Strange Fellows

January 8, 2010

I haven’t told you about my fellow passengers, have I?

Most of you are familiar with the first one. I had him neatly chopped in 12 slices and shrink-wrapped into 4 DVDs.

Dexter is IMHO the best TV-series ever made, at least the only one which has maintained superb screen-writing (great characters, clever dialogue and and nail-biting plot-lines) for four consecutive seasons. I thought I might need some distraction on slow days so I decided to bring season 1 with me.

Now, if you have missed out completely: Dexter is a forensics expert with the Miami police department. His professional specialty is blood. His main hobby is: killing people. He is mass murderer with a twist: he only kills really bad guys who have managed to escape justice. He is clearly a deeply disturbed person (due to a childhood trauma), but he follows a very strict morale, or “code” as he calls it himself. So if you haven’t yet, I warmly recommend you to check Dexter out. Buy it, borrow it, download it, steal it, whatever.

And then…

The other guy in my bags is Böddi. Now, “who the hell is Böddi?” you might ask. Well, I had him evenly spread-out over 427 hilarious pages.

Stormland (Swedish details, and an English translation of another novel) is a highly entertaining book by Hallgrímur Helgason. Just like Dexter, Böddi has failed (or refused) to adapt to the norms of society. He lives in a tiny town, in the outbacks of northern Iceland. And I can tell you, he is one angry dude. He does things his own way, and loses every job he gets. On his blog he spews his sarcasms over everything he detests about Iceland and the people in his hometown. He then experiences an unbelievable string of unfortunate events, and slowly he starts to lose his grip on reality. But his anger remains unbroken. It then escalates to a Gargantuan confrontation with society. He decides to take them all on, single-handedly, from a horse-back. Epic stuff.

The book was written in 2005, well before the global economic crisis and the total collapse of Iceland’s financial system. So it can be seen as a quite strong and prophetic story on the dark side of the heedless greed that was prevailing in Iceland (actually, not only Iceland (and actually not only was)) before the crash. If you have a soft spot for dark humour, I recommend it warmly.

* * *

It has struck me that we have a few things in common, Dexter, Böddi and me; Dexter loves the Atlantic ocean and often goes out to sea. Böddi often stares at the ocean and contemplates. And the Atlantic is just what made me come here! Even though I do not particularly mind traveling on my own, here I am constantly surrounded by happy couples, which reminds me of my status, and makes me feel a tiny bit like Dex or Böddi. And then, all three of us are travelers of different kinds. Dexter along with what he calls “his dark passenger”, Böddi with his horse, and me with my little rented Fiat Punto!

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind

January 7, 2010

At least a few true movie buffs will understand that title….

In any case, I can tell you the Aliens are here:

Not my photo, but note the size of the earthlings at the stern

This spaceship-like sea vessel is owned by the Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, gossip here. I had to fix some paperwork and go to Santa Cruz, capital of Tenerife, this mega-yacht was anchored there. If you have £200 million Sterling to spare, you can have one of your own.

But that is not all. I have further proof that the Aliens are here. Here is what I saw next to my hotel the other night:

Alien life-forms, arriving in Garachico, Tenerife, January 2010

El Bonbon

January 6, 2010

My favourite drink here (well, one of them) is bonbon:

El bonbon

Bonbon is an espresso with condensed milk. (If you have discovered the joys of Vietnamese Coffee, then you are familiar with condensed milk.) Here you see the milk at the bottom of the cup. As you see it is extremely thick, it does not mix at all until you start using the spoon. Also it is very sweet, so there is absolutely no reason to add any sugar. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I warmly recommend you to give it a try when you get a chance.


Punta de Teno

January 6, 2010

Today I received another warm welcome by the authorities:

“Do you really want to die?”

After passing that rather ominous sign, I drove through some of the most dramatic landscape I have ever seen. The narrow dwindling road just barely managed to cling on the nearly vertical mountain walls., Above me I had spectacular cliffs almost disappearing into the clouds, and below me over a hundred metre drop.

Tenerife’s Land’s End

Punta de Teno really made my day. It lies on the very northwestern tip of Tenerife. Very much like Land’s End in England. Far away in the mist you can discern the silhouette of Gomera Island.


Time

January 5, 2010

One of the greatest luxuries while being on the road is to have plenty of time.

Time to relax completely and forget about itineraries and stuff. To have entire days without any musts. Days to read a lot. Days to enjoy a long siesta. Days to absorb impressions from the trip. Days to just breathe. Such small things make the whole experience so much greater.


Garachico

January 4, 2010

So, it seems I have found myself a new harbour for the night…


Garachico, is an old town that lies on the north coast of Tenerife. (And behold: most signs are in Spanish.) I found a very pretty little hotel with yet a breathtaking view, this version of it is 20 minutes old:

The town has a native population of 5-6000 people. And with three (or so) hotels in town, tourism is no big thing here. People actually live here, which makes the atmosphere so much nicer.

Internet access in mega-touristy Los Gigantes was surprisingly hard to come by, and impossible after 6 p.m. But now I have it from the hotel terrace so maybe, just maybe, my posting will be less erratic. (Scary thought: could it be that my addiction brought me here?)

This post will end here, because I am hungry. I just got here after having spent a fun day with all the attractions at Siam Park, where the slightly morbid Wave was a lot of fun:

And in case you wonder, that is Siam as in Thailand, yes. Apparently the German business guy who built it has good relations with some Thai princess or so.


Los Gigantes

January 3, 2010

I have always had a soft spot for sea views.

And the moment I saw the photos in the web-ad for the apartment I was lost. Can you guess why?

I took these pics from my terrace. So my apartment has a stunning view and every night I fall asleep to the soothing sound of the ocean. Just lovely.

Unfortunately, Los Gigantes as a place is less uplifting. It is a very friendly place, but it is a super-touristy resort. A lot of people love this: The restaurants have menus in at least six languages. There are more signs in English than in Spanish. In the evenings he Irish pubs are showing Premier League matches on huge screens. And the streets are filled with echoes of Lady Gaga and karaoke versions of Bono and Frankie boy. Urrrgh!

I have always wondered why people bother to travel thousands of miles just to see, eat and do the same stuff they do every day at home. Me not. So it is not without a bit of remorse that I leave this fantastic apartment and view. But I need something else.

Back soon.