What are the Parents doing?

I had no intention of writing this blog, probably because my opinion would upset a few. Like many, I have seen numerous references over the past couple of days about Momo. I also noticed comments about warnings from the Guardia Civil and as I follow them on Twitter I curiously wondered why those specific tweets hadn’t dropped into my reader, so yesterday I checked their official Twitter account. The only reference Guardia made to Momo was back on 19th July 2018.

I am guessing that the panic started because of the totally reliable source … you know the one that says Teide will erupt any moment and Tenerife earthquake leaves tourists terrified THE SUN. This time the British paper is warning about an internet ‘suicide game’ and how children as young as eight years of aged are being encouraged to self-harm. Now if I have translated the Guardia tweet correctly it is a warning but no reference is made to very young children or anyone being coerced into harming themselves.

Nevertheless, if this is true and because of the source, I wouldn’t like to speculate, but if true, I am left with a question WHAT ARE THE PARENTS DOING?

In my youth, parents would never have dreamt of asking social media (if such a thing had existed) or anyone else for that matter, to monitor that our children were safe. They were, after all, our children and their safety was our responsibility. It was for us to know who they were with, where they were going and what they were doing. But it seems that many modern parents expect others to impose boundaries, rules and limits rather than take responsibility themselves.

It’s in kids’ nature to test their limits and I appreciate parenting in the digital age may be difficult but it isn’t impossible, parents should set boundaries around technology in the same way they set them for regular bedtime, a healthy diet and other routines to keep children healthy.

Any responsible parent must know unlimited and unsupervised access to smartphones and social media can present some very serious risks. Personally, I wonder why little ones need a smartphone, after all, they are kids and social media is not designed for under-13s. It is often against the terms and conditions for children to be using these platforms.

If you check YouTube and Snapchat, they bar children under the age of 13 from using their services because of COPPA. Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account and WhatsApp’s (where this Momo is said to be appearing) users must be a minimum age of 16 years old if you live in the EU. Therefore, hoax or not,  if an 8-year-old has access to such sites this can only mean the parent has abdicated responsibility.

As I said at the start, I wasn’t going to give my opinion, but I did and I don’t expect many to agree, but as the saying goes opinions are like noses we all have one and my view is responsible parents must be RESPONSIBLE!

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Posted in Musings ! | 4 Comments

El Puenta – Adeje

I messaged Christine and Andrew the day before meeting up and asked if they had any preference for where to eat. Nope, we are happy to go with the flow was the reply. So I checked out a few reviews on both Tripadvisor and Facebook and came up with a short-list of 4 which were all in handy locations so that once we met we could decide which to visit.

In the end, we chose Adeje town and headed for the motorway. That was the point when Andrew said there had been an accident that afternoon and a 68-year-old lady had died but because it was now 7.30 we assumed traffic would be flowing normally. Wrong! Thankfully it was clear in our direction but from Los Cristianos, until we left the TF-1 at Adeje traffic on the opposite side of the road was at a standstill and looked as if it hadn’t moved for several hours.

Image La Opinion

We all agreed, we like Adeje and thought it would blow a breath of fresh air into a recently dull local dining scene. By that I don’t mean we haven´t enjoyed our last few meals because we have, it is just that we have recently been returning to old favourites and not found anything new.

We drove into town planning on visiting either La Rambla or El Puente both on Calle Grande and both described as excellent, superb, typical local Canarian, good-value priced restaurants. We were quite excited so thought whichever we tried that evening the following week we would give the other a go.

We decided to park on the waste ground by the Culture Centre but the best-laid plans and all that… A workman told us ‘No Entry’ into the road we needed and directed us in the opposite direction. Flippin Heck! we visited parts of Adeje none of us knew existed and all the while we never spotted a single parking space. After about 15-20 minutes driving around we ended up back at the top of Calle Grande and the workman had disappeared so, rebels that we are, we drove down the road and onto the waste ground where we found a slot.

Adeje town is a nice place, shoppers and local residents sashay by and it all makes for good people-watching, which helps explain the success of most of the town’s restaurants. We nipped through a walkway and were directly opposite the restaurants that are almost next door to each other. La Rambla was full as was the outside of El Puente but we spotted 2 tables that were empty indoors so that was our decider.

Once inside the place mainly looks authentic, there was much use of wood and roughly plastered walls. It also had that ‘drop-in’ feel of a classic Canarian eatery.

However misgivings set in when we listened to everyone around us, French, German, Scottish then saw the large menu in several languages. The menu is broadly familiar if lacking in sparkle but the prices were quite a shock and are those found in Costa Adeje resorts and not what we are used to seeing in a local town. We ordered a bottle of Sangre de Toro, vodka and coke and our normal soft drinks. The service was good and affable despite the perspiration standing out on the young man’s forehead. He said it had been very busy and he had never stopped all day.

We ordered two mixed grills, these cost €33 for 2 people and came with mixed vegetables, chips, chicken, pork chops, steak and spicy sausage. The quality was OK, nothing exceptional but plenty of it so all our dogs did well. We decided to forego dessert as they didn´t look very appetising sitting in a chill cabinet in plastic boxes 😦 or if you wanted a pre-packaged frozen dessert in the glass-fronted fridge.

We picked up our bill and left at 10.15 to find the town had “rolled up the sidewalks“. We walked to a cafe down the road which was still open and asked if they had any cake to go with a coffee but were out of luck. We spotted a cake shop across the road but as we reached it they turned out the lights and started packing up chairs, so we headed back to the car.

We enjoyed our evening as we had some deep and meaningful discussions but our expectations were way off the mark because in spite of mediocre and expensive food the restaurants in town appear to be major hang-outs for tourists acting as locals. A joint decision was that we won’t be back and in future won’t lay too much store on reviews.

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Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments

Santa Cruz Carnival

It has arrived and thousands of tinerfeños get together to celebrate the island’s most popular festivity of the year, the Carnival of Santa Cruz, officially declared a Tourist Festival of International Interest in 1980.

According to historical records, Carnival has been celebrated in Tenerife’s capital since the middle of the 16th century. Despite the prohibitions and restrictions during the Franco era, the Carnival has become the emblem of the city and one of the world’s most popular, only outshined by the one held in Rio de Janeiro.

There are two parts to Carnival. Firstly, the official Carnival, consisting of hundreds of groups, including murgas, comparsas, rondallas etc. then there is the other, where thousands of people, go into the street day after day to dance and enjoy the atmosphere. So much so that in 1987, one of the concerts was attended by more than 250,000 people and was entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza. This record remains unbeaten.

So whether resident or holidaymaker, why don’t you join the party? Below is a short list of the highlights.

27th February: Gala Election of the Carnival Queen 21.30 Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos. The object of the show is to choose your favourite, but the glitter of the sequins, the feathers, the colours, the fabrics … the enormous structure that surrounds the candidates make it an extremely difficult task, everyone who enters is beautiful and the designs are breathtakingly complicated.

1st March: Opening Parade 20.00 Leaves from la Plaza de la República Dominicana and ends at la Avenida Francisco La Roche. This night is very special for tinerfeños, who wait for the party to start. Carnival floats, groups, people wearing group fancy dress all parade to the beat of the music along the streets to honour the Carnival Queen. If you want to integrate then you should dig out your wig and your glad rags as this is the perfect time to have fun and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

The first Saturday and Monday, I don’t know why are considered to be particularly good and attendance is massive. Thousands of people go and party around the kiosks in Platillo Volante or Plaza Weyler. There are also stages and live music at Plaza de la Candelaria and Plaza del Príncipe.

During the second week

5th March: Coso Apoteosis del Carnaval, Avenida Francisco La Roch 16.00 This is the parade of all parades. Among the participants are the Queen of Carnival, the Children’s and Majors Queens and their respective courts of ladies in waiting. To the sound of infectious music comparsas, murgas adults and children, rondallas, choreography and musical groups, well-known characters, floats and decorated cars parade and dance along the route and it takes many hours.

6th March: Burial of the Sardine 22.00 Leaves la calle Juan Pablo II and ends in la Plaza de España before Burning the Sardine on la Avenida Francisco La Roche. This is the most irreverent event of all at Carnival. The “chicharreros” dressed as widows (often men in drag) mourn for the sardine as they say goodbye to Carnival. After a slow but vibrant parade, the Sardine arrives at the Avenida Marítima, where it is set ablaze and turned to ashes, taking away the excesses committed by many at another crazy Carnival.

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Posted in Attractions, Fiestas and Pilgrimages | Leave a comment

Canarians do things differently

I recently read <<the residents and spanish have become alot more arrogant and rude towards the tourist>> My initial reaction was rubbish!. Then I thought these people are judging what they don’t actually know or understand and over the short period of time that they are on holiday. However, the comment got me thinking…

Have you ever wondered about the differences between the Canarian community and those of us who share their island? Is it really as some would have us believe sun, sand, siesta and fiesta or are Canarians different and if so why?

The population of Tenerife has always lived under some regime or other. First the Conquistadors and more recently Franco which is why they take pleasure in the small things in life. Fun consists of eating and drinking, singing and making music, partying, enjoying each other and especially chatting and laughing.

One of the first noticeable differences is the way Canarians greet someone. Not only do they kiss, but invariably you get an arm over your shoulder or a close embrace. One thing is certain, they greet you with full conviction and we Brits are not used to that.

Some say Tinerfeños are lazy and the Canarian day is disorganised and doesn’t stick to a recognisable clock. Nothing is less true. Offices and shops start later in the day but for many locals, the working day starts in the middle of the night. Cleaning services start at 4 o’clock in the morning, as do garbage trucks to collect our waste. This is why you often see folk stopping work to have breakfast between 10.00am and 11.00am. As a result, lunch follows between two and three o’clock in the afternoon. This can also be a time to socialize in a cafe or bar with friends or colleagues and is why many retail businesses close in the afternoon, often until 4.30 or 5.00pm.

Then it is back to work and you can shop again until 9.00pm, sometimes 10.00pm which is why many Canarians are still eating their evening meals when the rest of us are getting ready for bed (that is those of us who live here, not holidaymakers).

Another misunderstanding is Spanish speakers chat very quickly, but the same can be said about other languages, they all speak quickly to non-native speakers. And of course the difference between Canarian and Spanish apart from a few words is dialect, the reality is it is no different to Geordie or Brum, the regional languages used in the UK.

If you compare the Tinerfeño lifestyle with the Brits there are differences but everything is relative. If you take the time to get to know the locals you could not wish to meet a happier or more friendly group of people and this is their ingrained tradition and culture.  I, therefore, suspect the opening comment on this blog could be karma – I’m a great believer in what goes around comes around! But seeing the replies to it I was not alone.

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Posted in Living on Tenerife | 10 Comments

Discover La Laguna – Tenerife

For several years, we have discussed going to La Laguna but this has not happened, it was too hot to make the journey, too overcast, too late in the day, we just wanted to stay somewhere local. There was always a reason why we didn’t quite make it. Yet having now been we should have done it years ago as La Laguna is a touch of old-style history and leisure time all bundled together and a lovely day out.

Only really knowing the area around Al Campo shopping centre we decided that rather than get lost we would head for Santa Cruz and catch the tram. This runs every few minutes and a return ticket is €2.70. If you are the sort that uses the bus frequently and has a Ten+ card you can also use these on the trams. All you have to do is validate your tram ticket and that’s it, you are on your way.

La Laguna is a shopper’s paradise. The streets overflow with a host of individual and unique shops where you can find something different. Window shopping is an adventure and the shopkeepers allow you to browse at your leisure. I felt totally relaxed which for me is unusual as normally I feel stress and pressure when shopping.

The streets are busy but feel friendly and a combination of historic and modern, traditional and contemporary make for a mesmerising blend.

After a journey from the south and before exploring the historic centre it is nice to relax in one of the many bars, pastry shops, or cafes and enjoy a snack, before heading to Plaza del Cristo.

Guided tours (some in English) are available from the Tourist Information Office and you can choose between a number of routes that take you to the various landmarks. The office provides all the information you need to visit the historic district and is a good place to start.

To really unearth the magic of the old city, you need to walk its cobbled streets. The brightly coloured buildings, flower-filled courtyards of the beautiful mansions, many of which have become public buildings, the squares where buskers entertain and parks where children play, old men sit and nostalgically discuss the past, and students, carrying backpacks, face the future. With so much character it is simply gorgeous to stroll and soak up the atmosphere of this wonderful town so full of hidden treasures.

Although La Laguna is the next-door neighbour of Santa Cruz, it is completely different and rarely makes it onto the tourist radar. Yet it only takes a couple of hours to admire the impressive architecture crammed into such a small area.

There is however a word of warning, even during the summer months La Laguna is one of the coolest places, in every sense, in Tenerife, it is also cloudier and rainier so if like us you visit in the winter, make sure you wrap up warm.

Posted in Tenerife Towns | Tagged | Leave a comment