Just landed in Gran Canaria, we go through airport security, or a place where a bored guy just waves us through, while I am using my bag to cut off people who don’t appear to understand the concept of queues. How very British.
We have a cab waiting, and meet the guy. He introduces himself as Jo, not very Spanish I think, and I say my name, to which he immediately responds, ‘argh, you’re a woman’, with genuine surprise. There’s lots of laughing and awkward head nodding. Then he shows us to the cab.
We get in the car and he puts our bags in the boot. It gives me chance to ask Tony, ‘why did he confirm I was a woman’? ‘I don’t know, it shocked him maybe’, ‘Yer that’s not helping’.
Jo comes and gets in the car too and for the first time I actually hear where we are going. Just before you go on holiday people always ask, ‘where are you going’? I can answer as I always know the country, but then they ask, ‘where abouts’? To which my standard reply for all holidays is, ‘not far from the airport’. They must think I like planes. Then its, ‘are you staying in the North or South’? I just pick one. Then its ‘what’s the weather like’? Say a number. The latter, I should have looked into as I am already freezing in my shorts.
We get to the general area of where we will be staying and Jo tells us to stay in the cab and relax while he jumps out to helpfully locate our actual apartment. ‘What’s he want’? I ask suspiciously. He goes down one road and comes back, then down another and comes back, down another and comes back now shaking his head. Tony farts. ‘Great, the poor guy is out there looking for our apartment and you’re in his cab farting. I don’t think he meant relax that much’. Tony’s defence, ‘everyone farts in cabs’, like that’s an inherent virtue of human nature.
Eventually, Jo’s found our apartment. He gets our bags out, tries to stand them up and forces the handle up on mine. Good to see he is having the same issues. Then we start the process of paying. I tip, not knowing whether I have just giving him more money than he will have seen in a life time or have deeply offended him.
He walks us round to the apartment wheeling our cases for us saying, ‘you relax’. The lady who is due to meet us at our apartments isn’t there. Tony calls her. No answer. ‘OMG we’ve been scammed’, you immediately think. Yer that doesn’t go away when he tries another 4,5,6 times with the same result! Eventually he gets through and she says she will be 8 minutes (very precise). Jo laughs at the short time frame we are given and says, ‘haha, Spanish time she will be at least an hour or maybe here tomorrow’.
Jo says he will wait with us for the lady to turn up. I repeat internally, what’s he want and did I just pay his mortgage off with that tip to warrant this interest? He convinces us he will look after our stuff and that we should go and have a beer. Off we go. Not used to a friendly cabbie, we laugh, somewhat nervously at how he is probably riffling our bags or just plain running of with them.
1 hour later, the lady arrives. We say goodbye to Jo and he writes his name and number down so we can get him to take us to the airport when we go back. That’s when we learn his actual name is Panchos. He is lovely and the lady who meets us is lovely. Turns out the island is full of just really nice people, just intent on us having a nice holiday (the two we met anyway)!
Once inside the lady shows us a map and points out all the interesting places to go. We hope our faces politely say can we just skip this part. We are sure your old town is very lovely but we are merely here to drink Sangria.
After she goes I ask Tony if it’s safe to drink from the taps. ‘It’s not 1987 honey’.
We go out to have a nice meal. We sit down and 14 days later the waiter comes to take our drinks order. As he walks off Tony says, ‘jeez what a dream boat’. I laugh my head off. ‘Dream boat, I am a woman and I have never found reason to use that term’. He’s right though, so we just keep ordering loads of tapas just so we can spend time with him and we fight over who will actually place the order. When Tony says, ‘well take one of the small sausages’ please, internally I am dying and want to say, ‘actually, we will take any size sausage, either of us, what ever size sausage you have, will be great. We’ll take one for the team’.
The rest of the meal is spent with me vaguely listening to our conversation while following Dreamboat’s arse around watching like a complete pervert as it bends and straightens gorgeously as he wipes tables. I just want to reach out and stroke it. You have to understand, Tony is my soulmate and my best friend and we just are laughing at this and my interest in him very light-hearted.
Then, Tony spots a man coming along to the tables selling Oakleys, followed immediately behind by a bloke selling roses. ‘They better not come here, I’m not interested’, he says. The Oakley bloke passes by and doesn’t stop, the rose guy passes by and doesn’t stop. ‘Why didn’t they stop’? He asks as suprised as Jo/Panchos learning I was a woman. ‘I dunno, maybe your face telling them not to. You didn’t want them to anyway’. ‘I know, it’s nice to be asked though’. ‘What so you can tell them no’. ‘They’ll probably burn your retinas anyway’. ‘Yer, just like mine’, I say pointing to the hole in my sunglasses. We laugh.
I tell Tony the worst place I visited for people selling stuff was Barbados. When we arrived I was like, I don’t think that’s right that they move people selling Aloe Vera plants on, it’s their livelihood. Then the next day I was like, right, can you take this seller down and put his coconuts up his ass.
Tony says, ‘this place is like Byron Bay’. That’s were we spent our honey moon. It’s in Australia and is a place with a great energy and anything goes. People dress in all sorts of get ups from suits to hippy shit. Here there are people going by in puffer jackets and scarves, shorts, then some fancy heals go by and sparkly tops and then there was the lady in the red skirt (tutu like) and gold lycra top. Me, I’m in the shorts and full on summer get up. I’m freezing but I have no jumpers or jeans, nothing other than 100% cotton dresses. I want to be the lady that goes by in jeans a jumper and knee high boots.
Tony observes that everyone here is either a runner or a smoker. That’s true, loads of runners and loads of smokers. That prompts a game of ‘runner or smoker’, to everyone going by.
We talk about how, today I’d sent a message to Winston (dog’s) wonderful holiday family to tell them he eats shoes, as we forgot to tell them. As if to prove it I sent a picture of the shoes featured earlier in my blog. I was mortified that this didn’t reach them in time and to basically hear back that yes, they know with a picture of a small child’s eaten shoe. So, not knowing the size, we discuss ideas on what gift we can give in exchange for the shoe. The numerous pen knifes, lighters and the eye burning Oakleys just don’t seem right. Nor does the bikini glad ornament with Gran Canaria splayed across the breasts.
At the end of the meal we move the tip around on the table, both wanting to look like we were the one who left it in case he decides to give us a bit of extra sausage. The coins move around like we’re playing chess.
We walk home and I say ‘Ola’ to the dogs we pass but a bit like a Gentlemen’s Club, I have a no touching rule our of respect for Winston. Though he has shown no respect having pinched a crying small kids shoe. The ‘no touching rule’, has nothing to do with the time I surprised a dog with my ‘ola’ in Mexico that basically wanted to chew my face off.