Archive for May, 2012
Tenerife History – To Airbrush Or Not To Airbrush

Blimey it’s more exciting than Eurovision and we all get to vote. Arona council have produced the list of new alternative names for Calle General Franco, the road that runs from the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre down past the church square and onto the old beach. The big day of decision is Wednesday 13 June but why does this well known road have to go all ex directory?

It’s all part of a the Law Of Historical Memory brought in by Spain’s socialist government in 2007 to espunge memories of the Franco era from public buildings and monuments. Some monuments were removed quietly overnight and others have been largely ignored, but regardless of political views I am a bit uncomfortable with such sweeping changes. History happened and in this case it is particularly relevant in the Canary Islands as Franco started his rise to power here when exiled to supposedly stop his plans. Basically the law amounts to airbrushing parts of history away, maybe the next mob in power will decide to remove reminders of events they don’t agree with.

Anyway here are the choices of new name for Calle General Franco – LOS ARTISTAS, LAS MARCHANTAS, LOS COSTEROS, LOS PLAYEROS, MARCELINO CAMACHO, BARTOLOME DE SARABIA, JUAN RODRIGUEZ FEO, JOSE DE VIERA Y CLAVIJO, NICOLAS ALVAREZ HERNANDEZ, JOSE MANUEL ENCINOSO MENA. As you can probably guess the peoples names are politicians of various eras which goes back to my original point about people of different political persuasions choosing to stiffle memories of the past they consider wrong. The voting takes place on 13 June at Los Cristianos Cultural Centre from 9 am to 7 pm but you must be registered on the padron. Just be thankful, if this happened in the UK Simon Cowell would turn it into a game show with premium rate phone votes, and we would end up with Calle Bonzo or Calle Patch.

On a similar theme some councillors in Santa Cruz want Plaza Weyler renamed, I wrongly assumed that General Weyler was also from the Franco era but he goes back a lot longer. Originally from Mallorca, Weyler was Captain General of the Canaries from 1878 to 1883 and when back on the mainland he ordered the arrest and imprisonment of a Canarian independance fighter, Segundinio Delgado in 1902. So you can see why people might be a bit miffed at his name marking a well known landmark in Santa Cruz, just for good measure Weyler is also credited as inventing concentration camps in Cuba – charming chap. A quick trot up the road beyond the La Paz area is the old crumbling bull ring where Calle Horatio Nelson interesects with Rambla del General Franco.

That’s another anomoly, Nelson’s defeat when trying to invade Santa Cruz is remembered with an annual celebration and the old British Admiral is held in high esteem with a monument to him down at the dockside. What’s in a name – quite a lot it seems.


Aridane Leads CD Tenerife Into The Next Promotion Play Off Challenge

Hands up anyone who thought the newly arrived Aridane was a waste of space. Hang on I can’t count that many, and yes I have both hands up, but with a regular starting slot Aridane has improved steadily and this 3-1 home win over Badalona was his finest hour. Apart from a anxious spell when the visitors pulled back to 2-1 behind, this was a near perfect afternoon in an atmosphere harking back to the glory days of promotion to the Primera.

Both main strikers Aridane and Perona played a fine unselfish team game. Quique Medina sprung a few more pre match surprises bringing Tarantino and Sergio Rodriguez back into the defence in place of Medina and Cristobal and they did a decent job. Zazo must have thought his wonder goal in the 1-1 away draw a week earlier would cement his starting place but Victor Bravo was preferred and rewarded the coach’s faith with a powerful opening goal after 36 minutes. Perona pounced on a loose ball, started to head for goal but realising his path was blocked he layed the ball off to Bravo whose long range smash left the goalie groping at air.

It was an inspiring day to be a chicharrero, the stadium was decked out in blue and white bunting and as CD Tenerife took to the pitch an avalanche of tifo and toilet rolls produced a blue and white snow storm. It certainly gave the team a flying start, Perona was through on goal after 11 minutes, he beat the defence and took the ball wide before shooting, somehow the keeper scrambled back to clear his line. At the other end a fierce shot at Sergio was easily smothered but a booking for Tarantino left him flirting with a 4th dismissal of the season and Pablo Sicilia had to be replaced with Medina after a clash of heads left him with blurrred vision. Perona could have had at least a couple of goals had it not been for the woodwork but a half time lead was what we had hoped for.

The second half opened in style, Chechu floated in a corner and Aridane glanced the ball into the net with a commanding header. The party mood cranked up a few notches, angelic voices were in full cry, bodies were bouncing up and down, and we even had cheer leaders adding a touch of glamour as they raced around the pitch side barriers – maybe some of the wrong smoke had got up my nostrils cos I even thought I saw Super Mario smile! Fair play to Badalona, they refused to give up and pulled a goal back from a corner, the ball broke to Ceballos, time and the defence froze and he lashed the ball into the net. The away goals rule meant an equaliser would have been enough to win the tie for Badalona so they pressed forward. Sergio made vital saves from Garcia and Robles before Aridane showed how good he can be. The big forward took the ball down the left and beyond the defence, kept it in play at the byline and slotted it back to the on rushing Chechu to make it 3-1. It was a magnificent goal and the players piled on Aridane to celebrate.


The 13,379 crowd could sense victory and the wave rippled around the stadium – long time since we have seen that. Kike Lopez had a chance to increase the lead, he guided the ball past the keeper at close range but also just wide of the post. Badalona were a spent force now, Tenerife counted down the minutes and the final whistle was celebrated by players, fans, and even a few up on the flat balconies high above the stadium. Another hurdle jumped but now it’s away (3 June) and home (10 June) with Linense from just outside Gibraltar. The quest continues.






Tenerife Work In Progress – Inauguration, Consternation, And Celebration

Delays and over runs are a fact of life in Tenerife, noone expects any project to run to schedule – or budget, but I find it a bit annoying when they have a show piece inauguration for a project before it is finished. It’s nice for the politicians to get their grins in the media but looks silly when the fences go back up after the ceremony. Over the last two weeks I visited the sites of two major building projects a few days after they were unveiled to the world – and found drastically different results.

Let’s start with the new Garachico port, much neeeded to boost the local economy it was started in 2008 with a finish date of 10 September 2011 and a budget of 33,150,0oo euros. The revised date was mid January 2012, I had a peek early in that month and it was clearly a long way from finished but even then showed it would be a pretty impressive home to 200 berths and even a small ferry. The inauguration was set for 14 May so I planned a trip a few days after that. The big day was splashed over the local media with two small boats bobbing up and down in the port but it was eerily empty when I called in and the fences were back up.

The port still lacks gruas to lift boats in and out, it was daytime soI couldn’t tell if the electrics were working for the street lights around the dock. Fair play they have made massive strides, the port wall and dyke was defiantly made up of 1,700 concrete blocks of 70 tons each – I didn’t count them all. There was a big Neptune theme running along the concrete surrond with bigger murals of the King of the Sea’s head at regular intervals. Hopefully it will be just a few more months before it is functional and busy, wouldn’t it have made sense to do the big bash later?

Then on 18 May Callao Salvaje’s much delayed beach received its inauguration – cue photos of councillors making speeches on the sand but I didn’t see any of people taking to the water. Ever hopeful I headed up west a few days later and was greeted by the uplifting sight of sun bathers, swimmers, and even divers enjoying the fresh and inviting beach. Playa Ajabo was always a wild natural beach at the mervy of frequent big waves, a dyke and a quayside reaching out across part of the cove have tamed the sea and on a hot clear day it was a lovely place to be. Work started in 2009 and stuttered along as the cost rose to 1.8 million euros, whenI last looked in February there was still a huge pile of sand waiting to be spread out on what resembled a building site.

Things are very different now, wide walk ways down at each side of the cove and a wooden path leading to the shore beckon you to lapup the sunshine. I like the two outcrops of rock that protrude through the sand to break up the eyeline and add a bit of character, and far round one side beyond the quay there is a series of steps that makes a nice chill out zone to read or just enjoy the sea view. There is more to come, a raised changing and toilet block at the rear of the beach is not in use and a kiosk at the very top is awaiting someone to take it on selling snacks and drinks. Benches are at key points and on my visit a few people were enjoying a mini picnic, it’s a very family friendly beach.

Nature will no doubt put it to the test at some point but they look prepared, a large area of netting is guarding against any small rock falls and a tunnel and furrows in the sand at each side of the beach should channel any storm water straight out into the sea. It’s been a long wait but it’s a classy addition to the area. I must pop back soon and have a mice stroll along the cliff top path from Playa Paraiso followed by a cooling dip in the sea.


Zazo To The Rescue With Valuable Late Goal For CD Tenerife

One nil down and the seconds ticking away at Badalona, next Sundays home leg of the promotion play off round was looking like a tall order for CD Tenerife. Cristobal pushing up from right back crossed the ball into the goal area and Zazo (above) launched himself among the flying boots for a brave bullet header that should shine the way into the next knock out round.

This was no classic performance from CDT, for much of the game they were struggling to cope with Badalona’s lively forwards, always looking for an opening and spreading the ball from wing to wing with ease to torment the Tenerife defence. Sergio Aragoneses was again immense making so many telling saves, although he will takee some blame for the home goal after failing to clear the ball. In theory this was the strongest line up for the blanquiazul, Cristobal and Llorente returned to full back duties but Llorente in particular had a poor game. Kitoko was back in midfield and when Kike Lopez charged straight at the home goal in the opening minute, the travelling fans had cause to hope for a win.

Kike set up Aridane a minute later but he fired over the goal. Then Badalona showed their qualities, Victor curled a free kick that Sergio did well to take and Munoz put the ball in the Tenerife net only to have it ruled offside in the approach play. Llorente got caught napping, it took a sharp interception from Kike to snuff out the danger, then Llorente got booked for a wild swinging tackle. Pablo blocked at the post, Kitoko made a good clearance, and Sergio stopped another Garcia shot. Tenerife made little headway up front, Perona was wasted playing deep and only came to life just before the break putting a Chechu pass just wide, and flicking on a header to Kike who also missed the target.

The second half opened with a body blow to Tenerife, the defence dithered and Sergio couldn’t hold onto a shot leaving Goikoetxea to pounce and make it 1-0 to Badalona. Tenerife led a charmed life as Badalona scraped the bar and Victor shot just wide of Sergio and the post. Bravo came on for Kike and had a clear chance after Perona flicked the ball onto him, the final shot was wild and wide. Kiko Raton replaced Aridane and missed after a turning and unleashing a rushed shot. At the other end Sergio was busy, a long free kick was gathered at his feet and with his defence deserting him he had to race out of his goal, first to chest the ball away and then to tackle a home player bearing down on goal.

Badalona must have fancied coming to Santa Cruz and trying to nick an early goal to make it near impossible for Tenerife, it needed something special to give Tenerife a vital away goal, thankfully Zazo’s determined dive made the difference and his late goal sent the Tenerife fans wild. Zazo had the goal in his sights again when Munoz upended him and got a red card, a little scuffle followed but the draw was safe. Tenerife will need to play a lot better to reach their promotion goal but they are well placed for next weeks return leg at 5.30 pm at home.

CD Tenerife’s League Whimper Before Badalona Play Off Bang

With the Santa Cruz thermometers popping in the mid 30 degrees, met office advice was not to do anything too energetic. CD Tenerife took this to heart with a low key, plodding display and lost 2-1 at home to RSD Alcala – saving them from relegation. Thankfully last day of season blues affected all our rivals for the opening play off round and mass defeats ensured second spot and Badalona away and home over the next two Sundays.

Suspensions forced changes onto CD Tenerife, Meji took over the left back spot from Llorente but the big surprise in midfield was a first start for local youngster Sandro, a few weeks after his brief sub appearance – it was an inspired choice. Just 9 muntes into the game Sandro took a free kick deep on the right and wafted in a perfectly weighted ball to the far post where Aridane was waiting to accept the gift header. This should have been the springboard to repeat the 4-0 away win but Tenerife were too casual and Alcala too hungry and when Kike lost the ball to Sesma he fed Alexander who charged at the home goal. Pablo Sicilia and David Medina parted and he raced through to tuck the ball past Sergio Aragoneses for a 1-1 scoreline, now it was time for us to really sweat.

It was all a bit untidy, Meji didn’t look comfortable at left back and without Kitoko the midfield couldn’t set the tempo for the game. Sandro didn’t get the ball laid off to him as often as he needed but when it was at his feet he delivered some incisive passes and crosses, Aridane was working hard up front but Perona was a little deeper and his goal scoring edge of recent weeks seemed rather blunt. Into the second half and Tenerife perked up initially, Kike had a good chance from a Perona cross but Juancho managed to cover his goal. Sandro got booked for a over zealous appeal for a penalty and coach Medina did the smart thing and took him off to avoid spoiling an impressive full debut. Zazo was his replacement but his fresh legs made little difference to Tenerife’s cause, Kike saw his shot bounce off the crossbar after Aridane had set him up, the big forward departed soon after injured, Kiko Raton was a natural replacement up front.

Alcala were desperate to save their Segunda B lives and pushed forward, Tenerife repeatedly failed to clear the danger and Alexander turned superbly in the box to fire home the winning goal after 74 minutes. The Tenerife players must have been aware of the other scores coming in on the giant screen, basically there was nothing to fight for, the final whistle saw the Alcala bench erupt with joy – a great result for them and for the 9.370 crowd it was a timely reminder that the hard work is just about to begin.







Slumber Party In Santa Cruz

The crunch of the blades and the swish of the ice, it took me back to my days of supporting Ice Hockey but there wasn’t a hip check or a bench clearance in sight at Sleeping Beauty On Ice, just some skillfull dancing, dazzling costumes, and rampant music from Tchaikovsky. With the opening night performance of La Bella Durmiente to review for Tenerife Magazine I headed up to Santa Cruz Auditorium mid afternoon to pick up the tickets,the girls were coming up later.

It was a scorcher and feeling that jeans would be more in place for a night out than shorts, my little legs endured a warm time under wraps. Besides the stunning visual impact of the concert hall it’s a great setting on the sea front between the old Castillo de San Juan where Nelsons troops landed before being repelled, and the busy port of Santa Cruz. The cafe in the Auditorium opens from 9 am to 3 pm daily and an hour before any show and they fold back the doors so that people can spill out onto the steps and concourse wth their snacks and drinks.

Beyond the sea wall there is a Music Hall Of Fame painted on the rocks by a local grafiti artist. It crosses all barriers of nationality and era, Bono, Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand and Elvis all looked up at the Auditorium wishing they were playing inside. I also spotted favourites like Kurt Kobain, Dave Gilmour, and Jimi Hendrix all sharing the serenity of a sunny Santa Cruz afternoon. Several manky thin cats were also prowling among the musicians (Cat Stevens maybe) fishermen were launching their lines, and a few blokes were even swimming in the less than clear looking Atlantic water.

Anyway with some time to kill I headed into the main shopping area of Santa Cruz to grab some food and check out the vibe, then one of my usual calls, the port. Only one cruise ship in but a new one on me, Costa Luminosa is from the same Itaalian stable as the ill fated Concordia and has the same big yellow funnel. This monster, built in 2009 is 450 metres long and carries 2,260 passengers, the capitaal has done very well out of cruise passengers this last year, sometimes five ships racked up at a time.

Going down to dock level I headed for a flash modern yacht that was gleaming in the by now 28 degree sunshine. This was Titan, a 78 metre long palace launched in May 2010, only 7 cabins but probably with show jumping facilities in each room, and a speed of 16 knots. The flag indicated the Bahamas, that was bourne out by the name Hamilton, capital of Bermuda, on the side, a later study told me it was in the top 50 luxury yachts in the World – wrap me up a dozen.

Finally it was showtime, so after meeting the girls at the bus station we went over to the Auditorium just in time to meet Imperial Ice Stars artisitic director Tony Mercer, a Mancunian based in Moscow with his family and team of dancers. I interviewed Tony last year before the Swan Lake opening night, a busy and talented chap who started out as a football goalie with Droylesdon. On with the show, read the review here.



CD Tenerife Hit Form As They Secure Play Off Spot

As if we weren’t nervous enough TV Canarias decided to share CD Tenerife’s vital game at Marino Luanco with badly timed link ups with Vecindario’s relegation battle over in Pio land. The blanquiazuls turned on a Grandstand performance as they grabbed a 3-0 win to seal the promotion play off spot and their quick, slick attacking play left the tv coverage looking more like Acorn Antiques.

It was an edgy opening, Tenerife looked like they had come to nail the play off spot rather than tempt fate and leave it to next Sundays final home game. Sergio Aragoneses made a powerul two fisted save from a corner 2 minutes into the game and Kitoko had to make one of his trade mark interventions to rob Rivas in a menacing position. Tenerife settled, Kike Lopez got into a good position out wide but ran into defenders when Aridane was begging in front of goal. Raul Llorente sent in a fierce shot but home keeper Ponzo was able to push it wide. The opening goal was well crafted.Chechu cut inside a full back and lobbed a tempting ball up for Aridane to rise and head it into the home net. Fans had to squint to see the goal in a little box our game had been squeezed into while TV Canarias concentrated on Vecindario – thank goodness for replays.

Sergio leapt like a basketball player to palm away a high corner and at the other end Kike Lopez let the goalie off with a low, slow shot that he easily gathered. Jony was the danger man for Marino, Sergio Rodriguez went misssing and he charged down the wing, Sergio Aragoneses did enough to narrow the angle and his shot flashed across the goal and pinged to safety off the post. Just into the second half it was Jony again, heading over and then setting Castano up with a neat free kick that he fired over the goal. Tenerife had more class than their hosts, Chechu (below) was the provider again fooling 2 defenders and slipping the ball across to Perona to make it 2-0.

Zazo had been picked in midfield ahead of Marcos and had his big chance a few minutes later but was foiled by Ponzo in goal. Play broke to the other end and Sergio made another great save, this time low and near the post. Perona is back to the lethal goal scorer he was in the first half of the season, he pulled the defence wide and stroked the ball past the keeper to make the points safe at 3-0. Rounding off a solid team display Aridane nearly doubled his tally but Ponzo managed to block him. A well deserved win, looks like my scarf wont be getting its annual wash yet – bring on the play offs.