Archive for March, 2020
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.



Unwrapping Guimar Layer By Layer

Montaña Grande doesn´t just mark the half way point from Los Cristianos in the south to the Tenerife capital Santa Cruz in the north. Looming large over the motorway, it´s also a punctuation mark between El Puertito on the coast and Guimar up in the hills.A mere 275 metreshigh, the volcanic cone has long been calling me to have a look. It´s peak remained enigmatic as the pathway wound around the base without delivering me to the summit, but it still woke up my walking mood.

From the bus stop just north of the crossroads, I could see Candelaria in the distance. I have often trodden the Samarines coastal walk from the spiritual heart of the island, through El Socorro surfers beach and along the edge of Malpais de Guimar to El Puertito. This time the solidified volcanic flow stretched out between me and the sea as I enjoyed the clusters of prickly cardon plants and breaches in the stone walls. Tomatoes, lettuce and other crops once flourished here and attracted a range of insects to the rugged landscape.

El Puertitp came into view over an hour after my start.Cloud had bubbled up as it often does over the bowl like valley near the mptorway. The large plaza facing the sea was quiet and the calm sea stretched down to the south àst the modern sports marina. Catching a 120 Titsa bus gave me a 15 minute ride up and under the motorway into Guimars older core. The cloud was pressing down as I admired the Plaza Las Flores with its fountain and statue tribute to the gardeners who created and maintain this tranquil spot.The explosion of colour at the bus station was in marked contrast to the stark, austere frontage of the old Guardia Civil HQ.

There was an air of apprehension in the quiet Friday afternoon streets. I wqas hopeful that my day out would allay thoughts of the Coronavirus threat but notices of cancelled shows at the former Cinema Los Angeles, and instructions for safe communion at the imposing San Pedro church added to the sense of forboding. As further cases of the virus were confirmed, I caught the Spanish government announcement of the State Of Alarm via the TV in a local bar, it was a sobering moment. However the enduring culture and history of Guimar gave me cause for hope. The HQ of a local radio enthusiasts network backed up the statue dedicated to “ham radio” trail blazers of earlier decades. Cimmunication brought people together then and will continue to do so.

Getting off my return bus to the motorway I had to smile at Guimrs name written large in the paving stones outside the old cement works. and on a proud welcome sign of tiles, leading into the municipality. Recently Guimar announced a 120 million euro investment in tourosm. Maybe it was with one eye on the proposed new beach and four hotel project for Punta de Abona just down the coast. Plans can change so quickly , as events were about to prove.


Hugs, Handshakes, But No Hand Ball As CD Tenerife Rise To 12th Place

Masks, gloves, and bizarre pre match rituals were making headlines across European football, but in Santa Cruz, the home  crowds hand wringing was over poor eye sight. The dreary first half should have produced at least a CD Tenerife goal from the spot after a blatant defensive hand from visiting Ponferradina. At least the refs focus was better for the 77 th minute winning header from outstanding home defender Sipcic to seal a 1-0 win.

The creativity of midfield maestro Luis Milla was lost to a suspension but Undabarrena got a rare run out and worked hard to break uppromising early moves from Ponferradina. Shaq Moore also serving a one match ban, was a more difficult gap to fill. Daniel Lasure overcame an uncertain start on the left as Nahuel switched to the right. Neither side showed much first half flair, too many square balls and back passes sucked the excitement out of the game. The best opening was made from a deep ball that Dani Gomez held up only to see Nahuel snatch at this shot and clear the crossbar.

Ponferradina arrived in 8th place and had two good play makers in Omar Ramos and Nacho Gil but neither sides goalie had much wear and tear on their gloves in the first 45 minutes. The second half perked up a bit. Lasure started to show some ideas, and a goal mouth scramble saw the visiting keeper get a viral touch to the squirming ball as Dani Gomez tried to toe poke it over the line. Another corner from sub Javi Munoz needed a stretch from the goalie to ward it away.


Bermejo replaced Nahuel on the hour but he was still some way short of match fitness and the sparkling form he showed in early season. Dani Gomez tried a nifty interchange with the newly summoned player but it didnt quite work. Joselu´s goal scoring form after his January arrival has evaporated and he gave way to captain Suso. Sipcic has grown into a dominant central defender and also adds threat to set piece attacks. Another Javi Munoz corner was met by the Serbian´s glancing header as an away defender played him marginally onside. The goal was a fitting reward for the dogged determination of Tenerife. Otola was awoken from his slumber in the home goal to expand his muscles to tip a dangerous shot past the post to secure the three points.


It was not a scintillating performance from Tenerife but coach Baraja has added a steely resolve to the squad and the 9,392 fans were even more delighted to see that the win leapfrogged the team above inter island rival Las Palmas. Both sets of players showed the usual respect at the end of the game by embracing their opponents but the shadow of the Corona Virus outbreak was destined to throw more challenges in front of the upward charge. The next two games will be played behind closed doors, the second of those being a real relegation six pointer at home to Malaga – oh yes it´s still that close.