America the beautiful
Trip Start Dec 22, 2007
26Trip End Jan 16, 2008
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I heard there was a good burger joint with some really good fresh fruit juices nearby, but it wasn't open yet. We popped into El Corte Ingles so that I could buy an alarm clock. The saleslady asked me what colour I wanted - I said it didn't matter. "Of course it does, you're buying it!" I wasn't going to argue with a Spanish woman, because most of my conversations with them usually involve me doing lots of nodding, smiling, and drooling.
Wannabe Spanish Casanova Tip #1: Lots of Spanish hotties work at El Corte Ingles, and lots of Spanish hotties shop there
Off to the promenade for some food. We wanted some kebabs, but it wasn't open yet. Ben was hungry so we went next door to Costa Canaria, a pretty modern and stylish-looking café. They had some very neat sliding doors on the bathrooms. Their kitchen didn't open until noon, so we just grabbed a couple of cortados and waited for the Turkish joint to open up. It's not as touristy here in Las Palmas, so nothing is open early for lunch. We sat on their patio for 15 minutes, then got up and moved 10 feet over and sat down at the Turkish joint's patio.
It was 22 degrees and sunny - time to tan! It was a little breezy, but still a beautiful day. Unfortunately, the beauty was shattered by a an old man walking by in his banana sling - my eyes!!! Scanning the beach, I realized that coming to the Canaries from the peninsula was like going from Spain to Portugal - you cross the border and magically, you think "What the heck happened to the women???" Perhaps it's because after seeing the most beautiful of the beautiful, anything you saw after would pale in comparison.
I tried the Cerveza Grifo that Ben was raving about the other night - good stuff
The clouds rolled in and cooled things off. D@mn it - the small smattering of hotties on the beach covered up! But unfortunately, the old guys in banana slings did NOT - scary! The sun did come back out and gave us a chance to chill on the beach. It was hot today - I think it got up to 27 - of course, this happens on our last day together in the Canaries.
B&H wanted to tan for awhile, but two hours was too much downtime for me so I grabbed some crappy gelato. I tried the crappy hazelnut and some even worse gofio (a local staple). The gofio was grainy and had a terrible flavour and kind of smelled like play-doh. The place advertised itself as having "artesanal" gelato - I think not! Go to Italy and learn how to do it right, you jack@sses!
After the beach, we hopped into a taxi for the Vegueta and Triana districts. It only cost us a euro more to take a taxi versus taking a bus - the advantage of traveling in groups
We did some shopping along Triana and then Viera Y Clavijo, and Cano streets. There wasn't much to see in the shops, but there was plenty to see on the streets ... ahhh ... it felt a little bit like the peninsula today, with scores of Spanish beauties around!
I saw this cool watch by Police on my flight to London in their duty-free catalog. I've looked for it everywhere in the Canaries, but no one seems to carry those watches (despite advertising that they do). What the heck? Guess I'll have to buy it on the plane ride home.
The old part of town was very neat. We popped into the modern art gallery - it was a cool space, but the exhibits were so-so. One focused on Manuel de la Pena - the architect behind the touristic abomination known as Playa del Ingles. How can you have any respect for a guy like that?
There was also an exhibit by Paul Klee, focusing on childhood dreams and memories, and how they are forgotten as people age
The Abad museum - it had an interesting movie on the Moroccan dual identities that exist in Spain. Many work abroad, make money, then go home to Morocco for a "vacation". As a result, they don't really fit in anywhere (something that I can identify with!). Something like 10 billion Euros are transferred back to Morocco in money and goods every year, I think - I'm not sure because that seems a little high. I would have liked to stay longer, but there were still too many things to see and do.
Casa de Colon - no, this wasn't a proctologist's orifice ... uh ... I mean office ... It was a beautifully preserved traditional Canarian home. There was a very cool gothic/medieval looking basement that contained a display of Ecuadorian artifacts.
The enclosed courtyard was spectacular - fountains, pillars, and cobbled stones. Very peaceful - it had a tropical colonial feel. There was some crappy medieval (isn't almost all medieval art crappy?) and Flemish art upstairs
Next was another museum - I think it was called the museum of plastics? They had a fuzzy photo display (purposely done this way) of the interior and exterior of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. Nothing special.
We wanted to try "La Chascona" for dinner. More specifically, I wanted to try it because the guidebook described it as employing a young, trendy waitstaff (translation: Spanish hottie waitresses), but it was closed. The notice posted outside said something about electricity problems? Maybe they didn't pay their bills?
Since it was still a little bit early for dinner, we decided to grab a drink/snack nearby before heading back to the hotel area for dinner. Plaza Hurtado Mendoza was a lovely and perfect spot - "Patagonia" was a neat little Italian-themed cafe. We grabbed a couple of cortados for the guys and hot chocolate for Ha, forgetting that hot chocolate in Spain is more of a chocolate pudding for dipping churros into.
The Christmas lights gave the plaza a nice ambiance ..
We walked back to Parque San Telmo to catch a taxi back to the hotel. It was a very nice walk - it's prime senorita-watching time! It seemed like the taxi driver was taking a long way back, with unnecessary turns. I was thinking "This b@stard isn't getting a tip. He's trying to scam us! But then he pulled up directly in front of the hotel, and the ride cost no more than the ride out earlier today.
We decided to try "El Olivo", an upper-scale place near the hotel. It's tiny and is usually fully-booked, so we were hoping that we could get in. It still wasn't open when we arrived just before 8:30, so we popped into a grocery store to grab some water, and B&H also wanted some food for their very early morning flight tomorrow.
Lucky for us, El Olivo was empty tonight. And lucky for me, the waitress was the prototypical cute, sweet, shy Spanish hottie! She served us some very crisp, chewy, and delicious buns. I was very impressed with them - you could even say that the waitress had nice buns, and it would definitely have two meanings! When served with a selection of gourmet butters, the buns were even tastier (the restaurant's buns, not the waitress's - though that would probably be yummy too ...) It was so good that I needed a second helping of the waitress's buns!
America - as a tourist, I'm no longer a big fan of it
She definitely has that shy, demure quality that I find so attractive in Spanish women. She had a VERY pretty smile - why am I such a sucker for a cute brunette with a beautiful smile? Wannabe Spanish Casanova Tip #3: Hotel/restaurant/hospitality staff are good targets to hit on - they are captive audiences and are forced to put up with your advances with a smile! They can't tell you off no matter how annoying you may be!
B&H kept smirking at my repeated attempts to talk with America - they even snapped some photos. But it's alright - my embarassing escapades in Spain have been well-documented on the internet for all to see. America told me that she spoke no English, but Ben noticed on several occasions that she was grinning at a few of the typically bizarre comments I was making in English
America's only been to the mainland once, and it was only for a single day when she took her university matriculation exams. That would really suck, because she mentioned having to go to Malaga - which I believe you can only get to via Cadiz, which is something like a 24 hour ferry from the Canaries. She's considering going back to university to study speech therapy. When I suggested she could help me improve my poor Spanish, she flashed a smile and giggled. I knew exactly what she was thinking - "If you think you have a chance with me, you probably need psychiatric therapy more than speech therapy!"
Anyway, it was a good meal, but not great. The execution wasn't quite up to par, but who cares? The yummiest dish in the restaurant was America! After finishing up dessert, I tried one last line - we got her to come over and take a picture of us, and afterward I asked her if I could take a picture of the most beautiful waitress in all of the Canaries. Yes, I know it was cheesy - but she happened to be the prettiest waitress I've seen in the Canaries. I told her that it wasn't for me, but for my friends because they never fully believe me when I tell them how beautiful the Spanish girls are
After a giggle and a blush, she agreed (Spanish women are extra cute when they are embarrassed and blush!). Wannabe Spanish Casanova Tip #4: This line seems to work for me. I've tried it twice now, and it does leave the girl feeling flattered. A similar line did the same to Isabel last year. But sadly, this cheesy line only leaves me with a photo, and not the real thing :(
Earlier, America had expressed a desire to learn English. So as I left, I told her "If you ever learn English and want to practice, here's my email." I know it'll never go anywhere, but why not? It's funny because I've left my email with a number of random women in Europe, and with the exception of people I've befriended, I've never heard back from one. But who knows - maybe America will be the first! I never actually asked her if she wanted to get together for a coffee or a drink - she knew that I was getting on a ferry for Tenerife the next morning and I didn't want her to think I was just some random tourist looking for a fling. If she were to email me and express any interest - I'd have no problem getting back on a ferry and heading back to Las Palmas.
I'm sure everyone reading is thinking I'm the most shallow guy, only caring about looks
So who knows if any of what transpired tonight is anything like what I've written. My Spanish is far from perfect, and the entire conversation could've consisted entirely of "I LIKE CHEESEBURGER!!!" and "Creepy man, please leave me alone. Are you that guy that stalked that poor girl from Toledo? You're on Spain's top-ten most wanted list, you know!" Either way, it was fun - I always love practicing my Spanish, and there's no more enjoyable way than to practice it with a sweet, beautiful Spanish senorita.
B&H needed to wake up early tomorrow so they went back to the hotel. I went to the beach - being my last night in Las Palmas, I wanted to grab a can of beer and go drink it on the beach, underneath the moon and the stars. I'd rather drink a bottle of wine, but since even a half-bottle makes me tipsy, a full bottle for myself would've meant I'd end up sleeping on the beach too
The wind was pretty fierce as I neared the ocean. A machine was grooming the sand, so it felt like I was getting sandblasted as I walked. I think there's a storm coming in - needless to say, I did not end up having a drink on the beach. It's too bad - having been raised in a house full of women and forced to watch countless soap operas growing up, I imagined myself drinking beer all by my lonesome, and America stumbling upon me on her way home from work. We'd fall madly in love, only to have her kidnapped by an evil Spanish super villain, who would hold her captive in his fortress in San Sebastian until I managed to rescue her, ending poverty and saving humanity in the process. Ha ha, yes, I know I am pathetic - but this is what Spain does to me!!!
Anyway, after a quick walk (it wasn't too bad away from the beach, in the shelter of the buildings) I returned to the hotel. I watched some strange music videos - there was one particularly strange one that can only be described as teddy bear p0rn. I caught a bit of "Reign of Fire" - a pretty stupid movie; it probably would've seemed even more stupid if it were in English, and I actually understood all of the dialogue.
My last night in Las Palmas wasn't the most memorable one. It was relatively quiet and uneventful, but sometimes you still manage to have those brief moments that make it unforgettable - meeting America was one of them :)