Friday, April 1, 2011

Lovely Lanzarotte

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lovely Lanzarotte

We are still in the Canary Islands today, this time on the island of Lanzarotte. This is our third visit here, so he had no real plans. After breakfast, we took the shuttle to the edge of the downtown area and walked the rest of the way. We wandered the pedestrian mall that ends at the water’s edge and watched the people. Once again, this area was more for the locals than the tourists. Many of the cafes were doing a brisk drink business at 10:30 and not all of the customers were drinking coffee. D took pictures of things he had photographed two years ago before we headed back to the shuttle. On the way back, we walked through the alleged crafts market. Like Banjul, everyone was selling the same things for the same price. We helped the local economy a little but not too much. We caught the last shuttle before the drivers went to lunch and were aboard the ship by 11:45. We had been in town about an hour which was more than enough.

When we first visited in 2001, we caught a taxi driven by a man who almost spoke English. He knew enough to take us to the turista high points. We saw Timanfiya, the Fire Mountain, which is a park built on a volcanic vent. The cabbie waited while we took the big bus through a lunar landscape of lava spills. At the peak, where we caught the bus, there was a demonstration of the vent’s power – straw thrown into an opening caught fire in mid-air; water turned to steam before landing; and the restaurant had grates over the vent and used its heat to cook meat. Even the soil was hot to the touch.

Also in 2001, we visited a vineyard unlike any other. Because Lanzarotte is a volcanic island, there is not much topsoil and few trees, but there is a lot of wind. Grape springs are planted in the volcanic soil which is built up on one side to shelter the young plants from the wind. We sampled the finished product at a nearby winery that day.

Our last stop was a private house which had been given to the government and served as a museum. It included a small amphitheater used for concerts and a grotto which was home to the world’s only blind crabs. The white crabs were less than an inch across.

We felt no compulsion to do any of that again but convinced Sandra and Alan to get a cab and see the sights. They did, we learned later, and for a total of €95, they and another couple had a tour of Lanzarotte for half the price of riding in The Bus.

Lunch on the Lido had us separately working on the NYT crossword. We eventually finished it by pooling our answers and left for Trivia, reading and the journal feeling smug. It was a short-lived feeling. We didn’t do badly, but we were not in the first-place tie.

-- Which US president was the first to throw out the first pitch of the baseball season? -- To which movie star did Mae West say, “Why don’t you come up and see me some time?” -- Which country abuts Brazil’s southernmost point? -- Who wrote the lyrics to “Mack the Knife?” -- What do the winners of the Bermuda Bowl play?

MA took a nap and D updated and posted the journal. We discovered that we were to GAIN an hour tonight because Morocco does not follow Daylight Savings Time, so we were able to go to the show after dinner despite an early wake-up tomorrow. The show tonight was a family of 4 called the Argentine Devils who performed native Argentine dances. It was interesting, but not as energetic as the folkloric show was.

Tomorrow – Agadir, Morocco

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