Kicking myself - how could I miss that?

Trip Start Dec 22, 2007
Trip End Jan 16, 2008

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Monday, December 31, 2007

We picked up the car rental and were off to Teide.  Surprisingly, the drive out of Las Palmas wasn't too bad.  We did take one wrong turn, but it was pretty good after that.  I'm used to a lot more drama when trying to drive out of a big Spanish city. 
Of course, we took the wrong turn off for Teide and ended up taking some back route.  Got some directions for the very friendly gas station staff and found the city centre.  First stop was breakfast at La Trasera, a place advertising that it specialized in breakfast.  The funny thing is that they had no breakfast menu - breakfast isn't really a big deal in Spain, so a restaurant "specializing" in it probably means that they only offer a few pastries in addition to croissants and toast.  
Teide's old town is pretty nice, but the basilica was just another basilica.  We left after a quick walk and got lost trying to leave town.  We followed the signs for the highway but ended up getting nowhere - bad signage is very common in Spain!
The next town was Ingenio - pretty boring with nothing going on.  Aguimes was a lot better - we walked through Plaza Del Rosario and over to the Church of San Sebastian.  It's a nice town, but it's really only worth a brief stop. 
Over to the Guayadeque valley - a very nice spot where some people still live in houses built into the caves.  We had lunch at El Centro, a restaurant inside a series of caves.  Once again, we consumed far too much bread and aioli.  Aioli ... why do you taste so heavenly?  Perhaps they could turn you into a gelato flavour ...
I kind of felt like a Coke, but B&H both ordered Cokes and the exact same meal as I was getting, so I went with a Tropical beer instead.  The restaurant supposedly won a local culinary contest with its fried pork with aioli.  Not that great.  
The food was less than stellar, but one of the few beautiful Spanish women we have seen so far in the Canaries was dining across from us.  She had a bit of a South American look to her and looked like somebody famous, though I couldn't put my finger on exactly who it was that she resembled. 
We left the valley without visiting the interpretive centre - apparently they had a cool cave display inside, but unfortunately it was closed.  Off to the beach at Arinaga - there were another two of the very few Spanish hotties we have encountered so far suntanning on the beach.  According to Ben, they briefly wrestled each other in a VERY playful manner.  Beautiful, bikini-clad Spanish women wrestling on the beach - that is so wrong!  But not because they shouldn't do it, but because it's the married man that got to see it and not the single one.  Why??!?!  I pray every night to witness something like that! 
There wasn't much else to see in Arinaga, though wrestling beauties on the beach is enough incentive for me to one day return.  Maybe they post a schedule for the wrestling matches at the tourist office?  Only in my dreams ... giddy like a schoolgirl, giddy like a schoolgirl ...
We arrived at the twin resort towns of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas - it had a VERY confusing layout and was obviously poorly planned.  Navigating is difficult because the road system is nothing more than random roads connecting the excessive number of tacky resorts. 
We tried to buy a map at a grocery store but they had none.  Finally, a resort worker directed us to another hotel where we could get a map.  Another hotel in Spain, and another hottie receptionist.  Very exotic looking, with a VERY sexy accent.  I asked her if she was Canarian and she responded yes, and that it was the third time she was asked that today.  Translation: "Yes, and it's the third time that somebody has used that lame line on me already today!  Can't you guys be original?"  Once again ... giddy like a schoolgirl, giddy like a schoolgirl ...
She definitely wasn't Spanish-looking, but beautiful all the same.  Don't worry - there won't be any talk of returning next year to find her!  I didn't get her name and I at least need a first name and place of employment to stalk a Spanish woman!  Plus, she was lacking the cute, reserved shyness of Toledo's most famous hotel receptionist.  
We finally managed to find the condo - not great, but cheap and relatively clean.  We tossed a load of laundry into the washing machine and were off to buy some groceries.  It was funny because as we arrived at the store, we realized that it took longer to drive than walk.  The store was only a 2 minute walk from the condo. 
Back to the condo to change and off for New Year's Eve dinner.  The condo was advertised as being only a 15 minute walk from the action, but the confusing road system made navigating at dark quite difficult.  We decided to taxi it instead, and I didn't mind because of my aching knee.  The driver took us down to the waterfront area, home of countless touristy, tacky restaurants catering to the people from the UK. 
We decided to walk back towards the centre of town, hoping that we would find something better - we didn't.  The guidebook describes the place as being soulless - we agreed wholeheartedly with that assessment.  None of the restaurants looked any good.  The guidebook did manage to list one restaurant that sounded authentic, but it was fully booked. 
We settled on "Las Cumbres Meson Del Cordero", a Spanish place specializing in lamb.  I'm not sure exactly what constitutes "specializing" because the place only had maybe two or three lamb dishes on the menu.  There was no bread and aioli for us tonight (a good thing, given our excessive consumption of it up to this point).
The waiter suggested a red wine for us - it was OK, though I can't remember exactly what we had.  My stuffy nose made it difficult to taste much.  I ended up feeling a little tipsy on the wine - my tolerance seems to be getting worse and worse as I age!  Dessert was macerated oranges and papaya - a bad-tasting mix.  It was very small chunks - maybe it was leftover scraps used for something else?  It reminded me of a spicy salmon mix from that Sushi/Korean BBQ place in Calgary.  The spicy salmon is hacked-up bits and pieces leftover that can't be served as sushi. 
I was getting tired and sleepy and it was only 10:30!  I needed a cortado to wake me up.  Sad ... I almost didn't even make it to New Year's!  We went down to the water to watch the fireworks.  It didn't seem like there was any special display done by the city, but instead it was several fireworks displays done by several resorts. 
I realized that planning on being in Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas for New Year's Eve was a HUGE mistake.  It sounded like it would have been a great area for a party, and I had envisioned that it would be just like on the peninsula, with tons of people pouring out onto the streets.  Even on a regular night, certain Spanish cities can have an electric atmosphere on the street - I could only imagine what New Year's Eve would have been like. 
Sadly, this tacky tourist trap was nothing like that.  It probably would have been far more enjoyable had we stayed in Las Palmas and hung out on the beach promenade.  Too bad.  But at least something that I had been wishing would happen for a long time finally took place. 
As we walked through town earlier this evening looking for dinner, somebody Spanish FINALLY hit on me!  It was so over the top - they dropped their grocery bags and actually lay down on the street, nodding their head in approval, and making various comments.   
Normally, this would have been a cause for celebration - but unfortunately for me, it was a guy.  It's possible that he could have been hitting on Ha, but this resort area is considered to be the gay capital of the Canaries.  In all likelihood, it was intended for me - sigh ... why couldn't it have been a tiny Spanish hottie instead of a greasy, creepy guy?  NOT giddy like schoolgirl, NOT giddy like a schoolgirl ...
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