Friday, 18 February 2011

Packing - in La Gomera

Playa de Santiago. I think. A small fishing village in the south of La Gomera. One of the Canaries.

This, as everyone knows, is a typical photo of an ambitious, well-paid, career woman in her 30s, on holiday.

One who buys a cheap flight to Tenerife, and takes her back-packing gear, including camping stuff, and gets the local bus around the place.

The camp site in Tenerife wasn't far from the airport, somewhere amidst banana plantations and an ambitious resort development that hadn't quite happened.

It was strange. Pretty quiet (well, it was winter), and the only other campers were a group of laid-back Spaniards who played the guitar at night, drank beer, and probably smoked dope for all I know. Who cares? Not me. They were pleasant and friendly whenever we met.

One day a British couple arrived and put up their tent next to us. They weren't impressed with the musical easy-going laid-back Spaniards 50 or 100 yards away.

'SHUT THE FUCK UP!!' shouted the Brit. The camp site fell silent.

We decided to leave. People enjoying themselves, with some noise is one thing, aggression is another.

Off to Los Cristianos and the boat to La Gomera - why not manage two Canaries in one holiday? From San Sebastian by bus (public, which all arrived to meet the ferry, but hurry because they leave quickly) and onto Playa de Santiago.

Where, we hiked out of the village, over the cliffs, past the rather exclusive Jardin Tecina, down the first bay, up the cliffs, down to the second one, etc etc until I think we finally decided to camp on the beach of the third bay.

But we didn't want to leave the tent insecure during the day, so every morning, we packed it up and made the hike back into Playa de Santiago. And then, in the evening, back we went to our lonely beach to re-pitch the tent where no-one else visited. Until one day, a woman came and told us the police were moving people on. In retrospect - doubt it. Never saw any. Police or other campers.

What else from this pic? Oh yes, meeting the local insurance agent and his wife who were staying at Jardin Tecina and so admired our adventurous spirit. And one of my medical work colleagues some years later, who had also stayed there and was busy showing off about the exclusive place she had stayed at to her other medical colleague who was due to fly out and stay there and do medical middle-class things. They both looked slightly put out when I said I'd been there and recited my camping adventures. Scruffy wild campers within a few hundred yards of Jardin Tecina?

Maybe ambitious, well-paid, career women in their 30s don't take the same holidays as me after all.

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