On our third night (I’ve not missed a chunk, bear with me) our hotel kindly hosted an evening entertainment show: “Jack Sparrow, Pirates Extreme”. This 60 minute car crash performance perfectly epitomises modern day Tenerife.
From stage right enters a tall slim man, I’d age him at mid fifties, black curled locks scraped back into a brill cream pony tail in full Sparrow-esque get up. Walking past he asked me for a high five and I obliged – someone’s got to give this guy a break! It is from here that things started to go downhill. One of his first stunts was a “how am I able to make the middle of my arm disappear whilst still waving this red rag” trick. If it sounds complicated it’s not. We all know his forearm simply slips in to the box below. Unfortunately those who didn’t certainly did when fumbling fingers and a loose grip sent his hidden compartment tumbling to the floor revealing his perfectly intact arm. With a bowed head and a squirm of embarrassment he expertly flicked his no longer secret compartment up on the end of his boot to catch it mid air and, as a true professional – because the show must always go on, darling – he finished the trick to a sympathetic, sniggering applause. Throughout the duration of the performance bits fell off his set, equipment was dropped and even his cockatoo refused to dance. Perhaps his liquid eyeliner was just aggravating his eyes but turning his back to the audience I can’t be sure he wasn’t wiping away tears. With a sigh that suggested he was glad it was finally over he took his bow and shuffled off stage… to return 5 minutes later in his Reebok joggers to pack up his set. One got the impression life had not gone as this chap had planned. The routine was awkward, messy and uncomfortable to watch. I’m sure in his hay-day his knife throwing ability was received with gasps of excitement but things have moved on and poor Jack is stuck in his ways.
I feel very much the same about the island as I do the show. The hotels which are still in use are dated, the others simply abandoned and left to rot. Great swathes of the southern landscape have been gobbled up in to residential labyrinths. It’s no surprise that Loro Parque and Siam Waterpark are so heavily advertised as it seems they are the only parts of Tenerife that has had any funding to maintain – everything else is just replaceable! That being said Teide – the volcano – and the national park area that surrounds it is truly a spectacle and is worth the serpentine mountainous journey up to see.
Mum had excelled in her hotel choice. Situated on top of a hill overlooking Puerto De La Cruz and with expansive views of the Oratava Valley in the wake of Teide, Las Aguilas – The Eagles – was an oasis of calm and collection rising above the messiness at its feet.
Exiting the “Volcano Show Bar” that night I glanced over my shoulder and saw Jack stuffing props into the box which half an hour previously contained his glamorous assistant and the blades of 12 swords. He caught my eye, I smiled and waved. He waved back. I was grateful of the week away and the opportunity to see where my Mum had lived at 24 however this is how I am leaving Tenerife. With a glance over my shoulder, a smile and the hope that the island can get some perspective on the damage that the rapid overdevelopment is causing before it consumes itself from the inside out.
Accommodation: Hotel Las Aguilas