Archive for November 17th, 2014
The Glories Of Art And The Sea In Santa Cruz

Pimp my ride, go on pimp it, actually as my ride to Santa Cruz was a Titsa public bus it’s probably advisable not to give it a wild makeover. Thankfully others had been more daring and part of my days quest was to track down some of the 10 cars parked up and perked up by the power of paint.

These brush or spray strokes were to highlight the musical art festival of Keroxen and their Friday night concerts at El Tanque, the former petrol tank is itself no shrinking violet when it comes to free expression. The car project was overseen by Sabotaje El Montaje, the movement that transformed the bus shelters on the motorway run in to Santa Cruz. As always some of my planned calls for the day were fruitless but there are always plenty of other discoveries to change my plans.

Parque Garcia Sanabria is always a pleasant diversion and this time the long abandoned Visitors Centre was open and promoting the virtues of the many sculptures around the city. Two exhibitions of “Sculptures In The Streets” took place in 1973 and 1994 and I have added most of them to my files over the years but with little knowledge of their background. The Visitors Centre has them all mapped out and a handy fold up guide in Spanish and English can turn your day into a tick off tour of Santa Cruz.

Further down in Plaza del Principe a series of notices linked great writers to Tenerife. Agatha Christie’s short story based on a stay in Puerto de la Cruz has been widely recognized but I was surprised to learn that Leslie Charteris wrote a short novel in 1937 about The Saint chasing diamond smugglers around the north of the island. After further digging I found that “Thieves’ Picnic” was used as the basis for a Roger Moore TV episode in 1965 – that really raised my eyebrow.

There were three giant cruise ships in port, an increased police presence in the shopping zones showed how much the start of this busy season is appreciated by local traders. I had a wander in the direction of the old port and marina, there are always interesting visitors. A triple mast German training ship, Thor Heyerdahl was stocking up, a crew member told me most of the others had gone to visit Teide but would return to help prepare for a 6 month voyage to Panama. I might have been tempted to sign on but Coldplay was blaring out, half a year of that and I would have been swimming back to Tenerife.

Smaller but equally eye catching was a neat looking vessel with Music Fund on the side. Hailing a crew member I discovered it was a charity boat using music to inspire youth in poor and needy countries, Haiti was the next destination. Under the name of Florestan Around The World they carried a full load of assorted instruments. The Belgium chap I spoke to was himself an organ player and repairer and was in awe of the famous organ in the nearby Auditorium, he had even arranged to pop in and tinkle the keyboard. As the clouds rolled in I headed off for my tour of the Cepsa refinery having already made several strikes in the sea of knowledge, and I didn’t even mention Christmas – oh damn that’s blown it.


CD Marino Fuming At Ref As CD Tenerife B Raid A Point

It was daylight robbery under floodlights, Marino’s Aridani struck a goal bound injury time shot and a visiting defender stopped it with his hand. A bumper Saturday night crowd screamed for the penalty but the ref wasn’t having it and blew the whistle on a tight 0-0 game.

That was the big talking point but Marino were guilty of poor finishing during the game and that combined with resolute defending from Tenerife put the brakes on their runaway leadership of their Tercera section. It was a cagey opening half hour, Tenerife have quietly moved up into third place and are a strong side, the pitch was greasy from pre match rain and neither side wanted to make any slip ups. Home keeper Sergio Aragoneses was rarely tested against his old club but raced out of his goal after 13 minutes to clear danger with a header that any forward would be proud of.

Jorge is knocking on the senior door for Tenerife and the central defender had a strong game apart from a slightly hesitant back pass that gave goalie Dani a wake up call. Pibe and Amado both had speculative shots but they teams took the break on level terms.

Cristo Gonzalez replaced Carballo for Tenerife to start the second half, he looked lively and made some inroads into the Marino defence but the end product was lacking. Captain Jordan got through plenty of work as he marshaled the midfield and helped to break up the Marino raids as they searched for a breakthrough.

Nestor replaced Sesma up front for the blues and was aggressive and determined but still the goal wouldn’t come. Airam blasted a good chance high and a free kick stung Dani’s hands as he turned the ball aside with a full length dive. Marchena tried to unlock Tenerife down the flank but Federico stuck close to him to cut out the service. At the other end Sergio spilled a rare Tenerife shot but recovered to gather the ball at the second attempt. It was heading for a draw that would be more valuable to the visitors, one last surge produced the penalty appeal, as the players trudged off the ref received plenty of personal advice from the crowd and blue players but shrugged it all off.

Inside The Pipeline At Cepsa Refinery Santa Cruz

Oil is a dirty word in the Canary Islands these days as protestors hoist their banners against permission for exploratory drilling around the western islands. The industry is nothing new to the islands, the Cepsa refinery has been part of the landscape on the approach to Santa Cruz since 1930 so with a few days of free guided tours on offer I thought it was about time I got to see how it all worked.

Massive, that’s the only way to describe the 500,000 square metre complex, the outside view did little to prepare me for the sheer scale of the pipelines, storage tanks, and towers. Two coach loads of us were picked up from outside the capital’s bus station, it’s currently overshadowed by three oil rigs in port for repairs, another clue to the timing of the open doors charm offensive. Driving into the complex the first thing I noticed was the big self contained bomberos station with some pretty heavy duty fire fighting power parked outside. It’s not all hard nosed science and technology, they’re a nostalgic lot, the original iron gates of the refinery and a scattering of early equipment had their own proud corner.

First stop was a presentation in the exhibition hall, a whizz through the company history and some off their background. Cepsa has a presence in four continents and 15 countries including depots in the Tees and West Thurrock, Sussex areas of the UK. CEPSA (Compania Española de Petroleo SA) is these days owned by Abu Dhabi based IPIC (International Petrol Investment Company) and employs 11,000 people, 400 in Santa Cruz. The distillation process provides gas, electricity, and asphalt as well as the more obvious petrol, crude oil, and specialist fuel for planes and boats. I was eager to see the nuts and bolts of the refinery, back on the coach we took a slow drive through the interconnecting streets, they are all named like in a small city.

Dusk was falling and the towers and tanks towered over us, it was noticeable that hardly any people were around on foot and warning signs marked the different levels of restricted access. A scrap metal dealer would have been licking his lips at this point, I was mesmerized by the assortment of valves and controls, there were also emergency warning alarms at various points and fixed metal hoses trained on some of the key areas. There’s even a small ravine, Barranco del Hierro, that runs down through the plant. Arriving at the top end of the site we were able to walk around the viewing platform that looks over the motorway to the small port where petrol tankers can dock.

Next stop was the nerve centre, the control hall where everything is constantly monitored. The pipeline plans on the computer screens were like a complicated train network and everything from temperature to pressure is watched over. I was surprised at the relaxed atmosphere; I would have been constantly on edge if I had so much responsibility at my fingertips. The system allows any section of pipe work to be closed down instantly in the event of an emergency. Cepsa do a lot of sponsorship in the Canarian community, I was pleased to see a signed and framed CD Tenerife shirt holding pride of place in one of the inner management offices.

Our last stop was outside the reception area where children were encouraged to clamber inside a large fire truck while we enjoyed a buffet and drinks. The three hour tour was very slick and informative, there has been much media discussion about possible closure of the plant and plans produced for a leisure development on the site but I would imagine it would take years and a pretty impressive socket set to dismantle this giant.