A small rock in the Atlantic

All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

Click for La Palma, Canary Islands Forecast

Friday, 29 February 2008

A book and map for driving holidays

La Palma is a confusing island to drive around. There are so many steep ravines that the roads tend to be twisty. If you want to go north from Cancajos, you have to start by taking the road south out of the village. If you want to drive southeast to the lighthouse from the TeneguĂ­a volcano, you have to go northwest to begin with. I've lived here for seventeen years, and two weeks ago, I got lost. It doesn't help that about half the village names begin with San or Santa which means "saint". (Many villages in Spain take their name from the patron saint of the local church.)

You need a map. I recommend the AA one if you like to get off the main road. If you're very unadventurous, you can get by with the free map from the tourist office. But if you're that unadventurous, why aren't you staying at home?

The best guide book I know for driving holidays is the Sunflower guide.

If you want to buy from Amazon.co.uk, clicking on the graphic will take you straight to the correct page.

Sunflower Guide to La Palma and El HierroThe clearest map for driving around La Palma

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark with:

Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Facebook Furl It Newsvine StumbleUpon ToolbarStumbleUpon

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Palmeran Hip Hop

For its size, La Palma has a surprisingly vibrent music scene. On Friday, the local Hip hop group La 38 released their first CD, "Cintas Perdidas" (Lost tapes) on the Monkey Family label. Of course all the lyrics are in Spanish.

The group consists of four artists: Falcon, Lese, Soulo y Split, and they've been together since 2004.

You can hear clips of their CD at Myspace:

or see their song "Kaos" (chaos) at You Tube

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark with:

Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Facebook Furl It Newsvine StumbleUpon ToolbarStumbleUpon

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Funeral at Last!

Last night I went to the delayed Sardine's Funeral in Los Sauces. I finally discovered why people say it's better than the sardine's funeral in Santa Cruz.

They say it because it's true.

The crowd was far bigger than in Santa Cruz, and over half of them wore fancy dress - mostly Halloween theme costumes. This is my hairdresser. I didn't recognise him until he spoke.

First they had a butaca - serious percussion. I took a lot of video, but there wasn't much light and most people were wearing black, so it's not brilliant. I need to learn to edit video.

At the end of the butaca it poured with rain for about ten minutes. Imagine a couple of thousand people all looking for shelter and saying, "Oh no!" all at once. Thankfully it stopped pretty quickly.

Then I wondered about for a bit and had a beer (alcohol free - I was driving).

Then the sardine appeared.

Now in Santa Cruz its a funeral procession, and the mourners are wailing with fake grief, but they're walking in a dignified way.

In Los Sauces, the sardine is being tossed around as though it's on a rough sea. The pall bearers really work up a sweat. I found out the hard way that it gets a fair bit of momentum - the guys at one side can't necesarily stop just because they're going to crash into a photographer. I was glad I only took the compact camera. And the mourners jog and pogo and screech like banshees. It's like Santa Cruz used to be, only better. Monty Python eat your heart out. What's more, there were a couple of smaller sardines brought by groups of kids. The sardine goes around the square twice, and then through the back streets towards the huge new bridge, back along the main street, round the square twice again, and finally onto the bier in the square. The kids' sardines went under the bier.

Of course it ends with the sardine being cremated. And in Los Sauces, the crowd doesn't just watch and cheer. They pogo and boogie and scream again. And there are lots more fireworks.

By then it was one in the morning, so I didn't stop for the public dance. I just ate a sandwich and went home.

Next year I'm going back, and I'm definitely dressing up.

I'll post some video when I've editied it.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark with:

Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Facebook Furl It Newsvine StumbleUpon ToolbarStumbleUpon