A weekly review of life as an ex-pat in Las Palmas Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands.
COVID IN THE CANARIES.
Not a lot happened on the islands covid wise this week.
Fuerteventura went down to Level 2 restrictions. There is really no difference between all the restriction levels for tourists now.
Spain will from 2023 monitor covid in the same way it monitors the flu. Only serious cases of covid will be reported.
A HIGH TIDE IN LAS PALMAS.
Swimmers were surprised to see a bale of hashish floating beside them in the very popular playa Las Canteras in Las Palmas.
Two bales landed on the beach in two days. The police were quickly on the scene.
Anyone that felt a bit hungry after swimming near the hashish were lucky to have a large selection of restaurants on the promenade.
A BIT OF RAIN IS NOT ALL BAD.
I had mentioned that the north of Gran Canaria has a slightly different climate than the south.
Rain rarely visits the popular resorts down south. Here in the north, rain does make an appearance at times. Especially in the first three months of the year but it is nothing like most of Europe. It can be heavy and short.
It does have some benefits. Springtime can be beautiful in the northern countryside. During the week, I walked the old mule route from San Mateo to Vallsequillo.
This time of the year Gran Canaria (and the other islands) are as green as they will be all year. It is the best time to visit the interior.
Very few people go walking in high summer when temperatures are uncomfortable high. It can be dangerous as I almost learned to my cost on my first visit up there. Thankfully a local driver saw the state of me and drove me to the nearest village.
Mugged in Las Palmas.
I nearly reached 60 years without getting mugged.
I have travelled extensively over the years to Asia. Western/Central/Eastern Europe. North Africa. South America and Cuba without getting mugged but my luck ran out in Las Palmas during the week.
Looking back I had a few close escapes over the years.
The three closest escapes all happened in Quito, the Capital of Ecuador. I arrived in the county as it exploded in civil strife when the government eliminated fuel subsidies.
The first attempt came when two young guys sat on each side of me, demanding money. I pointed out there must be at least 100 armed police and army within call. They left.
The third attempt came when I was watching a riot. A local guy told me I was in imminent danger and to leave. I walked through a desolate area to safety, but I knew I got lucky. I was very vulnerable for 15 minutes if anyone had followed me.
I survived my South America trip which was one of the best experiences of my life.
So what happened in sleepy Las Palmas?
I had a few pints in the Irish Rover bar on Las Canteras, the beach area. I live nearby. I left the bar around 2 am.
I smoke a few local small cigars most days. I don’t smoke in my apartment, so I have a habit of having a last smoke on a seating area near my apartment.
A guy in his late 20s approached me and asked for a smoke. I have never refused anyone a smoke if I had one to give.
He asked for a light and bent over me. I never felt him take my phone and my wallet, but I had a feeling all was not right.
I put my hand in my pocket, and my phone was gone. You never know how you will react until it happens. I jumped to my feet and confronted the guy.
I said, you have my phone. I grabbed his hand with the phone, and he headbutted me, but I would not let go of the phone. It fell on the ground, and we both ended up on the floor grabbing the phone. I got my hand on it and would not let it go.
We both stood up, and I realised he had my wallet also, and it was now on the ground. He reacted quicker and took it, and made his escape on an electric scooter.
I stupidly had a lot of stuff in my wallet that I knew would be a lot of pain to cancel and replace.
I then did what I think most Irish people would do. I decided to return to the bar for another pint to gather my thoughts.
As I walked back, the same guy passed me on the scooter and threw my wallet at me. To my surprise, all my cards were in it. I had around 40 euros in cash which he took.
I have been thinking a lot in the last few days about why he did that. Ok, he did not want the cards for a reason, but he could have thrown my wallet on the street or in the sea.
Maybe there was some bit of guilt there. I don’t think he expected me to resist, but at the end of the day, he did rob and assault me.
Mugging can happen anywhere. My luck just happened to run out on a Tuesday night in Las Palmas. I am not going to let it change my life. I will however not engage with any stranger late at night if I am in a vulnerable position.
The weather in Las Palmas has been great in the past week. Warm sunny days and less chilly nights.
Until next week hasta luego.