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.