Living In The Tenerife Lockdown

Nothing, no clatter of suitcase wheels over the tiles, nobeeping of car horns, amd mo murmour of conversation. It´s day 17 of Spain´s Lockdown and as I stroll onto my Tenerife apartment balcony at “Kirby Towers” in Los Cristianos, my mind is seeking reassurance that i´ve not been left behind by a secret evacuation. The tourists are gone and the hotels sit empty awaiting deep cleans but life goes on across the island. The pulse is slower and more subdued but still strong.

Mundane routine is a small sacrifice as the front line medical and emergency workers strive to stem the tide of infevtion and death from the coronavirus. Boredom and negativity are the enemies, chopping the days into manageable chunks is my chosen route to keep sane. Going out for supermarkets, chemists, and banks is still allowed in short daily, singular doses. The shelves are well stacked and the toilet rolls have lost their superstar status after the intial panic buying, and once past the plastic gloves and antiseptic gel, the aisles are spacious. People crave brief moments of interaction, a casual wave or a cheery hello at a respectful distance goes a long way. Police and army checks keep the general flow of people moving and many cars are being stopped to ensure they obey the one passenger limit. The Titsa bus company is running a trimmed down free bus service with just 18 passengers allowed on at any time, and a reduced ferry service continues o link the seven Canary Islands.

The weather has been a mixed bag, bright sunshine is great for balcony reading but the twinkling of the complex pool is a tease to me as it is sealed off like the beaches, they are forbidden fruit. Anything that attracts groups of people is a seroius no no. Cold nights have heralded snow on Mount Teide and short bursts of daytime rain have fuelled the indoor cleaning frenzy. Tenerife is a melting pot of different nationalities and backgrounds. Swapping stories of homeland responses to the virus is giving us a feel of the scale of the crisis. The daily 7 pm minutes support of the front line workers has caught the imagination along iwth the balcony messages of families, and provides a moment of solidarity, purpose, and shared hope. The recovery from the Coronavirus will be lomg and complicated, and for a tourism reliant island like Tenerife, the impact on business will be brutal. For now its one step at a time, encouraged by the outpouring of positive thoughts and actions, and the kindness of so many people.