The weather for the past two weeks in Las Palmas is matching my mood. Dark and overcast. Anyone following my blog will know how I think Las Palmas is a great place to live, but it does have an Achilles heel.
Panza de Burro
When I first came to stay in Las Palmas Gran Canaria people who lived in the main tourist resorts in the south said it was better to live down there and not Las Palmas. Have you not heard about Panza de Burro they asked.
I had come to see Las Palmas on a few day trips from the south, and I liked what I saw. Panza de Burro or not. I was here for three months before I first saw the Panza de Burro.
So what is the weather phenomena that is the Panza de Burro? In English, this translates to the Donkeys Belly. I can go into the scientific explanation about how a cloud forms from the trade winds but maybe it is better to give
Ok before I continue and freak everyone out about Las Palmas in my experience, the Panza de Burro effects Las Palmas about 20% of the year. That means sunny skies 80% of the time. Ok, it is not 95% sun like the south, but Las Palmas has so much more to offer then the southern resorts.
The Panza de Burro is a cloud that visits Las Palmas, and at times is so localised that it fits the city like a glove. There are days when the Panza de Burro covers Las Palmas, and you can go 2km outside the town, and all you will see are blue skies. Other times the phenomena can spread over the north of the Island. On these days the cut off points seem to be airport 20km from Las Palmas, and Cruz de Tejeda in the centre of the Island.
Having visited all the Canary Islands, most seem to have a part that is affected by the Panza de Burro. Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, is similar to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria. Santa Cruz weather can at times also be different from the south of Tenerife.
So why live in Las Palmas and not in one of the southern resorts such as Playa del Ingles. For me, it is an easy decision. I feel the south of Gran Canaria is not a real area. I don’t mean that as a criticism. Ok, I do a little bit.
The resorts are designed and planned with visitors in mind and not the local people. Las Palmas, for the most part, is put together to accommodate the local people that live here. That for me makes it more real and unique. To sum it up 20% Panza de Burro days mean 4 out of every 5 days is sunny. That works for me.
At the moment I feel the Panza de Burro is even more localised than usual. It feels like it is just covering my head. I am at a place I am not sure what to do next. My energy is low. I miss having a regular wage but not a regular life. During the past few weeks, I am worried about the future.
These days are a lot better for the LGBT community in places such as my own country Ireland. Same-sex marriage became legal by referendum a few years ago. The first country in the world to do by a vote of the people. It is a lot better, but LGBT people still have challenges most people will never have.
I have seen both my parents suffer the indiscriminate disease that is Alzheimer’s. Neither deserved to end their days like that. The one good thing is they had a support group of sons and daughters. Most LBGT people will never have kids. We have to come to terms with that as we come to terms with our sexuality.
For gay people, even those lucky to have a life partner if they are honest most will wonder what will happen if the day comes that you become incapable of functioning mentally and there is no one around that has your back.
At the moment I am having visions of walking around Las Palmas in my pyjamas. What is even worse is I don’t wear pyjamas.
I am sure these thoughts are like the Panza de Burro and will only be around 20% of the time and eventually clear.
So whats happening in Las Palmas
It does not take much to get the locals here in Las Palmas to start shaking their ass. Ten seconds after music will start people will be on the dance floor. That is why it always surprises me how the city has so few live music venues.
I know one problem is that people power is strong here. People who live in an area have a lot of say in what can happen there. That is ok in most scenarios, but my view is if you live in the city centre than you should not expect the same quietness as if you are in the countryside. I always wonder where the people who complain socialise. Other peoples streets I am guessing.
I was happy to hear a new live music venue had recently opened. A few friends and I made our way last Saturday night to Imaginario 35 Calle Secretario Artiles in Las Palmas. We enjoyed the live Bruce Springsteen cover band. It has a late licence, so it was open until 330 the night we went. They also have Tango dancing nights. We will be back.
The sun came out for the Las Palmas Marathon on Sunday. I slept it out again this year so missed the chance to participate. Maybe next year they can start later.
Later on Sunday, I popped up to one of my favourite parts of Gran Canaria for lunch with a friend. Sardina del Norte. The fish dishes at Terraza El Ancia were some of the best I have ever seen and have eaten.
What made it even better Mount Teide in 100km away in Tenerife could be seen in the background.
So a dull, dreary Panza de Burro week cleared later at the weekend and so did my mood. What time of the year does the Panza de Burro happen? Some say winter and some say summer. In my experience, it comes when it comes. As I have said 80% of the time, it is blue skies all the way.
Join me on my journey.
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