Archive for September, 2009
Don’t let your Spanish mobile hang up on you

If you have a pay as you go Spanish mobile phone, you are in danger of losing your number. The new Spanish Data Retention Act becomes law as from November 9 th 2009, this requires phone operators to register the personal details of all pay as you go users – if you have a contract, nothing will change.

Text messages have been sent out but many people will have either not understood them or deleted them thinking they are yet more advertising spam. Perhaps the most at risk group are the regular visitors to Spain, that keep a mobile especially for their trips, these may be laying in a draw in the UK awaiting their next switch on – but by then it may be too late.

If you are in Spain, just pop into one of your networks shops and show your passport or residencia details-no later than 8th November. If you are in the UK, you can get someone to do this for you, give them your details, address phone number etc, and a copy of your passport inside back page. Don’t expect the shop staff to roll out the red carpet for you, the service is FREE and just more unpaid work for them. Anyway, must go I think that’s the phone ringing.

Felicity wins battle of Brits at Tenerife Ladies Open

England beat Wales and Aston Villa beat Everton as Felicity Johnson from Halesowen near Birmingham beat Becky Brewerton from St Asaph near Rhyl and it was every bit as thrilling as their favourite football teams could have served up.

Golf Costa Adeje was shimmering in the heat as the Tenerife Ladies Open 2009 entered the last day, I threaded my way through the course to find the leaders on the 12th hole and followed the dueling golfers, and Germanys Bettina Hauert through to the climax. There was a fair crowd following them and plenty of support staff with great jobs like holding up the “be quiet” signs or wetting the towels in a bucket to soothe the players. I restrained myself well and resisted the temptation to fart or have a coughing fit at a key moment.

I kept thinking about when I was younger (so much younger than today) and used to go scrumping golf balls up the local course near my parents, then I would sell them to other golfers, the balls that is not my parents. There are houses alongside parts of Golf Costa Adeje, and some people were watching from their gardens, well it beats the Eastenders omnibus.Â

Anyway back in the modern world, it was close between the 2 Brits but Felicity proved stronger and won it at the 18th hole, finishing 14 under par, 2 shots ahead. That was the signal for wild celebrations as her friends rushed onto the green and sprayed her with champagne, maybe it should have been Brew Eleven or Banks’s Bitter to fit her Birmingham roots.

Apparently young Felicity is out on the town with her friends tonight, so don’t take any liberites with them or you may get a nine iron wrapped around your head, wonder if they will end up at Mystique, that’s a swingers club.  I must say as a non golf player, I did enjoy the 2 days action I saw and it must have been great publicity for Tenerife on Sky and Eurosport.

Valiant Tenerife fail at Real Madrid finishing school

Playing in La Liga is the dream, but Real Madrid were the alarm clock today as their clinical finishing punished CD Tenerife 3-0 in the Bernabeu. The first half was one of the most disciplined displays seen from a CDT team in years, the half time whistles from the crowd were sweet music to the visitors as they outplayed the Galacticos and held them to 0-0, but it’s all about goals.

Would the Tenerife defence hold up to the free scoring league leaders? well for the first half they did more than hold their own, full backs Bellvis and Bertran were even able to push up and support the attack. Cristiano Ronaldo went down after 5 minutes, the first of 6 yellow cards for CDT but Drenthe was the main irritant, drawing a booking for Bertran and later clattering into him causing him to give way injured with Sicilia replacing him.

Kome (pic) was playing wider on the left and making some useful headway, Richi forced a good save with a low shot after 14 minutes, and just after a lovely flowing move ended with Bellvis shooting just wide of the Madrid goal. Sergio Aragoneses looked commanding in goal, racing out to deny Ronaldo and then making a fine one handed save from Raul. Tenerife made some great build up play, Mikel Alonso, Roman and Kome all impressing, but too often the last touch wasn’t there.

Benzema came on for Madrid in the second half and made an imediate impact, his header for the opening goal looked to be offside but still stood. Kome set up Alfaro for a chance to level but he shot over, Madrid started to look menacing and Tenerife lost some momentum. Aragonoses denied Ronaldo again after 4 Tenerife players stood off him, but with Benzema shining, Martinez half hearted tackle was not enough to stop him from picking his spot to make it 2-0.

Spain goalie Casillas made a rare mistake, only getting one hand to a Tenerife shot, teeing it up for Nino but the out of form striker couldn’t capitalise. There was no stopping the 3rd goal, Kaka found himself in space and wafted it into the net leaving 3 defenders stranded. The scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game, but Tenerife are having to learn that missed chances will come back to bite them in La Liga.

Chip and pin without the expense

So there I was, surrounded by 126 fit young ladies from around the world – ding dong – all in the line of work of course. It was the opening day of the 2009 Tenerife Ladies Open at Golf Costa Adeje and I popped along with John Beckley of Sorted Sites to get some photos and background for

The idea was to do a pre arranged interview with legendary British player Laura Davies (below) , we arrived just as her group reached the 18th hole and watched some of the action. It’s a beautiful course set on the lower slopes of Costa Adeje and was bustling with activity, buggies, caddies, stewards, referees and quite a few fans, all milled around. As the target group handed in their cards for the morning, Laura was less than happy with her performance and went off in a huff (is that one of those new japanese cars) so no interview. Luckily the lovely German player Anja Monke (above) was very willing to have a few cheery words, quite handy as she ended up leading for the day, you can read her thoughts on .

It was nice to have a wander around and see some of the other 126 players working through their rounds, matching the players to their names and grabbing a few more pics. Sky TV were in attendance for one of their many channels and I met a few caddies that I know, enjoying their paid work. Some of the fashions were a bit bizarre, South African Laurette Maritz stole the show in her leopard pattern skirt, but not a pair of Rupert Bear trousers to be seen. The ladies all seemed to have fluffy glove puppet type covers for their clubs, can’t quite see that catching on with Tiger Woods.

The Ladies Open reaches its climax on Sunday afternoon, I hope to get back for the finish and see if any of the Brits manage to grab the glory, and the prize money. If you find yourself near the course, pop in, it’s FREE to watch.

Sweet victory over Bilbao, despite missed chances

Not just competing with the best, but actually out playing them, this was a great nights work for CD Tenerife as they shrugged aside Athletic Bilbao with a well deserved 1-0 home win. Going into the game, the signs were ominous, CDT coming off a 4-0 defeat and with defenders Luna and Bertran suspended, while Bilbao were in hot form, third in La Liga with 3 wins out of 3 and bags of goals.

Tenerife show little respect for form, and went at Bilbao from the off, a bad clearance by the visiting goalie nearly gave Alfaro an early reward. Nino missed from an Alfaro cross as Tenerife dominated the play, Gabilondo had a rare break for the visitors but shot over the bar. Sicilia and Nunez looked pretty comfortable filling in on defence and up front the chances were coming thick and fast. Nino looked sure to score, just a few yards in front of goal but somehow put it over, Roman forced one of many great saves from Iraizoz in the Bilbao goal, and when Nino got the ball in the net at the half hour mark, it was ruled out for offside.

Tenerife lost Ricardo, helped off injured, just before the break but it didn’t disrupt their flow too much, Alfaro was denied 2 more golden chances by Iraizoz either side of half time. The 20,600 crowd pushed Tenerife on with a constant wave of noise but the breakthrough still wouldn’t come. Omar came on and set up Alfaro, who this time failed with a header, but a home goal was long overdue, Alfaro floated the ball into the box and it seemed to hang in the air for an eternity before Mikel Alonso connected with his head and powered the ball into the net to send a relieved crowd wild.

The referee added on 5 minutes of injury time, nail biting stuff, Omar missed a sitter and Aragoneses had to be sharp to deny Toqueros overhead kick, but justice was done as the final whistle blew. The score didn’t reflect the total dominance of Tenerife, 17 shots on goal, looks like shooting practice will be top of the training regime this week. Now on to Saturday and the small matter of Real Madrid away.

Defence? it’s a swear word to CD Tenerife

It was the battle of the beaches and Mallorca stamped all over CD Tenerife’s undefended sand castle for a 4-0 win. Luna and Bertrand got sent off , i’m all for a bit of reality, but this was just shocking.

The signs were there early in the away game. Mallorca carved their way down both flanks with ease and then tried the direct route and met little resistance. Former Liverpool player Josemi broke down the right after 6 minutes, and skipped past 2 defenders before firing wide. Then Mallorca attacked the left and Bertran left the ball, which thankfully cannoned off Sergio Aragoneses and across the goal. How about the middle? Aduriz had a free header but thankfully Aragoneses made a great finger tip save.

The goal soon followed after 17 minutes, Aragoneses rushed out but couldn’t hold the ball, leaving Suarez to make it 1-0 to Mallorca. It took 24 minutes for CDT to produce their first real chance, Richi’s shot from a corner bringing a good save out of Aouate. Tenerife had a decent spell for the remainder of the half, Nino (pic) found himself loose and flashed a shot wide of goal and Luna was squeezed wide by the keeper.

Martinez curled a shot wide just after the re-start, but that was where the encouragement ended. Mallorca’s Ayoze ran at the retreating Tenerife defence and chipped the ball between 2 defenders, Aduriz had plenty of time to stoop and glance his header into the net to make it 2-0. Alvarez squeezed between Bellvis and Aragonoses a few minutes later and made it 3-0, by now I was begging the barman to change channels and put Come Dancing on.

Could it get worse? yes it could. After 70 minutes Luna got a second yellow card for an arm in the face and was sent packing. After 86 minutes the torture was completed when Bertran was judged to have fouled in the box, and as he marched with his straight red, Webo slotted home the penalty.

Wednesday brings a home game with Atletico Bilbao, the defence need a good roasting before then. There will be some heavy defeats as we learn this season, but we can’t keep gifting goals.

Capoeira, street dancing with a kick

Even on an island steeped in musical culture, like Tenerife, it is possible to be surprised by something different. That was how I felt the first time I passed the church plaza in Los Cristianos and witnessed what I now know to be Capoeira. It was a heady mix of drum rythms, dancing, clapping, chanting and martial art style duels. It always attracts a decent crowd, all as intriqued as I am and fascinated by the agillty and rythm.

Capoeira is a Brazilian art form, inspired by African slaves brought to Brazil in the 16th century, closer scrutiny helped me to appreciate that the high kicks and chops are expressive but don’t connect, this is not about violence. A informal circle called a Roda forms a dance area where the dancers take turns in pairs to face off against each other using their well drilled moves to make their point. I had often wondered about the young gymnasts that practice flips and leaps down on the beach in Las Vistas, well it’s a great free space to work on routines with just soft sand to stop any injuries.

Capoeira is a proud tradition the has spread around the globe and is practised by many Brazilian groups. It’s a small world – but you wouldn’t want to paint it – and the day I took some photos I later thumbed through The Daily Mail in a bar and found Capoeira featured in a story. The Mail were getting very angry and hot under the collar (when don’t they) about Hackney Council funding a local ethnic dance group to learn Capoeira. I picked my way through the rant with a wry smile, some attitudes never change, but at least here in Tenerife, there is a stage for every sort of music, dance and culture. If you want to catch the Los Cristianos crew, Saturday mid afternoon is normally time for the Capoeira feet to fly.

CD Tenerife burn brightly for home win

Welcome to Wish You Were Here, this week we visit one of the hottest spots in Europe, the Heliodoro stadium in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. Well it felt like that, both teams had complained during the week, about the 4pm kick off time, and their worst fears were realised – it was scorching hot, the fans were sweating buckets (bet your glad this isn’t scratch and sniff) but the players set off at a cracking pace. A 2-1 win was just reward for the superior skill of Tenerife, even if Osasuna did end up with only 9 players.

Tenerife just edged the opening exchanges, Nino had the first real chance when Ricardo set him up after 10 minutes, but he failed to make it count. Alfaro and Luna both had clear chances to score, Alfaro put his shot over the bar and Luna put a free header wide. Osasuna had their moments, Camunas was through on goal but Sergio Aragonoses was quick to take the ball and snuff out the chance.

Into the second half, Osasuna soon found themselves a man down, Monreal picked up a second yellow card for hand ball and was on his way. Tenerife cashed in straight away, Ricardo lobbed a great ball through to Nino, and he slipped it under the keeper for a 1-0 lead. CDT were caught napping a few minutes later from a corner, the ball was floated in and Pandiani rose to head an equaliser.

Maybe it would take something special to seal this game, that’s certainly what we got. Kome popped the ball back to Ricardo and he unleashed a 25 metre rocket into the top corner of the net to restore the lead. It got worse for Osasuna, their Iranian mi¡dfielder Nekounam fouled Roman Martinez and got a straight red to reduce his team to 9 players. Tenerife could have added to the scoreline, Alfaro went close and Richi missed with his header. Maybe it was the heat or the lack of a full team, but Osasuna faded and Tenerife finished the stronger to claim that vital first La Liga win.

Jose Palomares, an artist on the ball

You don’t have to go up north in Tenerife to see great art, Los Cristianos cultural centre always has an exhibition of paintings hung around the walls, it’s FREE to stroll round, and the offerings range from professionals to keen local amateurs.

Jose Palomares adorns the walls at the moment, and will do so until 25 September, originally from Jaen in mainland Spain, he moved to Tenerife in 1990, and had already built a strong reputation as a portrait and landscape painter. A keen sports fan, he painted a portrait of Manchester United when only 16, and can count Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs among his subjects.

Walking around the cultural centre, the classic scenes of Tenerife catch the eye with their brightness and clarity, but just around the corner you suddenly find visions of Englands best and worst footballing moments, and a young Denis Law savouring one of his many awards.

There are 23 paintings on display, but if these just whet your appetite, have a look at his website and see the range and quality of his work.

A wander up west

You can’t please everyone, do you let nature take its course, or give it a little nudge in the direction you want? Councils all around the coast of Tenerife constantly face this problem, some 18 months ago Guia de Isora council revamped Playa San Juan beach, adding new sand, walkway, seating and kiosks. The sand at the shore was soon eroded and various recriminations were made, so on a trip to Los Gigantes, I broke the journey to see how things had settled.

The hourly 477 direct bus to Los Gigantes makes the west coast much quicker and easier to reach, hopping off in Playa San Juan I headed for the beach and was pleasantly surprised. Like a stubborn receeding hairline, the exposed shingle had not spread back any further than the crescent closest to the water, and the more recent stylish wooden beach chairs, and the candy striped changing booths gave it a nice overall look. The walkway at the back of the beach is wide and sturdy, leading to the rebuilt kiln and a winding concrete pathway up to a nice coastal walk. Retreating back to boardwalk and the restaurants and bars, it was pretty quiet, so I pulled up a coffee and paper facing the open sea on the other side of the quayside. Playa San Juan has a nice mix of ex pats and Canarians, not a wild night out resort, but always nice to visit.

 Back on the bus, I was soon in Los Gigantes, sedate at the best of times, but very quiet now the tourists have taken their children back to school. My visiting friends Martin and Vicki were waiting in Offshore 44 at the marina front, a nice place to pass a few hours as the boats bobbed up and down in the harbour. We took off for a walk through Crab Island and up over the mirador into lower Puerto Santiago, a lot of recent development there has revitalised it commercially, just need some visitors in numbers now. Coastal paths are very much in these days in Tenerife, full marks to the councils for improving them, this one led around to Playa Santiago, decked out nicely from the weekends Fiesta Chica. The Virgen del Carmen now resides in an old boat house just near the small black beach, she is always at the centre of the fireworks and other celebrations.

Emerging at the top of the steep ramp, we popped into El Patio bar, recently demolished and rebuilt, I spent quite a few hours glued to the bar there when I lived just up the road. It was good to see a few old friends, many waving as they drove by, even the old Canarian gents on the benches greeted me with their usual good natured banter about CD Tenerife. The Fishermans Museum opposite still makes heads turn with it’s fishing mural all over the facade, complete with statues on the roof, local based French artist Bernard Romain must be proud to see his work stand the test of time and weather so well. Soon it was time to head back south on the trusty TITSA, I’m sure I will be back soon, hopefully to see more visitors enjoying western charms.