Archive for February, 2010
Striking out in the sunshine of Tenerife north

Touching home base, stepping up to the plate and ball park figures are nothing new to me, not because I’m an expert on baseball, but I used to work in Oxford with an accountant who constantly used that awful management speak. If your wondering, yes he was, a complete and utter one. Despite that, a visit to see Tenerife Marlins baseball team has been on my to do list for a couple of seasons, so yesterday I set off to Puerto de la Cruz to see them training.

This week has been hot and sunny after the storms of the previous weeks, a 343 Titsa bus whisked me up to Puerto in just over an hour for 7.65 euros on my bono ticket. Coming in to Puerto on the motorway Mount Teide looked magnificent coated in glistening white snow well down it’s peak, as the temperature registered 29 degrees. Tenerife Marlins play at El Burgado, just past Loro Park, a 381 bus from the temporary central bus station got me there in 5 minutes, well before the morning training session was due to finish.

My very basic knowledge of baseball comes from films like Field Of Dreams and Major League but we are lucky to have the current 5 times Spanish champions here in Tenerife. Tenerife Marlins have quite a few South American players but they have an eager crop of local youngsters making quite a name for themselves. The team management were very helpful, filling me in with background info and making sure I didn’t get my head blasted off by a stray strike. You can read my full article on Tenerife Marlins at The Marlins new season starts this Saturday 27 February at Noon in El Burgado.

Taking a leisurely stroll back into Puerto de la Cruz along the coast road overlooking Playa Jardin, I could see the beach was busy despite some big waves crashing in. Back in town I was drawn to the walkway above Playa San Telmo where tourists posed with backs to the large rolling waves, go on smile for the life insurance payout photos. With time to spare I met up with Jack Montgomery, fellow Tenerife Magazine scribe and co writer of Real Tenerife Island Drives. A few shady drinks and a chance to put the world to rights was just what we needed in the heat of the afternoon.

I carried on my strolling, Puerto de la Cruz always looks pretty and well presented, yesterday it was in very regal form. I ended up back at the bus stops for my 5.15 pm return bus, with just enough time for a coffee in the street above the now deserted and delapidated wobbly bus station. After my slurp I asked the barman for the toilet key and he gave me a bottle opener, was this a make fun of the gormless looking tourist moment? maybe not, a nifty flick of the flat end of the opener slipped the toilet lock, very bizarre.

The journey back south was swift eneb though this late afternoon bus calls in at both the north and south airports. The day was still lovely and sunny but even in high summer Los Rodeos north airport seems to be shrouded in low cloud, and yesterday it was almost fog like. Hammering down back onto the TF1 motorway, the sun soon emerged again lulling me into a soft snooze as I headed home to Los Cristianos after another satisfying day up north.

Frail defence sees CD Tenerife lose 4-1 at Athletic Bilbao

Shall we start with the good points? CD Tenerife didn’t give up trying, even late on when 4-1 down, and the traveling fans could still be clearly heard giving it their all as this dire defeat drew to a close. Monday nights stirring 1-0 home win over Mallorca was suposed to be the springboard for a decent run and escape from the relegation zone. Instead back came those stupid basic defensive errors as the away drought continued.

Llorente headed over the Tenerife goal just after the start but Nino had a half chance on the turn and Juanlu had a speculative cross, both were taken cleanly by the home keeper. Then the nightmare started, Bertran was too slow to get back from an upfield run and with Toquero bearing down on goal, Culebras had to try to intercept him. It seemed the gentlest of touches from Culebras but the forward went down, the ref waved the red card, and Llorente converted the penalty.

The second goal started with a long clearance from the keeper, Llorente won the aerial challenge with Alfaro and nodded the ball onto Toquero, who ran through the Tenerife defence for a simple goal. Alfaro and Nino worked a great exchange late in the half but Nino couldn’t beat Iraizoz in goal.

Athletic thought they had added a third soon after the break but it was clearly offside, another defensive lapse gave them the chance to make up for it. Koikili drilled a low cross in front of the Tenerife goal and Iraola had time to shape up and take his shot in the area. To their credit Tenerife hit back, Juanlu laid on an inviting pass to Alfaro, who slipped it past the keeper. The final nail came from Gabilondo, another player given the freedom of the goal area.

Alfaro tried a curling shot that just missed the bar, and Nino was through on a break and set up substitute Kome who skied his shot at the clouds. Nino managed another pop at goal but the game was well out of reach. The pressure is mounting now, getting at least a point at home to Real Madrid next Saturday night (7pm) is a tall order but vital to avoid slipping further out of touch.

CD Tenerife are Carnaval kings

This will go down as one of the classic nights in the Heliodoro, CD Tenerife full of confidence and passion seeing off fourth placed Mallorca 1-o, and the Carnaval crowd full of song (and beer) roaring them on to a much needed win. A late injury to Manolo meant changes to the defence, Culebras came in for a rare appearance and had a fine game.

The Armada Sur pre match Doradas went down well as we watched the colourful, crazy and downright strange costumes that fans were wearing, The Morons came as Batman and a Wicked Queen (you can guess which was which) and Twat Hat looked spooky in a Scream mask – well he does serve spirirts. Onto the game, there were some great outfits around the terracing, very camp looking security guards lent over the top tier but I was more taken by the police chicks, adds a new meaning to “will you come quietly Sir?”.

Mallorca are red hot at home but don’t travel well, Tenerife tested them from the start and soon got their reward. Alfaro  picked out Nino with a perfect ball and amid the hesitation for a possible offside call, Nino slotted it into the net for a 1-0 lead. A couple of minutes later he nearly added another but Nunes blocked his effort. The visitors only looked good in patches, Suarez unleashed a 25 yard rocket but Sergio pulled off a great save. Marti tried to squeeze the ball past Sergio at the post soon after but the keeper was again equal to the attempt.

Tenerife came out the stronger for the second half, lifted by the fantastic Carnaval atmosphere among the 18,000 crowd. Israel keeper Aouate had to be at his best to deny Omars top corner shot and a low effort from Nino. For once it was Tenerife looking the confident side, but Mallorca had their moments, Suarez tested Sergio again and lively sub Webo came close with a diving header. Nothing was going to spoil this party, not even 5 minutes of injury time conjured up by the ref, Tenerife held their ground to milk a deserved ovation at the final whistle. Any of the players going down to the all night Carnaval celebrations would be assured of a queue of free drinks, they earned it. More pics and coverage on

Get It On, Bang The Gong, Get It On…

…sang Marc Bolan. Little did I know, swinging my flares to T Rex in the 70’s, that one day I would be banging away, like J.Arthur Rank, inside a pitch black oil storage tank. The Espacio Cultural El Tanque was the venue, the converted tank is just up from the Auditorium, and just along from El Corte Ingles and the main bus depot.

Just in case the tank isn’t strange enough they have added an old American style coach as a walkway down from the street. Once past the reception, I took the dark path up and emerged in the barely lit interiorof the tank. As my eyes adjusted I could see the 18 gongs suspended in a circle around the tank, each was picked out in a spotlight and had a drum stick complete with fluffy cod ball head, just crying out to be swung at the gong. In the centre of the circle sat a white figure covered in letters that spelt out the names of seas, the huge steel girders still thrust up towards the top of the dome, where small lights twinkled like stars.

The work is called Jerusalem by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, I was the only person inside the tank (apart from my non living statue friend) and the whole atmosphere was eerie. I sneezed and it echoed mockingly around the metal cage, good job I hadn’t been on the curry the night before, I just had to try a gong. The drumstick was suitably sturdy and the resonant crash as it hit the metal was wonderful, I savoured the shimmering sound and waited for a rush of action but it just settled back into that dark silence. Each gong has a verse written on it from Cantar de Cantares by King Soloman, they all refer to love in various forms such as “Love Is As Strong As Death, Jealousy Is Cruel As The Grave”. You have until 21 February to experience Jerusalem, from Noon to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 2pm on Sunday, and it’s FREE.

Outside, the real world had its own bizarre offerings, it’s Carnaval time, and the previous night was the biggest celebration to date, the Cabalgata (launch procession) followed by lots of drinking and dancing. It was a subdued and quiet Santa Cruz that greeted my early arrival, but within minutes of the TITSA bus entering the city, I noticed a few hairy men in dresses lurching along on their high heels. Plaza de España was being hosed down and the lake was securely sealed off to deter anyone thinking that they had become amphibious. I headed to Parque Garcia Sanabria for my first art assignment, the Cielo/Sky Part Two exhibition.

Parents were strolling with fancy dressed children in hand, as tired clowns crashed out on the grass looking less than jolly as the hangovers kicked in. I grabbed a coffee at the park cafe and found the organiser of the exhibition that features 12 Californian artists, part of a twinning link. Shelby Graham curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery in Santa Cruz, California was joined by Miriam Durango, curator of the Circulo Belles Artes a short stroll away in Calle Castillo. There’s a full article on the California connection on

After whizzing off to El Tanque I crammed in some more art at TEA – Tenerife Espacio de las Artes in Avenida de San Sebastian, a real favourite of mine. The building is as much a work of art as the exhibitions, always a joy to visit, especially as the three main halls all have new displays, but more of that at a later date. Heading back into the centre of Santa Cruz, bodies were stirring and the hair of the dog was merging into the late afternoon preperations for some rousing street concerts. Some costumes were starting to look well lived in, but the Chicharreros can always dig deep to find more Carnaval energy. I already have a return visit booked for Monday nights CD Tenerife game v Mallorca, and will be diving into next Saturdays big party day and night, there’s never a dull moment in Tenerife.

Big buckets and spades on Las Vistas beach

Resilient and adaptable, that’s Tenerife. Last weeks record storms and rain fall made all the major media outlets around the world, a friend told me her daughter phoned from Australia to check on her, after reading about the deluge. If you read my previous post about Santa Cruz, you will know that within hours the emergency workers and council cleaners were on the case, a simliar response was also made down here in the south.

I was back swimming in calm seas at Las Vista beach, Los Cristianos within days, the beach did take a bit of a pounding but that has now being addressed. Inevitably the torrents of rain water rushed down to the coast, carrying debris from trees, rocks, and rubbish, when it hit the beach it carved its way through the sand to the shoreline. Forewarned, the beach workers stripped back most of the wooden decking for the sunbeds and disabled areas, but some was still covered in the avalanche. Most of the shoreline debris was quickly scooped up, but there was an unexpected treasure trove as thousands of small shells washed up, great for any collectors. Yesterday there seemed to be a lot of broken bamboo coming in, hopefully we wont get a wave of Giant Pandas to follow.

The big boys moved in and JCB’s set about levelling the piles of sand, ready to re-lay all the decking. All this was done without distrubing those worshipping the returning bright, hot sunshine, and the movement of tides and sand, gave plenty of encouragement to the scavenging seagulls. So just a few days after the downpour, you would hardly notice that the beach was churning with the power and fury of the storm. It was good to see that even the beach volleyball courts were soon back in action, I lingered a while to check that the young female players were settling back in nicely.

If you want to see some stunning photos of the storm in and around Santa Cruz, at it’s height, check out the selection on the Tenerife Magazine Flickr account.

More away day gloom for CD Tenerife in 1-O loss at Osasuna

I change my socks at least once a season – even if they don’t need it, so why can’t CD Tenerife coach Oltra change his tactics. Another game with Nino stuck up front on his own, Alfaro lurking somewhere back in midfield, and no punch in front of goal. What a surprise, we lost 1-0 at Osasuna, still no away win this season, and firmly embedded in the relegation zone.

The pack remains the same after the transfer window was untouched by CDT, the least we can do is shuffle what little we have to break a formula that just doesn’t work. The first home game of the season saw CDT beat Osasuna 2-1Â but it never looked likely today, if it hadn’t have been for the dependable Sergio Aragoneses (above) in goal, Osasuna would have won by a bigger margin. They came out blazing Padiani hit the post in the first minute but was offside, Aranda shot wide a minute later and Sicilia made a timely interception a few minutes later with the dangerous forward in a good position. The former Birmingham City player came back for more with a sizzling long range shot that Aragonoses turned aside.

Tenerife got into the game, Alonso shot at the home keeper and later blasted a hard shot wide but in between Luna had to spare Sicilia after gave away the ball and Sergio was decisive running out to deny Masoud, and followed that by taking the ball cleanly as Pandiani bore down on him. Alfaro tried a weak chip, and Ricardo hammered a long shot wide, but for much of the time Nino was again isolated.

Just after the break, the winning goal arrived, Camunas put a good ball in from the right to find Aranda, he placed his shot as Manolo ran back to intercept it, but he was too slow and when he tried to hook it away, it was already in the goal. That sparked a brief flurry from Tenerife, Alfaro hit the target but was offside, Nino got the ball well up the field and held it up, but by the time Kome had arrived to help him, the defence had closed in on him. Alfaro pounced on a half clearance from Nino to shoot wide but Aranda came closes to scoring with a hard shot that brought the best out of Sergio again.

At least we got to see Omar back in action, on as a 70th minute substitute but even a draw was beyond Tenerife, Nino could have had the last word, instead his shot sailed by the home post. And so the pressure builds, next Mondays 8pm home game with Mallorca is vital to get Tenerife back on track, or it could see coach Oltra becoming a hot dog seller at Santa Cruz Carnaval. In the meantime he might like to look at Airan who scored 2 more goals for the B team in their 3-0 win over Leganes, taking his tally to 25.

Deluge sweeps through Tenerife

Living on a volcanic rock in the middle of the Atlantic, leaves you little protection when nature kicks up rough. The storms were forecast, but just toyed with us on Sunday before unleashing their fury yesterday. I was back in Santa Cruz today in the company of 18 British students from Bucks New University, over for practical research into tourism, and airline and airport management.

Having arrived from the recent snows of High Wycombe, and seen much of yesterdays rain through a coach window, they took much of what they saw in their stride. The 90 kms per hour winds, and 187 litres of rain water per square metre, left 25,000 homes without power, officially the worst storm since the infamous killer of 31 March 2002 that claimed 8 lives. All 7 islands were hit, with 25,000 people having to manage without power, schools were closed and transport was severely disrupted.

Falling rocks on the main north to south motorway meant the students had a 4 hour journey back from Puerto de la Cruz yesterday, but emergency staff had done a great job, and we arrived in Santa Cruz in barely an hour from Playa de Las Americas. Travel was also helped by the fact that today was a holiday, and not many had to take to the roads. That meant we were greeted by a quiet Santa Cruz with road junctions bogged down with rocky sludge, but council workers were already busy with shovels and brooms.

As we split up in search of the few places open, I found a tram abandoned at the Teatro Leal stop, the whole system for both lines was still closed down. Barranco Santos (above) Â that runs down past the Heliodoro stadium, was flowing well, it was a raging torrent yesterday, I can never understand why they have built new roads and paths in there. A few cafes and shops were open, well the young visitors were there to observe the layout and general impression of the city, so they at least got a good general idea. On the way back to the coach, by the port, I spotted an emergency helicopter hovering and lifting an injured person to safety, although the sea was surprisingly calm.

Back on the coach and off to La Laguna, as the sun poked its way through the clouds. I showed principal lecturer and Doctor of Geotourism, Tom Hose around the historic centre, as most of the party went on to Los Rodeos airport to get a feel of how the place works, leaving a few others to scatter and explore La Laguna in their own way. There was much more open in La Laguna, and a feast of photo opportunities for our keen photographer doctor. The rain seemd to have done little damage to the historic centre of La Laguna, so the students found plenty to feed their enquiring minds before we headed back south. Keep an eye on for a more in depth look at the University field trip, and as for the rain, I think we have had more than enough of that for a good while.

No silver linings, just clouds for CD Tenerife

A squad boosted by 6 transfer window signings, good use of substitutions, and clinical finishing. Sadly that was Real Zaragoza, not CD Tenerife as one of only 2 teams below Tenerife snatched a 3-1 win in Santa Cruz. This was awful, especially after last weeks hard fought home 0-0 draw with Valencia, leading 1-0, coach Oltra went against all his past attacking swaps and took Kome off to bring on holding midfielder Roman. A disputed penalty later the visitors were level and Tenerife surrendered.

I feared a bad day, storms were swirling around the island and once at our pre match bar, I realised I had forgotten my season ticket, thankfully The General had a spare to sell. As we entered the ground, the rain began to pour down, but we were happy to get wet, as Tenerife started well, and were all over a disjointed Zaragoza side. Juanlu continued his great form, setting up Alfaro after 11 miutes, but his header went wide. Sicilia could have gone one better, his header was blocked on the line by Contini. Former Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant was getting nowhere down the wing as Bertran stood firm, and new Czech signing Jiri Jarosik showed little of his glory days with Chelsea, Birmingham and Celtic.

The first half went much the way of the previous few, Tenerife well on top but unable to finish, Nino and Alfaro got into some good positions but just didn’t have the killer touch. The home fans did their best to lift the players, the heavy rain was now joined by bright warm sunshine, giving a surreal feel to the terraces. Half time chatter was about regretting our missed chances but there was a nice surprise after the resart. Sicilia crossed the ball in from the left and Juanlu popped it in the net from close range for a 1-0 lead. Then came that crazy change from coach Oltra, of all the players to bring on, Roman had to be the most puzzling and unpopular, his first action saw him get booked and he was back to sloppy passing and losing possesion.

A few minutes before Romans arrival, Zaragoza introduced new forward Colungu and Gabi, and they added more punch to the visitors. Arizmendi joined the attack a few minutes later and on one of his first runs he went down in the area after a Luna tackle, Chilean Suazo, another new player, stepped up and equalised. Suddenly Zaragoza had control and looked hungry whilst the Tenerife players heads dropped. Suazo set up Colungu and the lively forward put the ball over Sergio in goal to give the visitors the lead. The game was over, it was just a matter of how heavy a defeat, 4 minutes later Suazo turned provider again, passing to Lafita who unleashed a 30 yard screamer into the top corner of the net.

The rain was easing by then but the depression was just setting in, all our worst nightmares had come true. Fans streamed off the terraces to the exits, and at the final whistle the Tenerife players slunk off with barely a wave to the crowd. All eyes are now on the transfer window, midnight monday is the deadline – we need a helping hand.