Archive for month: February, 2012

El Golfo

26 Feb
February 26, 2012

The route I originally intended to take is closed. There is no information of a detour, and the name of El Golfo on the road sign I spot, is just halfheartedly covered up by a flimsy piece of plastic. A quick glance at the map tells me that I can make my way there by going in the opposite direction of what is actually a roundtrip covering my chosen destinations for the day. 
And sure enough, after a few minutes’ drive through the by now familiar, bun never boring, landscape, I come up over a hill and look down upon the small, beautifully situated village of El Golfo, with its spread of white buildings, next to the black beach separating it from the blue, blue sea.
I park my car and walk the designated path up a hill, towards the famed green lagoon, nestled in parts of a volcanic crater, patiently and constantly awaiting the visitor on the other side. My white jogging shoes are soon covered in a dust of rusty orange, as if I’ve just played a match of tennis on a gravel  court. The color reflects that of the rock formations looming over the path, both majestic and beautiful. Reaching the top of the trail, I stop and gasp. The photos depicting the place in guidebooks and brochures have, as occasionally happens, not bee lying. In fact, no photo, painting, drawing or written description can do justice to the scene unfolding before my eyes. 
Taking it all in at one glance is not in my power. My eyes are involuntarily drawn to the emerald green body of water below me, looking like a fata morgana in a desert or in this case, a moonlike landscape at first glance devoid of vegetation. After a while I register…
To read more… El Golfo

El Golfo

26 Feb
February 26, 2012
The route I originally intended to take is closed. There is no information of a detour, and the name of El Golfo on the road sign I spot, is just halfheartedly covered up by a flimsy piece of plastic. A quick glance at the map tells me that I can make my way there by going in the opposite direction of what is actually a roundtrip covering my chosen destinations for the day. And sure enough, after a few minutes’ drive through the by now familiar, bun never boring, landscape, I come up over a hill and look down upon the small, beautifully situated village of El Golfo, with its spread of white buildings, next to the black beach separating it from the blue, blue sea.
I park my car and walk the designated path up a hill, towards the famed green lagoon, nestled in parts of a volcanic crater, patiently and constantly awaiting the visitor on the other side. My white jogging shoes are soon covered in a dust of rusty orange, as if I’ve just played a match of tennis on a gravel  court. The color reflects that of the rock formations looming over the path, both majestic and beautiful. 
Reaching the top of the trail, I stop and gasp. The photos depicting the place in guidebooks and brochures have, as occasionally happens, not bee lying. In fact, no photo, painting, drawing or written description can do justice to the scene unfolding before my eyes. Taking it all in at one glance is not in my power. My eyes are involuntarily drawn to the emerald green body of water below me, looking like a fata morgana in a desert or in this case, a moonlike landscape at first glance devoid of vegetation. 
After a while I register… 

To read more   El Golfo

Clueless in La Cueva

18 Feb
February 18, 2012
” Hola, mujeres y señores!”, « hello, ladies and gentlemen!» His voice was so smooth and buttered that I looked up. I had been on the verge of dozing off in the sun, tired after many hours on the road and too many things on the agenda, but now I opened my eyes and ears, eagerly anticipating an eruption (excuse the expression, it was the first one that came to mind…) of facts, and possibly interesting fiction, around this amazing phenomenon, the Cueva de los Verdes, a 7 km long volcanic cave, running from its entrance where we were currently at, all the way down to the sea.

“We are now entering the cave, watch your heads, …cuidado con la cabeza”, was all he said, before we ventured down into the gaping, and if it were not for the strategically placed artificial lightening, pitch dark hole. To be fair, he did say it 17 times before we again gathered/regrouped at a wider chamber further down.  And 29 times more, while we were waiting for the remnants of the group to catch up, actually occasionally throwing in a “well done, lady” or “hello there, señore” for good measure as one by one slowly appeared through the narrow passage.

While he again and again was pushing his replay button, the clock was ticking, removing time from the precious tour by the minute. Minutes that could have been used conveying the inexhaustible source of facts that can be associated with and attached to the magic place we were in. A geologist would go wild in these surroundings, barely being able to contain himself and probably inflicting permanent injury to people with his load of information about the formation and history of this 4000 year old cave system and that of the Earth in general. A philosopher could have maimed his audience with allegories and impossible rantings on life, the universe and everything, and an anthropologist would be able to convey more than we’d ever care to know about when and how this and other caves were used by the local inhabitants, from the time of the aborigines of the island, the Guanches to the present. 

But not our guide, he was of a different breed altogehter: He was so laidback, I was afraid he would fall over backwards any minute, literally, not by effort!, and so coool, that had there been a volcanic eruption there and then, his mere presences would have kept us unharmed…

To read more… Clueless in La Cueva


Femes

15 Feb
February 15, 2012
Femes’ claim to fame lies not in its size, its shopping opportunities or great night life. Perched on top of a hill, it is wedged in between two dormant volacanoes, the highest being Atalaya de Femes (“Atalaya” meaning lookout post), 608 meters above sea level, second only to the 670 m Peñas Chache, some forty kilometers further north.

Sure, the little hamlet is picturesque in its unassuming smallness. The church, Capilla de San Marcial, whitewashed and fresh like the rest of the few houses, lies strategically in the center. Its nice little square, framed with palms and benches, is today void of life, due to the cold wind blowing away any thoughts of sitting down, contemplating life.

A few cars join mine in the allotted parking places behind the church, but not many people have bothered to make the trip. When they get out of their vehicles, most of them take a few hurried photos of the view from Restaurant Miradore’s terrace, before scuttling indoors, to warm themselves with a cup of coffee or a glass of something even more life sustaining.

I hang about a little longer, the sun is debating whether to give us a full show, or just a few sampled scenes through erratic openings in the clouds. It’s still around forty minutes till sunset, but suddenly the clouds recede…

To read more… Femes

Femes

15 Feb
February 15, 2012
Femes’ claim to fame lies not in its size, its shopping opportunities or great night life. Perched on top of a hill, it is wedged in between two dormant volacanoes, the highest being Atalaya de Femes (“Atalaya” meaning lookout post), 608 meters above sea level, second only to the 670 m Peñas Chache, some forty kilometers further north.

Sure the little hamlet is picturesque in its unassuming smallness. The church, Capilla de San Marcial, whitewashed and fresh like the rest of the few houses, lies strategically in the center. Its nice little square, framed with palms and benches, is today void of life, due to the cold wind blowing away any thoughts of sitting down, contemplating life.

A few cars join mine in the allotted parking places behind the church, but not many people have bothered to make the trip. When they get out of their vehicles, most of them take a few hurried photos of the view from Restaurant Miradore’s terrace, before scuttling indoors, to warm themselves with a cup of coffee or a glass of something even more life sustaining. 

I hang about a little onger; the sun is debating with itself, whether to give us the full show, or just  few sampled scenes through erratic openings in the clouds. It’s still around fory minutes till sunset. Suddenly the clouds recede…

To read more.     Sunset Over Femes

Upgrade

12 Feb
February 12, 2012

Getting up at 4.30 in the morning is not exactly my cup of tea, but knowing there’s a journey at the other end of the ordeal makes it all worthwhile. Arriving at the airport with ample time to spare, I queued up to check in and soon found myself face to face with a girl with and admiringly pleasant attitude, considering she was working at this unseemly hour, at least I was going on a vacation/writing spree. I asked her if it would be possible to have a window seat on the left side of the plane (don’t ask!), but she was sorry (really, she was) to say that she didn’t have access to the seating system, but advised me to check with the crew at the gate.

I went through security, stripping down to the bare necessities, and as a freak exception, was able to pass the “test” with flying colors, that is with no body- or other searches. This is not, I assure you, business as usual for me. Normally, even when I have rid myself of every tiny piece of metal, drop of liquid and other potential bomb materials, I tend to be the one picked for a random check. I know this is done by an automated system, but it has in periods made me just a tad paranoid.

When the gate was about to open, I went over to bring up the issue of my seating and was a little bit confused, because the person the lady at the check in counter had been referring to, was, well… herself.  Now wearing a heavy coat and a yellow west. Of course it conveniently spared me the bore of repeating my request all over again. She just acknowledged me with a conspiratorial grin, and started checking the system. After a short while, she indicated “mission accomplished”, and, by the way…, she had upgraded me in the process. I thanked her profoundly and wished her, if not eternal happiness, so at least a very nice day.

I boarded the plane,  and sat down, feeling share bliss; relishing lots of leg space the prospect of free food and drinks. Little did I know that this would turn out to be a blessing in disguise…

Read more →

09 Feb
February 9, 2012

Between the lines, there is a land
Of anarchy and contraband
Where words are free to roam the text
And no one knows what they’ll mean next

It is a land of hope and dreams
Where nothing is quite what it seems
An innocent remark may well
Into a potent statement swell

A text is not a text per se
The words between the lines may say:
We will not by your rules obey
Our connotations sure will sway

from side to side, from east to west
You never should lay back and rest
But be alert, enjoy the ride
And see what in the script may hide

You are allowed to take a peek
It is a bit like hide and seek
For even as you write the lines
they twist and turn like thrifty wines

into a message loud and clear
that even you knew not were there
It is of implications fraught
The words their own true meaning sought

So be aware which words you use
They may each one become a fuse
That will ignite a fiery flame
Recasting players, board and game

02 Feb
February 2, 2012
Crying..
… for no apparent reason. I went to bed at 2 and woke at 6. Tried to turn on the other side, but sleep evaded me. Instead I listened to a book by an author I once swore I’d never read again. But I obviously forgot. I made the oath not because he’s a bad writer, he is not. In fact he writes exquisitely. His language, his portrayals, his storytelling compel you to go on reading till the end. It is as if you enter the main characters’ minds, sensing their joy, their sorrow, their anger, to the extent that their feelings become almost one with your own emotions. And all along, a foreboding of imminent disaster, or at least misery. Towards the usually bitter end, the story tearing you apart, and you strongly regret ever having turned that first page.
Afraid the young boy always present in the hallway, sweeping, will hear my sobbing, I pull myself together. After all, it was only a book, but one that touched me deeply, in many ways.
So maybe the wretched book is the reason for my weeping. Or maybe it’s the fact that tonight I will be leaving beautiful Sri Lanka, the blissfull warmth, both of the climate and the people.
To shake off, or at least come to grips with my feelings, I take a walk along the beach. It is yet another wonderful day. Windy, but not too much so. Perfect for the catamarans which are, as far as I can see all but one, dotting the blue sea under Sri Lanka’s steadfast sun. I enter the water, emerge myself in its soothing, soft body, take a few strokes, but feeling the strong currents, don’t venture further out. The water does me good, and conceals the tears I in vain am trying to hold back.
Most everyone I meet during my stroll, greats me with a smile, sometimes a handshake and a “How are you madam?” Should I confide in them? Tell them about my sadness? Ridiculous thought, of course.

And by the way, what do I have to cry about, anyway, privileged and pampered as I am here…

Read moreSri Lanka Farewell