I am bending it like Beckham
I have listened to the recent David Beckham kissing controversy with interest. David is getting a lot of flack for kissing his children on the lips. I have some sympathy for him as I am going through a very strange kissing stage of my life.
I don’t have any kids but I cannot stop kissing women bang smack on the lips. What is the problem I hear you say? The problem is they are friends or complete strangers. Spanish people don’t really shake hands. They kiss on each cheek once. I know the drill at this stage and have had no problems up to the past few months. I can’t stop and even when I try to hit the cheek I am missing and landing on the lips.
In Bulgaria a few months ago a guy I was talking to in a bar introduced me to his wife. Yes, I did. I kissed her straight on the lips. Bulgarians hardly shake hands. There was an awkward silence as everyone including me was taking in did that actually happen. I just continued talking and pretended it did not. To be on the safe side I left the bar after I quickly finished my beer.
At this stage, it is really freaking me out. Yesterday on Playa Las Canteras Las Palmas I met an Italian girl I knew from the Spanish language school I used to attend. I knew the standard 2 cheek kiss was required. I aimed for the cheeks and at the last second switched course and landed on the lips. She was taken aback a bit. Not as much as the Bulgarian but then again she is Italian.
What is happening in Las Palmas
The traditional pre-Christmas arts and crafts market took place in Parque Santa Catalina this week. I have to admit I find arts and crafts markets curious. While there always seem to be quality items on offer I never see many people buying at these type of markets.
Last weekend I spent some time down the south of Gran Canaria. I took the bus from Las Palmas to Maspalomas. Gran Canaria is one of the biggest Canary Islands, but the distance between Las Palmas and Maspalomas is just 50km. I took the opportunity on Saturday night to visit the Yumbo centre. The Yumbo centre is Europes biggest Gay entertainment area. Many gay Europeans mostly of a mature age visit the Yumbo Center in Playa del Ingles during the winter/spring season from September to May
Although the Yumbo is famous as a gay area, it has become very mixed over the past five years. The centre has numerous shops bars and restaurants. Every time I visit there seems to be more non-gay people each time. Last weekend I would guess that the majority of people in the centre were not gay. While I think this is great to see I would not like to see a minority group become a minority group in their own area. I hope the Yumbo centre keeps its gay edge.
On the first floor of the Yumbo centre, you will find Yumbo Boulevard. Here seven nights a week there are some great shows. The drag shows are very professional. You would think you are looking at the real artist. There are also Spanish music and dance shows. The people that are up in this section are also a mixed crowd. You can have a drink as you watch the shows in one of the many bars. Just a tip here. If you cannot see the inside of the bar don’t go inside the bar. The shows there go up another level and would not be family entertainment.
The North v the South
Only 50 kilometres separate the north and south of Gran Canaria but they feel and look like totally different areas. The south of Gran Canaria is the big tourist area. Here you will find the very popular resorts of Playa del Ingles. Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. Here you will find mostly northern Europeans, British and Irish tourists enjoying
The south is what you would expect any sunshine resort to
Despite the record numbers and full up signs in hotels, there does not seem to be any of the profits getting reinvested in areas such as Playa del Ingles. It looks very much like it did 20 years ago when I first visited Gran Canaria. Hotels seem happy to pack people to rooms and apartments badly in need of renovation at an ever-increasing price. It may be a shortsighted strategy. The previously popular markets such as Egypt and Tunisia will recover eventually.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I understand people who just want to relax in the sun for a week. Even more so if you have spent a gruelling winter of rain and storms. I just think the south of Gran Canaria could be a lot better. Someone is making massive profits, It would be nice to see a percentage of that going into updating the area.
Over the past two years, I have seen prices rise quite a lot in bars in Playa del Ingles. Lots of tourists. Lots of customers. Lots of opportunities to make a few euro. Some bars now seem to think they are in London or Paris. Last weekend a friend and I had a bit of a situation that turned out to be a bit of a funny experience.
We went into a bar in Playa del Ingles and asked for two large beers. They had Tropical beer which is the local beer of Gran Canaria. That will be ten euro the guy who was not a local said. We pointed out that the same beer cost just 1.80 each in Las Palmas. My friend added that if he was charging that much the least he could do was fill the glass which was 20% full of froth. He filled the glasses and
Now as argument strategies go his one was not the best. We said that’s great thank you. Sat down for thirty minutes. Drank our beer and waved goodbye to him when we left. We would have had no problem paying him but we knew we were been overcharged. Then there was the temper tantrum. Most of all it was great fun seeing his face as we waved goodbye.
It was nice to return to the North and Las Palmas Sunday evening. 50 kilometres felt like 5000.
This week’s short video comes from one of my favourites walks in northern Gran Canaria. Fontanales to Moya. Click here.
If you have any question about Gran Canaria that I may be able to help with let me know. I will be more than happy to help.
Join me on my journey.
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