I’ve been back from my family jollies to Tenerife almost a week now. Have been procrastinating over writing about it for several reasons. Mainly because I am a lazy git, easily sidetracked by shiny things, TV – or as has been the case this week – hot weather.
Sun’s out. Gut’s out. While it lasts, and in order to top up my (not bad at all) tan.
Tan suits me. I should be tanned all year round. Let’s make that happen.
Daughter No1 & I were on the cusp of sacking it all off and staying in Tenerife truth be told. I can make a damn sight better mojito than the southern dollybird in the Irish bar up the road from our hotel. I might not be as pleasing on the eye to the punters but sometimes, my love, less is more – particularly when it comes to mint. If it starts to clog up the straw then you’ve overdone it!
But stop. Wait a minute! I’m jumping ahead. Let us first begin, Julie Andrews style, at the beginning, for I believe it is a very good place to start.
No 2 daughter was apprehended and searched at every opportunity at Manchester Airport on the way out. Told her they were checking to see if she’d had a wash and brushed her teeth.
Dude with the giant cotton bud scanning widget said she was clean. I demanded a retest as I begged to differ. He made me move along.
Flight was fine albeit I am not a great flyer. I think of inappropriate things as the plane takes off. Instead of rainbows and unicorns and happy thoughts about my destination, it’s ‘remember that time a plane caught fire on the runway?’ ‘What about that huge air disaster at Tenerife North Airport 30 years ago?’ ‘Who will I eat first if we crash onto a mountain like that Chilean football team in the Andes?’ My brain taunts me like a cruel bastard. Eventually the voice of reason (for I do have one) kicks in and I relax using meditative breathing techniques (and occasionally high strength painkillers in view of the fact that skinning up or eating hash cakes is frowned upon by most airlines these days).
Suffice to say we arrived. It was 8:30pm. It was still hot. Our bags took forever to come round the carousel. The car rental stiffed us for some kind of scorchio insurance that didn’t seem to be covered on the number of other extra insurances I had already taken out. For this princely sum of almost the same amount we had paid for the car in the first place we took possession of a Citroen something or other. Bman was not keen. I cannot drive. To say the first tentative drive to find our apartment was a little tense would be pushing the limits of understatement. It soon became dark as we bunny-hopped, gear- crunched and swore our way down the autopista. “Follow signs for Los Abrigos then turn left”. We passed several signs for Los Abrigos and instead ploughed on toward Los Christianos. We turned around. It was now pitch black. At one point we headed up into the mountains as I kept repeating my mantra through gritted teeth, “Follow signs for Los Abrigos then turn left”. There wasn’t much else I could say. It was the only scant information I had.
Turns out, eventually, that it was the only scant information you needed. With the gift of hindsight, daylight and a firmer grip on the inner workings of a different car driven on the other side of the road, it turned out the apartment was actually only a 10 minute drive from the airport. Just like it said on the instructions… Not the hour it took us.
Comedy sardine style trip with all baggage crammed into a tiny elevator, we arrived at our rented apartment. Small tussle with the key and door and we were in. I pretty much went to bed immediately, feeling like my head was about to explode.
Next day, the sun was out. the lotion was on and we were off on a mission to the local Mercadona for supplies. Bman’s favourite part of any foreign trip. Stocking up on weirdness and local delicacies, regardless of whether he actually knows what they are. The price of tequila alone was enough to make me want to say “Fuck It I’m staying here forever!”.
Suitably stocked up, we headed back to the hotel to explore and we decided to go the very next day to the big waterpark up the road.
Siam Park – holy shit. What can I say? It was busy & we were there for 10:30!
We were fingerprinted on the way in. Presumably to make it easier to identify you in case an inflatable dinghy/rubber ring/shark tank type calamity should befall you on the premises. It was a sea of tattoos, yellow dinghies, rings, rafts and an array of swimwear.
We did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time, standing in lines. Queuing in the raging heat in, what is essentially, your undies – strangely liberating. Can’t see it catching on at an outdoor pool in South Shields though.
My favourite ride was probably the Singha but the queue was too much (about 40 minutes!). We did like the lazy river too. Who wouldn’t want to float in a rubber ring, as lazily as you can be whilst surrounded by 1500 other people doing the same thing. Then be herded into a holding pen like floating battery chickens until it’s your turn to go up the little conveyor belt in an undignified fashion. Think, Mrs Tweedy’s pies in Chicken Run. Next you are slopped into a different lazy river, where you will, eventually, catch some serious air going down a set of rapids (especially if you try and lie as horizontally as possible atop your rubber ring) whilst shouting “Shiiiiiiiiiiit!” at the top of your voice and laughing like a loon before ending up drifting through the shark tank (sealed off from potentially becoming dinner of course).
It is unfortunate that we were too busy having fun to have captured any of these moments on camera and more’s the pity that Siam Park don’t have a ride photo like Alton Towers or the Pleasure Beach etc. I am sure we would have all looked a picture well worth keeping.
Needless to say, sunstroke and sunburn and injured toes were the order of the day after our excursion. Fun though!
Our next adventure was a trip up the local dormant volcano.
You know I do love a volcano.
What I don’t love however, is a 90 minute Mario Cart style journey up the winding mountainous roads to Mt Teide. Particularly not after having drunk 2 bottles of cava the night before and Bman singing “Wheeeeeeeee” and “Woaaaaaaahhhhhh” as we weaved/wove/whatever our way higher and higher along hairpin bend after hairpin bend.
We made it one piece and took our place in yet another line for the cable car which we had already pre-booked. ‘What did you do on your holidays guys?’ “Oh we had a lovely queue. We do love a queue.”
Crammed like sardines again into the cable car, eventually we trundled up the mountain. Making with a group “Whoaooooop!” every time we passed over one of the pylons. Fortunately it didn’t take long. View from the (not quite) top was outstanding though. To climb to the very summit you had to have special permit, which we did not. Nor did I have the appropriate footwear on even if we had been allowed. Plus, No 2 daughter fell foul of the thin air at such high altitude and started to feel unwell. Possibly due to the prospect of having to actually walk anywhere rather than actual altitude sickness. Regardless, I ended up having to employ breathing techniques similar to those you use when an asthmatic has forgotten their inhaler. For someone claiming to be unable to breathe she wasn’t half doing a lot of complaining.
I walked her back to the cable car station while Bman and the Bear went for further exploration of the mountain. While were waiting, I saw a ‘person of considerable diminutive stature’ and could not have been more entertained if he had been large of foot, shoeless, wearing a cape and sporting a magic ring on a chain around his neck. Sadly, no photographic proof, as my daughter wouldn’t let me take a picture of her with him in the background.
Journey back down the mountain made me feel just as freaked out as the way up. Serves me right for watching shows like ‘World’s Most Dangerous Roads’. Although it wasn’t as bad as some of them by a long margin; the sight of small memorial cairns and floral tributes tied to the edge of the precipice, did nothing for my nerves.
Flyblown and mozzie bitten was the order of the day by mid week. My left upper arm was now covered in what could best be described as barnacles. Feet and legs also spotty as hell. Decided, after a night of insane itching and a day of feeling like I was at the arse-end of an acid comedown, that I had in fact been bitten by TrackerJackers. Those poisonous hybrid, weaponised insects from ‘The Hunger Games’. As usual – a frickin mess one way or another, like a walking disaster area. At least there was only one bite on my face. Bman started to call me The Gruffalo.
Despite resembling someone from the days of the plague or a leper colony and not actually having a full nights sleep while I was away, I thoroughly loved Tenerife. Sleep and beauty are highly overrated when the sun is high and the pool is at your feet and there’s a muthacluckin parrot show on the restaurant terrace every Sunday! Hell yeah! Birds on bikes. Bring it on!
Our final full on Griswold family venture was to the north of the island to Loro Parque.
Loro Parque means Parrot Park so I was sold before we even arrived. Another parrot show. This time with them flying over your head, around and around. I almost wept with joy. They were so beautiful. Such magnificent feathered jewels of nature in all their regal majesty.
Obviously when they started driving miniature fire engines and getting beer from vending machines then pretending to get drunk and roll around, I almost peed with excitement. Awesome!
We saw a whale and dolphin show, which I have very mixed emotions about. On the plus side, the parrots joined in. Couldn’t have been happier if they’d ridden atop their dorsal fins.
There was an area where you could see the hatching process of the birds from egg to full grown. That was fascinating, seeing all the teeny ugly little hatchlings and then seeing how they would grow into such beautiful creatures. There was a basketball court and sports area behind this little set-up. I was disappointed to realise it wasn’t connected to the park at all. I had been hoping it was some kind of training boot camp where I would see parrots on skateboards catching air on a half-pipe or shooting hoops whilst astride a trike.
Bman was challenged for my affections by a large silverback male gorilla. Full on chest beatings and show-off displays of forward rolls across the grass. (The gorilla, not Bman). Bman was open to negotiations. Think he would merrily have given me up for a banana and a handful of peanuts.
Next few days were spent in full relaxation mode. Bagging a lounger early doors and essentially occupying it all day in a half daze of sleepiness; the odd alcoholic beverage, light bite to eat, dip in the pool and back on the lounger to toast the other side. Quick shower, change of clothes and out to dinner. Very nice. It was a routine I could have got used to.
Sadly the time came for us to leave. We spent a last day baking ourselves like potatoes by the pool before returning the rental car to the airport and not being stiffed for any further monies. Spending the remnants of our euros on shite at the airport and managing (in my case) to actually get some shut-eye on the plane – probably because I wasn’t sat next to my youngest this time with the constant “How long is it before we land now mum?”
The irony of there being air conditioning in a Premier Inn in Manchester on a rainy and windy night yet not in an apartment where it’s mid to high 30s outside was not lost. It felt strange to be under the covers and cold. I slept well though.
So the Griswold Family holiday 2016 went well. With only minimal fall-outs, a couple of toe injuries and me being eaten alive by fictional insects from a dystopian future – We did okay. So okay in fact that I have rebooked for next year but this time for just me and my girls. Bman won’t have the same time off and I know we can do it without him (no offence Mr B). So next year we will have full on Griswold experience to Florida with Ma B aswell AND a girly Griswold trip back to Tenerife. There’s a seafood risotto and a Parrot Show with my name all over it.
Ciao Ciao and Adios Amigos