Day 1 – And peace comes dropping slow…

June 17, 2010 in Spain | Comments (0)

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The seawater pool near the shore

THURSDAY 17 JUNE

On the Spanish island of Tenerife –and loving it.

I like Spain, on my third visit in a year. I like the calm, slow friendly ways, the space. Less dazzle, snap and go (compared with Italy). Less tantrums and vivacious charm (compared with France). Less warm nosiness than Turkey. To name a few countries I have visited in the last couple of months.

But they are rather bad at English even here on the Southern coast of Tenerife –  Costa Adeje, where the luxury hotels line the seafront with palms and pools, restaurants and marble lobbies.

Sheraton La Caleta is charming – far more pleasant than I dreamt the day I used the internet to write some text for our brochure.

I was always a little stunned by its intense orange or salmon colour in the photos. Its colour is indeed intense, but it is more of a desert hue. The colour and design remind me of North Africa, some kind of fantasy castle in the desert. Palms wave against the ginger ochre walls which curve like a fortress around a treasure of pools and gardens, affording balconies for all. Vast public spaces bring a sense of freedom and peace – I sit on a vast terrace with no one in sight.

To get here we flew over the ocean from Barcelona. Approaching Tenerife you think – “wow where will we land?”, as you look out at bony dry mountains. But we curved in over a city where rich ochres and mystic green on flat roof houses make an exotic geometric pattern, and on to flat land where Tenerife North airport lies.

And then the 45 minute drive on a smooth motorway over a crumpled, withered landscape, occasionally blazing with billboards offering coke and other not very original messages.

I was by now anxious with hunger, after the dreadful lack of alternatives on Spanair. So all I could think about was asking reception when I could eat.

I rushed up to my room to deposit my laptop, see my room and powder the nose, so to speak. When I opened the door  I  could not get the lights on, cautiously (too cautiously) sticking my card in the slot.

In the dark I felt my way along the wall into the bathroom, felt bath. Felt more bath…felt…basin…went back…tried light. No.

Must use loo. Back in again. Felt walls, felt glass door… shower cabinet. At last another door…ah…now a bidet. At last the loo…

Suddenly the light came on. The porter has arrived.

I came out to the bathroom door.

Do you like your room? He asked.

“I haven’t seen it yet” I said acidly, as I stepped into the marble hallway.

But then I saw it. Yes I said. I really like it. The décor was classically nice – king bed, table adorned with fruit and mineral water, with cosy chairs. But it was the balcony that was so special. Totally enfolded by gingery ochre walls with flower beds and real earth and total privacy. Looking out over pools and palms to the sea.

Bathers on Duque beach

Here on Costa Adeje the one really genuine thing is the sea. There is something so appealing about turquoise water on dark volcanic sand and rock. It glints in a richly elegant and non-postcardy way, hinting at magic for those who get to know it.

The other thing about Costa Adeje is that everyone here is on holiday – low pace, slow pace holiday, lying by the pool. Standing or loping along the promenade that runs from the Sheraton up to the Plaza and Duque beach. Dining with view of the sea. At this serene end of the Costa Adeje you find no disco. No markets waving plastic. Modestly tucked away boutiques in a little shopping centre offer  chic designs in genuine fabrics, and actually, made in Europe (wow). A little breather away from made in China.

Costa Adeje  is  a place just to be for no practical purpose but just to be.

I like the warmth, warm air smelling of sea and pool water, even under a grey sky as today, all is bright. And there are flowers.

PARIS SHOPPING CENTRE

In a little café watching France and Mexico in the world cup, with the swarm-of-bees sound of the public in South Africa reaching us in the balmy air of Tenerife.

Waiting for my Tortilla Spanish omelette. I think he had to go to buy eggs. I am a little afraid it might get dark.

But it’s so nice being here. Warm glow of sun emerging from cloud. The ancient feel of a beautifully created stone wall fringes the lane, and palms.

And the TV with its bee sound reminds the world is caught in a net of shared experience.

And now the omelet. I try to discard the lovely fresh roll and eat the omelet, while the bee sound swarms in the background and the balmy air of Tenerife breathes around me.

The guy at the bar/the cook/the whatever is pleased I like the omelet. He is glad Spain lost. Why? They were too full of themselves he explained. I am from Uruguay….but I have a Swedish girl friend. I want to go and live in Sweden. She likes living here in Tenerife…its warm…


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