Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Dog Islands.

I'm making myself do this post because I leave in tomorrow for my next adventure.  I love writing these things, honest.  But I have a lot to do to get ready.

Anyway!  The Canary Islands were a freaking blast.  We (Brittany, her roommate, Carolina, and myself) arrived to 70º weather, met up with friends and then went to lunch.  There was this fishing village near the airport that consisted of 12 houses and a bar/restaurant.  So we went there, sat on the boardwalk and ate and ate and ate.

After lunch we dropped our stuff off at the apartment we were staying at (staying with the friends of a friend), then I met up with Joey, Mike, Karl and Merci.  Karl and Merci were there for a frisbee competition, so the guys and I entertained ourselves for a bit, then headed over to another beach for some foods.

After we ate a bit, we split up for a while and the guys went back to siesta while we went back to relax and get stuff to make dinner.  I had only slept about 4 hours the previous night, so in order to do the Carnival up right, it was imperative I get a nap in.  I laid down for like 30 minutes, but didn't sleep.  It was good to just be relaxing around the apartment and not doing anything though.  Eventually I got showered and we started making dinner.

Everything that follows is reflective of the typical Spanish timetable for socializing.

We started cooking dinner around 9:30-10.  Mike and Joey arrived around 10:30 or so.  A bunch of other people came over around 11 and we started eating and drinking and getting the party going.

A few hours go by and then we decide we should head out to the carnival.  We get in cabs and what not and arrive around 1 to the Carnival.  The party is almost in full swing.

We chill for about half an hour or so nearby, then enter into the huge outdoor club scene that's happening.  Different clubs and bars in Las Palmas had set up "minibars" (not like what you have in a hotel) all around this plaza and there was a huge area for dancing in the middle.

I'm going to take a brief side note and talk about the Carnival itself.  I was a little nervous about how the crowd would be for the event.  I had heard less than inspiring stories from people about the previous weekend's Carnival in Cádiz (fights, getting separated because of uncontrolled crowds, messy messy streets, etc).  I asked someone about how crazy things were going to be and they made the interesting point that, in Cádiz, everyone that lives in the city leaves, and it's mostly people from outside who come, whereas in the Canary Islands, most everyone is Canario.  Typically people don’t destroy their own city.

Another big difference was that clubs were open in Las Palmas, whereas everything was closed in Cádiz.  There was literally nothing to do in Cádiz but stand around outside and drink.  In Las Palmas, there were tons of food stands up, 24hr markets, bars, clubs, plus a concert happening right next to where we were.  It was good to give people options, methinks.

So anyway, we were outside dancing for a while, then around 4 half of our group went back.  The half that stayed (consisting of mostly Americans, oddly enough), kept dancing for a while, then headed to a club around 4:30, and danced until around 5:30 or so.  One of the Spanish guys we were with had a car, so he drove us back to the apartment we were staying at.  By the time we got back to his car, dropped off Mike at his hostel, then got back to the apartment, it was 7:30 am.

It was an unbelievably fun night.  There's just something about dancing outside that makes the world seem right.  The costumes (practically the most important part of Carnival) were also really fun and creative.  Something that was really interesting was that groups of people dressed up in a theme.  So at any given time you could see groups of Ninja Turtles, bananas, fairies, ballerinas, cops, firemen, and everything else imaginable walking around or dancing together in a group.

The next morning, my beach instincts told me that it was sunny, beautiful beach weather.  So my brain turned on at 10 sharp, and I was up and ready to get things going.  I've been realizing lately that this isn't a common occurrence for most people.

For me the most important thing while traveling somewhere for the weekend is to see and do as much as possible.  You can sleep later.  It’s with this philosophy in mind that I make everyone around me get up earlier than they want so that we can get up and out and start doing stuff.  They pretend to complain about getting up at 9 or 10, but I know they secretly appreciate it.

In this case, my main concern was to get as much sunny beach time as possible.  Eventually I got Brittany up and a mere hour or so later, we were walking to the bus station to catch the bus to the beach.  We finally got there and it was glorious.  Absolutely glorious.  Full sunshine, slight breeze, not too crowded.  Pretty much everything you could ask for.

We got in a few good hours of sunshine, then Brittany and I went with Carolina and her friend, Meri, to the center of the island to this little town for lunch, then drove around the island for a few hours.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  The only bad part was that Brit and I kept falling asleep in the back of the car amidst all the beauteous scenery around us.  We also went to the southernmost tip of the island where, apparently due to the wind patterns, it’s pretty much always sunny.  It was nice, especially because it started raining in the middle of the island.  By the time we got to the south, it was sunny.  Crazy, eh?

Just being in the Canaries and having nice weather would have made the weekend fun, but going there with great people like Brittany, Carolina, Mike and Joey made everything that much more enjoyable.

Mike and Brittany.  Mike tells great stories, so I'm pretty sure that's what was happening here.

I have no idea what's happening here.  But this is pretty typical of Joe and Mike.
The most well-known beach on the Canaries.

Only picture of me, haha.
Brittany and Carolina at Plaza Catalina.

I wish I had pictures of the Carnival activies, but my camera was and is on the fritz.  I actually have to go and get a new one today.  I hate spending the money, but a camera is one of those things you can't not have when traveling around.  If anyone wants to donate to the "Peter needs a camera...but also needs to eat" fund, you can contact me here or via the facebook.  Any donation, small or large, is appreciated.  Especially the larger ones.

Ok!  I'm leaving for Amsterdam tomorrow morning, staying until Friday night, then taking a late train to Paris and staying there for two nights.  As I write this, I'm actually feeling sick.  My throat is kind of swollen and sore...and it kind of hurts to talk.  But when you've spent the money on a trip already, you're not going to let a little thing like sickness stand in your way.  Am I right?!  Of course I'm right.

In addition to traveling while not feeling 100%, this'll be the first time I've traveled alone in a while, so it'll be different.  I'm sure I'll meet some cool people though.  Normally hostels do a good job of having "social" events and what not for people.   We shall see!

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