Betrayal: Ben's treachery!

Trip Start Dec 22, 2007
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Trip End Jan 16, 2008


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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!  Breakfast was Honey Nut corn flakes, and some coconut yogurt and crappy mango-mixed juice rounded out the meal. 
 
First town of the day - Fataga - not much there.  The landscape so far today is fairly arid, a sharp contrast from yesterday's lush, green valleys.  The next town was Santa Lucia de Tirajana - a pretty nice town that it supposed to have a cool museum about the history of the native Guanche people, but we couldn't find it.
 
We stopped at a beautiful hotel/lookout for a few pictures and a bathroom break.  The temperature is fairly cool at this elevation, but it wasn't too bad because it was a beautifully sunny day. 
 
Next was Tejeda - we were looking for what is supposed to be an excellent pastry shop but couldn't find it.  We suspected that it had closed down.  It's too bad because the guidebook described the pastries as "sublime".  Other than that, there wasn't much here to see or do.  It was a little like Arcos, Spain with its high elevation and rocky cliffs.   
 
So far today, the highlight has been the drive itself, as opposed to any sights in particular.  Gran Canaria truly is a mini-continent with its numerous micro-climates.  Lush, rainforest-like valleys, mountains, desserts, beaches - it's very cool to see it all once you escape from the tourist hordes.        
 
Next up - Cruz de Tejeda - it marks the centre of Gran Canaria and its historic Caminos Reales (King's highways).  From here there are views of Roque Bentayga, Roque Nublo, and Gran Canaria's highest peak, Pozo de Las Nieves. 
 
Back to Maspalomas and the beach.  We had some difficulty finding parking (poorly planned resort!) - upon arrival, B&H went to get some food and I went to the beach.  I needed to get some evidence of a tan as proof that I went some place warm for Xmas!  I told them to meet me back here in an hour or so ... a mistake! 
 
It became cloudy and the wind picked up so it was pretty cold.   There would be no suntanning today.  I literally "chilled" on the beach - I had brought a small hand towel with me and tried to use it as a tiny blanket.  I couldn't take it any longer so I cowered on the ground next to a snack hut, reading my magazine.  I've been swiping them off of the flights - it's good practice because all of the articles are written in both English and Spanish. 
 
Back to the condo to change, and then to the Yumbo centre, the largest mall in town.  There are 200 shops, restaurants, and bars ... but it's bizarre because there are only five or six distinct types - clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, electronics, and duty-free.  They were repeated over and over, ad nauseam.  Yumbo = crap-o. 
 
The plan was to find a decent restaurant there and if not, we would go to the little town of Puerto de Mogan.  We couldn't find anything, so we hopped into the car and left town.  It's also a tourist town, but is a lot more "real".  It turned out to be a great idea because it was a beautiful drive, with the lights of the hotels on the coastline. 
 
Puerto de Mogan is quite charming despite being a little touristy, and is definitely not insipid like the larger resorts.  There was only one restaurant recommended by the guidebook, but it was full.  It's too bad, because the food looked and smelled incredible - unfortunately for us, they only had four tables.  There weren't many other options in the harbour area - they were all either full, or had run out of food after New Year's Eve. 
 
We stumbled upon "Tu Casa" - a supposedly authentic Italian restaurant?  I've grown leery of "authentic" places in the Canaries because 99 times out of 100, they are crap catered to the tourist masses from the UK and Germany.  But the menu definitely had its share of authentic Italian dishes, so we gave it a try. 
 
I ordered a fresh OJ - sour!  Our waiter was an old German gentleman, which caused me some concern as to the authenticity and quality of the meal.  There were a number of Spanish-speaking customers that appeared to be locals, so that made me feel slightly better.  Overall, our meal was excellent.   
  
The drive back to Maspalomas was a little scary.  I fell asleep just before leaving the undivided section of the highway - when I woke up, we were on the left hand lane and I saw headlights coming at us.  I thought we were about to have a head-on collision but then realized that we were now on the divided section.  After my underwear dried, I managed to fall back asleep. 
 
I awoke again to an even scarier sight - I opened my eyes and saw some shadowy figures on the highway directly in front of us.  It was sort of like something out of "Ghost" - remember the part where the shadowy figures come out to take the souls of the newly-deceased? 
 
They looked like they were on horseback and they turned back to look as us, and almost appeared to be frightened.  Either we ran over them or they ran off into the distance - I'm not exactly sure.  It's all a little fuzzy because it all happened in only a matter of seconds - but it was some scary crap!  Later on, I mentioned it to Ben but he saw nothing.  By the time we returned to Maspalomas, my undies had dried a second time.      
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