Friday, January 11, 2008

Where I'm Coming From

Costa Caleta, Fuertoventura

A week in Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura (the Canary Island shaped like a Kentucky fried chicken leg).

We had decided to take a break and get out of the country when we got the chance, so just three weeks ago we quickly booked this short break. It was ages since I had gone on one of these family, make-like-a-basking-lizard holidays, never with my most recent family, my wife and three year old son. It was his first flight. Despite his abhorrence of loud whooshing noises, he coped remarkably well with being pinned in a giant hair dryer for four hours. A portable DVD player and Shaun the Sheep helped (also his Thomas The Tank Engine stickers):
Thomas on Cloud 9

A week is short, especially given the disparity between Fuerteventura (just 60 miles from the Sahara) and my wintery home planet. Finding myself landed in that sunny, t-shirted, Croced and shorted otherwhere, I might have come by (slightly banjaxed) transporter; my quantum-entangled atoms barely had time to shimmer themselves back into their old constellation before the episode finished and I was back in my old, unenterprising existence.

Fuerteventuro Airport
Airport, Fuertoventura

We rented a car and spent four days traveling all over the island. Wonderfully strange, yet strangely familiar too. Little vegation, apart from scrub and palms of all shapes and sizes, fat and stumpy or tall as five story buildings. Volcanoes were active on the island as recently as the 19th Century, when they decimated its grain production. Parts of the midlands are like a heated-up Connemmara crossed with Mars, potholed roads branching into what seems like Bord Na Móna bogland but is actually chocolate-brown lava-rock, assembled in places into orange-lichened drystone walls, mammary hills (some with perfect nipples), slumped and humped mountain ranges (couchant and zoomorphic as the Twelve Bens) rising above clinker and ash deserts. All looking pristine and newly baked, fresh from the the geological kiln.

On the wild South West coast we pulled into the little seaside village of Ajuy and dined on grilled squid and filleted sea bream on the bone (chips and the all-important ketchup for him); beside huge, whumping Hokusai waves creaming on gritty black sand. We then went looking for the ten-year old wreck of the American Star. We never found it, but we did manage to locate its remote (but much-visited) cove, Playa de Garcey, at the end of a long, stony track. Again, that black, volcanic sand, deserted but pocked with many footprints; wedges of craggy rock, even louder, more furious, unrolling, wrecking-ball waves, the air blurry with spray.

Then up north, past industrial-looking Puerto del Rosario, we found the white Saharan beaches of Corralejo, with their wedding cake hotels, reminding me of the holidays I took with my mother and grandparents in the archaeologically distant 1970s.

Here are some of the photographs, many taken from the car (I wasn't driving).

Geological Breast, Near Morros Altos (or somewhere thereabouts)
Geological Breast, Fuertoventura

Down South, Morro Jable
Fuertoventura south

Sunset, Beyond Morro Jable
Sunset , Fuertoventura South

Heading Back North West (probably from La Pared)
Fuertoventura South East

Playa de Garcey

South West (somewhere)
Fuertoventura South East

Somewhere Between Somewhere And Somewhere Else

North: Near Corralejo
Near Corralejo

Heading Back South: Sunset Near Puerto Del Rosario