Archive for May, 2019
The Pows Get My Vote For Rocking The Church

Luck triumphed over a lack of publicity when the nostalgic guitar sound of The Kinks classic “You Really Got Me” grabbed my ears as I wandered back from my Los Cristianos beach swim. A quick word with the lead singer gave me the joyous news that The Pows were warming up for a Friday night free performance on the steps of Los Cristianos church later in the evening.

I’ve been a long time fan of Pornosurf, who started out doing covers of The Ramones, and was keen to see The Pows who have evolved from the El Medano based rockers. Originally not a poster or banner could be seen to promote the evening gig but some publicity had appeared an hour later when I returned. It turned out to be a promotional night for the new Movimiento Del Pueblo party, ahead of the local council elections a week later. They were also raising awareness of the political crisis that is ripping Venezuela apart, strong ties exist between the Canaries and the South American country and it is often referred to as the 8th island due to decades of movement between the two continents. Pressing local needs were also being addressed through food collections for the El Fraile food bank, La Buena Estrella, and Caritas, the catholic charity that does so much good work. More advance publicity would have helped all those causes and attracted more than the small gathering of curious passers by as the first band Meneses kicked off the evening.

Meneses started with some quite obscure old rock in Spanish, good stuff though, and they mixed in some classics like Queen and The Police covers. The event was aimed at a mix of nationalities, the MDP leaflets were in Spanish and English, they are actively targeting the ex pat voters. A friend enlightened me, the Meneses singer,Arturo, performs at The Moonlight Bar in Fañabe on Wednesday afternoons, and has been known to play a double bass. There´s always at least one “extrovert” at outdoor free events, one chap seemed to have had a few rock and roll Woodbines and was knelt down singing to the speakers. The bars around the plaza were doing a brisk trade and young children were dancing with their parents.

After a break for political speeches, The Pows took to the stage area and launched into “Born To Be Wild” , that set the tone for some cracking tunes from across the decades.The five piece band were a bit squeezed into a corner to the side of the church and had minimal lighting, but the sound system was up to scratch and they knew how to bang out some infectious favourites. The two male guitarists and singer, were joined by a female drummer, and female percussionist as they dipped into the back catalogue of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and even some Jimi Hendrix. One of my stand out tracks was a rousing version of The Beach Boys oldie, Barbara Ann.

As the music sped along, more people began to stop off in the plaza, and the more mature fans showed a clean pair of heels to many of the younger dancers. There was no messing around or show boating from The Pows, they lived up to their name. One guitar chord would just be making its exit as they launched into another up beat delivery. The Pows held court for over an hour and had the new converts bopping to their every tune. A large percentage of those in the plaza were holiday makers, as a recruiting exercise for the MDP it must have had quiet a limited effect but it was another welcome use for the church plaza to go with the classical organ nights wafting out of the building, and the frequent skateboard competitions in the plaza.

The Pows are a very busy band, you should be able to catch them in the south of Tenerife , their Facebook page will point you in the right direction, and many of their gigs are free. It’s always great to see live music, and The Pows were real crowd pleasers.

Making Tracks In Guia De Isora

 

Improving or spoiling, it’s a very fine line when it comes to dealing with nature. The latest Tenerife coastal walk to get a makeover is the stretch linking Alcala to El Varadero in the west coast municipality of Guia de Isora. On my last visit, work was in progress but I returned on a scorching May day to see the finished project, and was delighted by the respectful balance that had been achieved.

There’s a lot going on up west, my Titsa bus journey reflected that, the 477 direct service from Los Cristianos veered up onto the modern by the ring road at Armeñime before heading back down at the new Fonsalia roundabout to back track to the edge of Playa San Juan and then taking the old coast road to my Los Gigantes destination. One of the longest drawn out updates for the island has been to build a new ferry port at the little hamlet of Fonsalia, the closest point between Tenerife and La Gomera. The new 477 route would help to take pressure off the coast road, if the port ever becomes a reality.

So it was with some trepidation, I later found myself at the El Varadero entrance to the coastal walk. First impressions were good, the sensitive two colour tone, and meandering progress of the new surface meant it didn´t intrude like Dorothy´s path to Oz. Little touches like the split level upright wooden slats, and hopefully vandal proof concrete rubbish bunkers, played their part. One of the eternal problems has been the arrival of vast numbers of illegal camper vans and their abandoned rubbish on big holiday weekends. Green chain fencing, and large irregular sized boulders should help to deter those intent on trying to park on the shingle shore.

The Punta Brava coast alongside the trail is notorious for its wild, unpredictable currents and waves that have claimed several lives over the years. This has made it attractive to surfers, a few bobbed up and down in the waves, a slight calima made the horizon a little hazy, normally you can see pleasure boats in the distance. It was noticeable that more people were using the walk, taking time out to enjoy the views, jog, or even cycle on the smooth surface.The new look makes it more accessible, there was always an uncertainty as to whether it was possible to get out of the El Varadero end. I was particularly pleased to see the partially collapsed walls of the old banana plantations left in their semi decayed state. They are an important reminder of the historic and economic past of Guia de Isora.

Ancient and modern interlock nicely just after the halfway point (about 30 minutes) when rounding a headland, the new La Jaquita beaches take over. They start with a series of natural rock lagoon which has metal ladders and small break waters to make it inviting to bathe in. There are also three pocket sized black sand beaches separated by rock breakers which give them a secluded feel. Although only open for a few years, the La Jaquita stretch has earned its Blue Flag for quality, and it flies proudly near the lifeguards look out towers. Add in disabled bathing and changing facilities and a couple of relaxed cafe bars, and it´s a very welcoming place to take a dip.

Development at this end has been spurred by the presence of the Palicio de Isora five star hotel resort, close to the fishing village of Alcala, which has no beach of its own. The expansive decking and sports courts outside the hotel and facing the sea are well used and popular with the younger locals from the village, and they lead you on nicely around the quayside and into the Alcala plaza. It´s a great place to relax and watch the world go by at a sedate pace. I enjoyed my dinner at El Veril, there´s a nice selection of food and drink stops around the plaza. There was even a balcony crammed with home made art animals to make me smile. Normally I would have then pushed on along the coast to Playa San Juan via Fonsalia, but had already packed plenty in for the day. The two ends of the coastal walk are served by regular Titsa buses, so whichever direction you stroll in, it´s easy to get back to Los Gigantes or in my case, back to Los Cristianos.

 

Jony Come Lately Sparks CD Marino Goal Glut

From sub to starter, CD Marino´s young striker Jony was thrust into a vitally important penultimate game of the regular season after Ahmed picked up a pre game knock. Slipping of late, the Playa de Las Americas hosts needed points to avoid being late arrivals at the relegation gate. Union Viera, from Gran Canaria, needed points to to rubber stamp a promotion play off spot. The stage was set and Jony shone like a star.

Viera won their way back into the Tercera Division a year ago and have had a great season but their early efforts were weak. Dani Herrera was easily seen off by blue shirted defender Brayan, Ramon was low on power and home keeper Brandon mopped up his shot, Choco did no better with a hopeful lob. Mendoza and Xiraxi also had chances in the first 10 minutes but found the Marino defence in good form.

Marino´s opener on the 11th minute showed that sharp finishing is better than a barrage of near misses, it was a triumph for their youth programme as Samuel crossed from the left and Jony jumped well to head the ball past the goalie to take the lead. That got Marino flowing, Prince was making things happen in midfield and forced a nervous second take from Alejandro in the visitors net. The keeper got in a right mess when he came out to defuse a Marino attack, he half saved and raced out to chase the ball and ended facing his own goal as Jony slipped his strike past a defender to bulge the net on the half hour. Marino looked the hungrier and more committed side against their strangely subdued rivals.

Viera were in tatters, Samuel fancied his chances and blasted the ball towards the target, Kevin Perez felt the sting as it struck his face, stopping a certain goal was at least a painful consulation, and both teams appreciated the water break it heralded. Refreshed, Viera tried to get back in the game, a quick break ended with the ball clearing the bar. Back came Marino, carving through the Viera ranks with Javi finishing the move with a tap in as the defence froze. Strangely, Viera didn´t make any changes for the second half opening, Mendoza got a sight of goal but Favarel was calm as he won the ball and played it out of danger. Elvis did a back clearance to Alejandro, the Viera keeper sliced the ball and was lucky that it landed just out of reach of Javi.

Finally 10 minutes after the restart, Viera brought on the nippy Segio and it sparked a reaction, it came from Choco who cut in from the right to pull a goal back. The respite didn´t last long, a wave of Marino players surged forward, the ball came to Prince and he evaded the goalie for a neat finish to make it 4-1. The visitors briefly recognised the importance of their task and showed some fight, Herrera hit a powerful shot that brought a decisive diving clearance from Brandon. Prince was having a right royal game, he won the ball and played it into the path of sub Djavan but it ran on a little too quickly. Sesma came on for Prince shortly after and set up Djavan with a smart pass, the young forward stumbled and Viera were able to recover in time.

Moussa was the final home sub, he added some extra strength to the attack as Marino pressed for a big finish. Everyone wanted to help Jony complete a hat trick but it wasn´t quite working. The two goal hero didn ´t let his personal target detract from the team, he continued to create openings down the right and laid the ball off to Sesma for a goal attempt. Jony then rounded Mario with a turn of speed but was frustrated when the goalie grabbed the ball. The fifth goal was a cool finish from Guti who took his time to curl the ball past Alejandro from outside the box. Marino wee good value for their big win and will hope the young players, and more consistency, will see the blues pushing for honours next season.

Santa Cruz Says It With Flowers Crosses And History

If I had been a bee, I would have been in a buzzing frenzy. Even so the fragrant flowers that made the mighty crosses in La Rambla gave my senses a real treat on May 3rd, the Day of the Cross, the celebration of the founding of Tenerife capital Santa Cruz in 1494. There was plenty to see as I hopped off the tram at La Paz, the first part of the wide central pedestrian walkway featured 18 crosses made from recycled materials by local schools and colleges.

It was a great way to teach a history lesson to the younger generation, many of the works were influenced by very modern characters from cartoons and computer games but the hard work put into the colourful creations was reflected in parental pride as they were snapped in front of their art. I’m sure Sir Henry Moore of Manchester would have approved of the joyful character just in front of his reclining sculpture, Warrior of Goslar. La Rambla is full of history, from the street art exhibition of 1974 to the paint peeling bull ring that has been abandoned for decades.

Onto the main event as the sun burst through on the stretch just in front of Parque Garcia Sanabria. The orange and green cross with its suspended orchids in glass baubles set the standard high and the quality was continued through all 16 offerings. Some residents in the flats at the side of the road had planted there own smaller works on their balconies, and the violet blooms from the avenue and parks trees complimented the show nicely. It all reached a crescendo with the biggest piece, boasting apples and blooms.

I took the chance to catch up with a few favourite places around the capital, and spotted a poster for another celebration. Almáciga on the north east corner of Tenerife had its own history to mark. The Virgen of Begoña refers to an event 70 years ago when a group of pilgrims travelling from Bilbao to Santiago del Compostella dropped a bottle in the ocean containing five small portraits of the Virgen of Begoña. It washed up in Almáciga and a shrine was set up to mark the event.

I was looking for omens of a more personal celebration as it was the day before the Canarian football derby between CD Tenerife and UD Las Palmas. The Chicharro statue in the heart of the shopping district looked confident and it seemed appropriate that it was surrounded by more vibrant flowers. It turned out to be a good pointer for a victory.

Blue Flags Flutter With Canarian Derby Pride

Everyone thinks their local derby is special but Canarian pride and passion takes some beating and it shone brightly as CD Tenerife fought back from a UD Las Palmas lead to send the Santa Cruz fans deliriously happy with a 2-1 home win.

There was more of an edge than ever with both sides fighting to avoid getting dragged into the relegation zone. A sea of blue and white greeted the teams but Las Palmas brought 1,500 across from Gran Canaria and turned a top corner of the stadium defiantly yellow. The visitors applied the early pressure and earned three quick corners, thankfully Dani Hernandez was in good form between the sticks to keep them at bay, especially from a Alvaro shot. Araujo was a menace on the left and the Tenerife were missing the calming authority of suspended centre back Jorge Saenz, but they warmed to their task and started to ask a few questions of their rivals. Alberto was doing a good job as Jorge´s replacement but Dos Santos alongside him was wild and unpredictable, his booking before the half hour didn´t help matters one bit. Pekhart had a clear chance for the yellows, Dani stood firm and blocked him but it was tense stuff. Deivid could have given Las Palmas a half time lead if his shot hadn´t have been so rushed and well wide. His team mates must have been concerned at the chances they wasted while Tenerife knew they could do better than in the first 45 minutes.

Malbasic powered through onto a Luis Milla long pass just after the restart, he shaped up for a shot as the ref blew for offside. Just six minutes into the half, coach Oltra brought 35 year old defender Carlos Ruiz on for Dos Santos, it was to be an inspired move. With six years service for Tenerife, Ruiz understood the importance of the derby match up and he produced a masterful performance. Las Palmas had their own wild card, Timor, he had already been booked for dangerous play and a second yellow saw him depart after 55 minutes. It seemed to make his fellow players dig deeper and they took the lead after Dani Hernandez parried a shot from Araujo that Cedres nipped in with a delicate tap.

Coach Oltra responded positively, he hooked off midfielder Undabarrena in favour of striker Naranjo and it prompted a wave of home pressure. Suso was another of the older brigade of home players who caught the mood and made good inroads into the yellow defence down the right. The breakthrough came when Suso and Milla combined to lay on a perfect set up for Carlos Ruiz to head into the back of the net to level the scores. Ruiz charged towards the Tenerife fans behind the goal and clutched proudly at the front of his shirt, there was no mistaking his pure joy. Las Palmas started to wilt, Tenerife had the confidence and spurred on by a huge roar from the blue and white fans, they went for the winner.

With just three minutes left, Suso worked his magic to put the ball across the goal where Naranjo ran in to place the ball past the goalie. What a finish to the game and what a party for the fans and players who have suffered all season. It was a memorable day for all concerned, the 18,760 crowd made it special with both sets of fans adding to the show piece game.There´s no room for complacency at either club, both still have to stave off the threat of relegation in the final five games. Tenerife are three points above the trap door, and Las Palmas just a further three points above. Reus may have gone bust a few months ago but they still complicate the picture as other relegation rivals have three points to come for an awarded game against the defunct team. It´s gonna be a nerve wracking finish, both Canarian teams need to beat the drop, the derby games belong in the highest division possible.