More Postcards from Gran Canaria

More Postcards from Gran Canaria

Following last week’s delivery from the Royal Mail, here’s the second batch of postcards to land on the mat.

Mad Pedro

The staff in our global holiday village are delightful, particularly Pedro, our mad barman. He services us with charm and generosity and rings his little bell every time he gets a tip. It’s like a royal wedding at Westminster Abbey when we’re around and the bigger the tip we give, the bigger the drink we get. As Pedro said to Liam:

Ah, you Engleesh with your happy hour. It’s always happy hour in Pedro’s bar!

Loose Talk

Regular readers will know I’m a dedicated eavesdropper. Here’s a small selection:

And I’ll tell you one thing for nothing. As soon as I get home, I’m back on the tramadol.

 

 We went tut Benidorm in January. It were great. We ‘ad beach to ourselves.

Oh. How come?

It were rainin’.

 

Me son’s got an apartment in Bulgaria.

Nice. Wotsit like?

Cheap but those Bulgarians…you wouldn’t trust ‘em.

 

Of course, we normally go to Goa, don’t we Jean? All-in for a tenner a day – and that includes two packs of fags and enough booze to sink the Ark Royal.

A Yumbo Cocktail

We’re just a short mince from the Yumbo Center, the largest of the many tacky shopping and entertainment centres dotted about Playa Del Ingles. As I wrote back in 2012 after our last trip…

The Yumbo Center is the throbbing epicentre of gay Canarian low-life. The Yumbo is a naff treat for all the senses, a crumbling multi-layered open air shopping and sex emporium. It started to fall apart as soon as it was built (some twenty five years ago). By day, it’s an over-sized pound shop patronised by ancient slow-lane Germans in busy shirts and socked sandals. But, at the stroke of midnight, the racks of tat are wheeled away, the garish bars throw open their doors and the entire place is transformed into a gaudy cacophonous neon-lit cess-pit of drunken debauchery.

Gran Canaria Sex Emporium

It was one of my most popular posts ever. Can’t think why. Strangely, we’ve only ventured into the Yumbo Center once so far – and then only during the day to do a bit of shopping for that must-buy momento. The venues come and go but the place never really changes – apart from the newly installed lift for the mobility-challenged. It’s true, we did stop for a daiquiri or two – for old time’s sake and to survey the footfall. Our immediate neighbours were an over-waxed Franco-German gay couple with plucked brows, precision beards and perfect pecs. They could have been separated at birth. Must be like shagging a mirror. When they weren’t fiddling with their iPhones (to check Grindr, presumably), they communicated in Globalish*. Our barman was pretty. And pretty useless. Just like every gay bar around the world.

yumbo-centre

Geordie Shore

Mercifully, the heatwave has broken. I’d started to lose the plot and I was a hair’s breath away from garrotting the leathery old early birds who always get the brollies. With plunged temperatures, Liam bundled me out of the apartmentos for an excursion to Puerto de Mogán, a marina resort on the south-west coast of the island. We went by public transport, by far the easiest way to get around. Naturally, the bus stop was like a multi-national rugby scrum. You’d think people were fleeing a war zone. Why do we Brits bother queueing?

Set on a steep-sided valley, Puerto de Mogán is built in faux Spanish colonial style and very pretty it is too. But the epithet ‘Venice of the Canaries’ is over-egging the pudding a bit. There’s just the one ‘canal’ – more of a creek really. Still, we ate tapas in a lovely marinaside restaurant followed by coffee and cake in an inviting backstreet bakery. The port’s like a mini version of Bodrum in look and feel, particularly with the dripping, multi-coloured bougainvillea. Sadly, the relaxed ambience was marred by a gang of pissed-up Geordies stalking the streets and waving empty Peroni bottles. My dad was a Geordie. He’d be spinning in his urn.

Back to Bodrum

All in all, it’s been a splendid week, with batteries, scent and cigs (for my mother) recharged. Next trip: back to Bodrum for the wedding of the year. Now that really is something to write home about.

*Globalish is the cut-down version of English used by air traffic controllers, international conferences and dating apps which is totally lacking in elegance, colour, nuance or wit.

Sucking on a Woo Woo

Sucking on a Woo Woo

On the morning of my birthday, we awoke to the thud of wildebeest migrating across the floor of the apartment above us. It coincided with the thud of wildebeest migrating across my forehead. We dragged ourselves out of our pit and wandered into the sunny run-down wilderness in search of comfort food. We found it at Jimmy’s bar and availed ourselves of generous Jimmy’s ample portions. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a semi-coma around the cool pool. Around us, there was an excitable coach party, in from Maastricht. It turned out to be the same rowdy herd who disturbed our slumber by clog-hopping across the floor. Why didn’t I pack my elephant gun? As I nodded off in the shade, Liam slipped away and when I returned to the apartment, I found it decorated with Canarian-style birthday paraphernalia. A cartoon banner was draped across the balcony and a mini chocolate slice was topped with eight multi-coloured candles. We toasted my old age with a glass of plonk Liam had picked up at the local market, a steal at 65 cents a litre (yes, 65 cents), though I admit it could have doubled up as oven cleaner. Once Liam had put a smile on my face, he then took advantage by sitting on it.

Rested, rinsed and sporting a post-coital glow, we headed back to the brothel in our best gay-about-shopping-mall outfits. Even at our age, we scrubbed up rather well. We drank, we ate, we drank some more. Meals on the rock are more ‘hearty’ than haute cuisine. Liam’s steak was the size of the Isle of Wight and I was served up half a sow stuffed with Brie. As we sucked on our after-dinner woos-woos, we watched the congregation of happy gays weaving around us; young and old alike, same sex couples of all genders and hues holding hands, laughing and loving. The security guards looked on in amusement. They were there, not to harass, but to keep us safe. I wonder what General Franco would have made of it?

We bar-hopped the night away before agreeing on a final snifter or two at Coco Loco, a raucous dance and video dive. Everyone was in a merry mood, fuelled by the cheap duty-free triples coursing through their veins. Cabaret was provided by a lithe young thing whose skimpy gold lame shorts gave his religion away. He rode the dance pole like an old pro and shook his booty like Beyoncé. As we meandered through the exotic hubbub, Liam was being stalked by a tall dark stranger, a  man whose snout was so large he could have snorted Colombia. I too had an admirer. My foreign paramour was a drunken vision in denim with a face that could grate Parmesan. Liam, ever competitive,  leaned over and whispered, “Don’t think much of yours.”

 

What a drag …

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Gran Canaria, Sex Emporium

Gran Canaria, Sex Emporium

Eight hours after leaving Norwich, we turned the key on our digs at Playa Del Inglés. Aside from a few up-market hotels, Canarian apartments tend to be standard fare – concrete boxes with a small dark bedroom, an enclosed shower-room with barely enough light to fix your face, a stark balcony with nasty plastic seats, an ill-equipped kitchenette and a wipe-down living space decorated with lopsided Athena prints. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our concrete box was a comfortable cut above, with laminate flooring, trendy fittings and a flat screen TV. Liam flicked through the channels. The only one in English was CNN. They were showing an interview with Mitt Romney’s sons – all Hollywood teeth and apple pie. I wanted to throw up. At least the Osmonds could sing. I swept open the balcony door and the first thing to catch my eye was a sign for the ‘Garage Sex Shop – Cabins, Cinema and Video.’  It does exactly what it says on the tin, a metaphor for the entire mid-Atlantic rock. We’d arrived.

Gran Canaria October 2012 037

When it comes to a turn around the dance floor, location is more important than lodgings. Happily, we were spitting distance from the Yumbo Center, the throbbing epicentre of gay Canarian low-life. The Yumbo is a naff treat for all the senses, a crumbling multi-layered open air shopping and sex emporium. It started to fall apart as soon as it was built (some twenty five years ago). By day, it’s an over-sized pound shop patronised by ancient slow-lane Germans in busy shirts and socked sandals. But, at the stroke of midnight, the racks of tat are wheeled away, the garish bars throw open their doors and the entire place is transformed into a gaudy cacophonous neon-lit cess-pit of drunken debauchery. After four years of tranquilising sexual ambiguity in Turkey, the no nonsense in-yer-face, up-for-anything style was right up our alley.

Our photos couldn’t possible do justice to the wonder that is the Yumbo Center (we must get ourselves a better camera) but this certainly does:

Next Holiday Post: Sucking on a Woo Woo