There is a ‘Donkey Belly’ Sky today – that’s what the locals call the sky in Las Palmas in November. It is a perfect description as the sky often looks like it is heavy and drooping and it is a soft powdery grey. It has been raining and very windy but now the weather is improving and is due to get better every day over the next week.
Today is Sunday and it is the 1st November. I am feeling rather like we are strapped into the car of a rollercoaster, which is cranking its way up and up, and we are not sure what’s coming on the other side. I think that every one is feeling a mixture of anxiety and excitement. The ARC+ boats are all here and some of the ARC boats – The marina is literally crammed full. The ARC doesn’t leave until the 22nd November so there is still lots of time. It feels as if we should have an ARC vent Calendar with a window for each of the next 22 days.
The list of things to do is getting shorter and we are adding things for fun or comfort – I bought a bread maker and we are delighted to have the smell of freshly baked bread on board. Also I have been testing the oven with things – I cooked a pie from Marks and Spencer and made Apple Roses (they are yummy – find them on the internet just Google Apple Roses).
We are settling into Las Palmas and are pleasantly surprised. We had heard about rats and roaches and that it was unpleasant – we have found the opposite. The marina staff could not be more helpful and warm, the pontoons are well maintained, there are all the services you could need in the Marina and community life in the ‘village’ of yachts is building fast. All the boats have flags – signal flags – dressed overall and flags from the countries that people are from. There is a party atmosphere and a sense that every one is checking each other out. There are the same questions like – where have you been, where are you going, what needs fixing or adding and thoughts about the crossing itself.
The ARC office doesn’t open until the 6th and then we will get a time for our safety check – we will get our number and pack of all the seminars and parties that are laid on. We have wasted no time however and have already been to several parties and invited people to one of our own. We are on Pontoon ‘T’ so we have decided to have a ‘T’ party – with Long Island Iced Tea as the centerpiece. We have been with a crowd to watch the New Zealand v Australia Rugby World cup in an Irish bar and we have been to an Irish Whiskey Party – and we are planning a JAM session next week for musicians – so not a bad start! I do seem to be only one of two states – i.e. hung over or drunk
The big surprise for us is Las Palmas – the new area of town which is 15 minutes walk from the Marina has everything you could want – but in a practical format – the streets are in a grid and on the main street there are large European stores – El Corte Ingles, and Zara and Carr Four – even a Marks and Spencer – everything is easy to get to and if you feel tired the Taxis are everywhere, trustworthy and cheap – you just flag one down – its really good.
There are two beaches – one on the Marina side which is really odd with dark brown sand and Palm Trees looking onto an industrial port and then on the other side black sand and waves which delight the surfers. Walking around the town feels safe and fun.
Then there is the old town – we didn’t go there until several days in and it was such a wonderful treat – we wandered the cobble streets under the yellow street lamps and enjoyed the warm night, huge swaying palms, sounds of Spanish Guitar and delicious smells from the Tapas Bars. We had a special treat as we stumbled upon a tiny bar called La Otilia
It looked like a 1930s living room – softly lit and tiny with arm chairs and side lamps – we were served the most delicious local wines and we had a snack with was totally delicious – it was a light as air crispy filo pastry with goats cheese and spinach – sprinkled with rose petals and palm syrup – well – the combination of the welcoming cosy room, the wine and the pastry was enough but then – the musician who was to play later started rehearsal in the next room contemporary Spanish Guitar – Mark and I just looked at each other in disbelief – it was one of those sensory moments that don’t need words. Moments like that sear into your brain more than any photo can. The musician was Luis Quintana he was so expressive both with his playing and his wonderful singing. We bought his CD and hoped we could hear more of his playing later in the evening.
On our way to the old town we had gone to see the vet with May to get all her papers sorted out for arrival in StLucia. The vet was a wonderful woman who couldn’t wait to tell us all her top tips for a great time in Las Palmas. She recommended a small restaurant that specialised in Mushrooms – a Mushroom Tapas restaurant – we found it from her description and directions and it was Amazing – quiet and quaint – a occupying a corner so the bar and walls were curved. The menu was divine and very fungal…deep fried Mushrooms with a garlic sauce, mushrooms stuffed with chicken and smothered in a creamy curry sauce …wow – we will be going back to mushroom heaven soon.