

What time does the volcano go off ?

“Help, help the sky is falling” so said Chicken Licken in the childrens story. “Volcano fear hits Tenerife” says The Sun, that well known expert on geological affairs, today.Well at least they didn’t refer to Mount Teide as being in Las Americas. And so it begins, another summer of silly stories about the impending eruption of Mount Teide.

Dr Alicia Garcia from the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Investigation) has expressed doubts about how Tenerife would cope in the event of a major eruption. Fellow scientist, Juan Carracedo, also from the CSIC, said there was no immediate threat of an eruption.

The Canaries are volcanic islands and there is constant semi volcanic activity, we don’t even notice the hundreds of small tremors that happen every year. Chinyero was the last notable eruption on 18 November 1909, and the feeling that we must be due another is helping to drive the latest scares. We are lucky to have I.T.E.R (the Institute of Technology and Renewable Energy) in Granadilla, as well as the wind turbines, they also have a team of volcanic experts monitoring seismic activity around the islands. They expertise means they are often called to volcanic hot spots around the world to monitor movements.

The last scare season was 6 years ago after a couple of small tremors, I was working for The Western Sun newspaper then and it was hilarious how many people contacted us and the local Canarian press reporting smoke etc coming from Teide. Bar stool experts were in their element, predicting not only the day of an eruption but also the time “a friend of mine told me it’s going to erupt next Tuesday at 3.20 in the afternoon”.

The best false alarm of all was on a clear summer day when the blue sky was interupted by one solitary elongated white cloud that at one point was just above Teide. This caused a major eruption of phone calls to the emergency services about the “plume of smoke” pouring out of the volcano. People felt a bit silly the next day when the TV stations and the daily papers ran photos of the offending cloud in its unfortunate position.

So it’s as you were really, looks like another scorching hot day and not a cloud in sight. Now about those aliens that are due to land in Los Cristianos…

Picking the bones out in Santa Cruz

Old, crusty and falling apart, the Guanche mummies bore a striking resemblance to how I look after a night on the Dorada. They are undoubtably the stars of the Museo de la Naturaleza Y El Hombre (museum of nature and man) in Santa Cruz.

A 111 Titsa bus had whisked me to the capital from Los Cristianos in an hour with just 4.45 euros damage to my bono ticket. Heading along the front, it’s just a couple of minutes to the  Barranco de Santos, just look for the bridges over the old ravine, and the large imposing museum. Being Sunday, entrance to the museum was FREE, but it’s hardly expensive normally at 3 euros for adults or 1.50 students and children. If you pay with your bono bus ticket, you get a 50% discount as well, a bonus common to all the main museums in the area.

The museum was opened in 2002 and is bright, airy and spacious inside, built around 2 courtyards it covers 3 floors and has a shop and cafeteria. Starting on the ground floor, I learned about the formation and history of the Canary Islands, there were information sheets to pick up, in English, German and Spanish, plus there is a headphone service that gives commentary on all exhibits, again in a choice of languages.

This is a visually pleasing setting, giant video walls, and interactive work stations are to the fore and the displays are well set out. Moving up through the layers of this historical chocolate box, rocks, fossils, plants and animals all added their testimony to the development of the islands.

The Guanches date back to between 100 and 1000 BC, and were the aboriginal founders of life in the Canary Islands. The mummies were discovered mainly in La Orotava, and have their own alcove on the second floor. I found them fascinating but not macabre, but felt a chill of unease at the mummies of young children, their internal organs and even a foetus.Â

Educated and stimulated, I left the museum after 2 leisurely hours, I could easily have lingered longer. Opening times are daily from 9 am to 7 pm but closed on Mondays, roll up and delve into the rich past of the Canary Islands.

Who needs Titans, we have CD Tenerife

Zeus and Hades are going to find themselves well down the pecking order, CD Tenerife are the real Gods to the people of Tenerife. Tonights 2-1 win at Real Sociedad, from 1-0 down, was an epic display, next weeks filming of Clash Of The Titans here on the island suddenly looks like a Pearl and Dean trailer.

It was a frantic opening by both sides, Alfaro and Juanlu fired over and wide of the home goal, and Aranburu fired a shot just wide of the Tenerife net. Things settled down and Tenerife had the better of play, Luna made some telling clearances in defence while at the other end Nino (below) flashed a shot across the Real goal mouth that eluded everyone and Kome set up Bertran who saw his shot blocked by a desperate defence.

The clearest chance fell to Aranburu on 35 minutes when the ball rolled in front of him with the Tenerife goal at his mercy, but he fluffed it. They were less forgiving 5 minutes after the break when a cross eluded the CDT defence and Abreu rose above Martinez to head Sociedad ahead.

Tenerife made an instant reply, Kome headed for goal but was brought down in the box with a crude lunge and Nino was as cool as a cucumber (or any other vegetable that you might like to name) to score from the penalty spot. Tenerife could sense victory now and pushed home their advantage, a slack defensive back header was snapped up by Nino who ran on to beat the keeper and send the travelling CDT fans higher than Mounts Teide or Olympus.

It was all over then, Tenerife looked strong and confident, sub Mikel Alonso cooly shielded the ball back to Luis Garcia to protect him from danger, and the goalie then made a great 2 touch save to ensure the points.

The countdown is on to the derby, confirmed as Saturday April 25 at 5.30 pm in Santa Cruz. The tickets are all sold out and the Pios must be dreading their trip from Las Palmas, with a CDT win making it a double this season.

As for tonight, do I stay in and watch strange hairy women singing on tv, or go out for a few celebratory Doradas ? Wow that’s a toughie!

Feast the eyes & tummy in Los Cristianos

History may be a thing of the past, but when the culture is as rich as it is here in Tenerife, it’s always nice to drink deeply from the well of memories. Los Cristianos cultural centre is one of my regular haunts, a constant source of information via the library and their store of posters and leaflets.

The ground floor has a regularly changing round of art exhibits and paintings, and at the moment, a quick scamper upstairs will be rewarded with an exhibition of old photos of Tenerife. The display is called Entre El Ayer Y El Hoy (between yesterday and today) and is mainly focussed on Los Cristianos and Santa Cruz in days gone by.

The photos are mostly black and white, and depict people as much as places. One of my favourites is a 1960’s pic of Las Teresitas beach near Santa Cruz, covered then in stones and pebbles but covered in recent years in golden imported sand and a whole heap of controversy. The exhibition is on until April 30, and like everything in the cultural centre, is FREE.

While I am marking your card about events on my doorstep, you will be pleased to know that after a few years abscence, the Canarian Food Fair returns to the cultural centre on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April. Open from 11am to 8pm, it’s a great chance to stock up on local cheeses, pastries, sauces, wines, gofio, fruit, vegetables and herbs. Some one keep me away from the sweets and biscuits.

CD Tenerife are happy Easter bunnies

CD Tenerife are not a great team, they are a great squad. They proved that yesterday, beating Levante 5-1 at home, with Bertran and Martinez suspended they drafted in Cendros and Culebras in the full back positions, they did a great job and unsung midfield hero Richi led the charge with 2 well taken goals.

Tenerife took a while to hit their stride and Levante gave them a few problems, thankfully Luis Garcia was on hand to make some fine saves. Just after the half hour Tenerife made the big breakthrough, Juanlu passed the ball to Richi in front of goal and he fired it into the net. It was a short lived lead, Levante launched an attack and Garcia charged out of his area and failed to get the ball, leaving Del Moral a free header to level the scores.

That seemed to sting Tenerife into life, Cendros set up Nino but the Levante defence squeezed him out, but they were unable to prevent Richi latching on to a Kome pass to beat the keeper, restoring the lead. The killer blow came just before the first half ended, Alfaro fired a rocket into the net from 25 yards, leaving the keeper stranded.

Tenerife went into the second half full of confidence and eager for more goals. They didn’t have to wait long, Alfaro turned provider with a pass that was like an invitation to Nino to make it 4-1. Levantes resisitance melted away and it was fitting that Tenerife had the last word with Ayoze creating an opening for Alfaro to take his tally to 15 for the season.

The only down side of the day was the crowd of 15,790 , CDT are playing great football and hammering on the door of the Primera. I know it was live on Canal Plus and it was Easter Sunday, but what more does it take to get people to support the pride of the island. The Armada Sur were there in force (2 coachloads) but it would be nice to see 23.000 full houses every week from here on in.

Liam Neeson v Ralph Fiennes in Tenerife ?

A lung bursting scream from a pretty slave girl chained to the rocks, a green scaley monster rises from the sea, licking its lips, as centurions spears bounce off its body. The new Tenerife tourism video certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Or maybe I’m thinking of a scene from the 1981 Greek mythology classic, Clash Of The Titans, about to be re-made here in Tenerife.

Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes have just been confirmed to play opposing  Gods, Zeus and Hades in the big budget Warner Brothers flick. They join Quantum of Solace Bond babe, Gemma Arterton when filming is due to start in a few weeks. Preperation has already begun with Los Cristianos based film support company, Sur Film, filming images of Teide national park in Tenerife and Timanfaya national park in Lanzarote.

It’s boom time for movies in Tenerife, a remake of Papillon is due to start in 2010, and so far this year 20 productions have used our visually stunning island. If you want to do a Ricky Gervais or Ashley Jenson, and become an extra, here’s your chance. Spanish film Una Hora Mas En Canarias , a musical comedy, will be filmed here during May and June. Casting for non speaking extras between 17 and 90 (can’t really see my blonde mop blending into a Canarian crowd scene) is taking place at Los Cristianos Cultural Centre on Wednesday 15 April from 10am to 3pm and 4pm to 8pm, just turn up with a decent photo of yourself.

I knew quite a few people who did extra work back in Oxford, and it was well paid, I don’t know if they pay out here, but IÂ would think they will at least feed you, and it would be quite an adventure.