So my Gran Canaria holiday has come to an end and I reluctantly return to ‘normality’. Of course there are people I am looking forward to seeing but from a distance one realises how silly and stressful some things are in our everyday lives. I’ve had a great holiday and so for this week’s blog I decide to reflect on the specific things that made it great.
1. The weather
This is the reason I went on holiday to Gran Canaria and I wasn’t disappointed. Sunshine everyday though it was pretty normal to have cloud until about 10am when it burnt off. Tuesday was the most interesting where we had light showers followed by a glorious day. Every day I was down by the pool and spent until about 3pm just lying there absorbing the sun and reading my book. I had intended to visit Las Palmas (the big city in the north of the island) but got caught up in my wonderful daily routine. Though on my last full day of the holiday, I did go for a wander in the Dunes which are amazing in themselves – like a miniature desert.
2. The Yumbo Centre
People slag off the Yumbo and ok it is a tarted-up, ugly, open-air seventies shopping centre. But it is also this almost artistic centre for buying, clubbing, eating and chilling. It’s just fabulously crazy and I love wandering around (my main exercise – couldn’t motivate myself to use the hotel gym as planned, does anybody ever?) plus I loved lying in bed at night listening to people enjoying themselves in the Yumbo until about 6am.
I was staying at the Neptuno hotel and one of the best things is the buffet breakfast. Down to claim my lounger with my QPR towel and then to breakfast available 8am onwards. A fab selection of just about everything including delicious breads, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Lovely friendly staff who deal very well with the mixed crowd mainly consisting of Germans and Scandinavians. Generally OK hotel clientele but could be a bit demanding especially around food and most of them shouldn’t have been because they were really fat (and many smokers as well) – clearly the obesity crisis has hit northern Europe.
Tried to eat very little in between breakfast and my evening meal, normally just cake & coffee late afternoon in Cafe de Paris in the Yumbo or even one of Gran Canaria’s lovely big juicy oranges. So starving by evening. Tried to eat different places and there was a wonderful variety of restaurants to choose from including Mexican, German, and Italian. Several nights I ate at the German ‘bei Lelo’ restaurant – one of Dave’s favourites because it is very ‘meat and two veg’ food.
Apologies to all my abstinent friends but I did enjoy alcohol this holiday. I don’t do drugs now because they screwed up my life (and believe me the temptation is always there on the gay scene) but I still drink because I feel I can control it. So normally each day a couple of glasses of wine as well as a cocktail and an Irish coffee to finish the evening. I was normally in bed by midnight each night – feeling nicely slightly drunk; no getting totally wasted and losing part of the next day. Indeed I have a strong awareness of the need not to get addicted and the impact of alcohol abuse on health. Although I do feel I need to cut back now I have returned to London.
One of the nicest things about holiday is finding favourite haunts and becoming well known there through regularly frequenting them. One of my faves this holiday was L’Italiano – a great coffee shop and bar on the third floor of the Yumbo. My regular coffee place to have a drink, watch the world / totty go by, and listen to the great club-type music they were playing.
7. Holiday books
I took 5 big books to consume on holiday but only got through two though still totalling over 2,000 pages:
Eleanor Catton’s ‘The Luminaries’ Winner of the Man Booker prize. A beautiful cover but over 830 pages long. Topic is Victorian New Zealand, not the most inspiring time and place in history. However, the setting is like the American wild west and made me realise the sheer hardship of the colonial gold rushes. And, of course, the stifling morality and hypocrisy as well as the entrepreneurship and drive of the Victorians. A very good novel though ultimately I found it a bit confusing. But at the end of it I was left with a wonderful evocation of the place and period plus some beautiful characters.
Haruki Murakami ‘1Q84’ At over 1300 pages long, this is a treat I have been keeping for a long holiday break. Murakami is a fabulous writer and his stuff is hard to describe – ‘dream-like fantasies set in real life’ pretty much sums things up. A great intro book is ‘Kafka on the Shore’ – highly recommended. 1Q84 is brilliant though daunting. It would be partly true to describe it as a slog but it is beautifully written (and translated from Japanese) and has an incredibly imaginative storyline. Ultimately it really is just a love story but still a bloody good read.
One of the good things about going on holiday alone is that it forces you to talk to people if you want to. And I met some very nice people. Several ex-pats including a young skinny lad working front of house at one of bars, originally from Chester, who gave me some good advice on where to go out to. Also George aged 64 originally from the North East who now manages a bar and lives out there. Also people at my hotel who I kept seeing out on their loungers like Ant from Birmingham and Bill the retired copper from Northern Ireland. Interesting that it appeared to me people in couples were far less likely to talk to people they didn’t know.
9. My Chromebook and social media
I love my little Chromebook because it gives me easy access to the internet and the ability to keep in touch with what is happening (particularly nice to be a voyeur on work stuff without getting involved) but also let’s me join in with banter on social media – like the tragic comedy that is the modern Labour party and being able to slag off Black Friday for the consumerist bullshit that it is.
10. The Horror Channel
I know this seems a bit weird but when you turn on the hotel TV and go through the channels, it is depressing to see all the usual news channels including the ridiculous Russia Today (apparently Jeremy Corbyn thinks it gives a good alternative perspective…) And I found instead The Horror Channel which was wonderfully entertaining. Obviously some dross but also some fun stuff like Dr Who, and the films ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘The Mist’. This channel really is an alternative perspective without telling us how wonderful Putin is all the time.