Sunday, 24 January 2016

Wish You Were Here...

Late last year I decided that I would take some time off in the new year for some relaxation and sunshine.  After a few days searching for the right resort and hotel on-line, I abandoned my do-it-yourself approach and headed to the local travel agent shop.  That, potentially was my first mistake.

I had already chosen my hotel - due to it's adult-only policy - as I didn't want to be confronted with the horrors of a hotel kids club or have everything dumbed down to a child's level.  Holiday duly booked, I had a quiet festive period before the encroaching holiday.  Sadly, for the first time in years, I couldn't go walking in the Lake District due to the horrendous weather up there that had left many people with homes and belongings destroyed.

Anyway, Saturday 9th finally arrived, and I caught a very early taxi to Manchester Airport to catch my flight to... Tenerife.  Yes, one of the islands, known for it's burger bars/Blackpool-in-the-sun/cheap cocktails and sun-tanned Brits was my destination - but I wasn't exactly intending to venture out into the Brit bar areas of the local resort.

I checked in for my Thomas Cook flight, to be told that I would have to squeeze onto an aisle seat as the flight was full.  OK, not a problem, even though I was a little surprised to find it so busy.  When the flight was called I made my way through the Gate and boarded the plane.  I was the first to sit in my little row, and eyed each new boarding passenger with curiosity - who was I going to get?  A gorgeous dark-haired lady in a small dress and high-heeled boots approached, with her tall and tattooed chap behind.  Brilliant... oh, no, they sat down a few seats in front of mine.  This was a bit like Russian Roulette.  An elderly couple approached... OK, I could live with that, as long as they didn't need the toilet every few seconds.  No - they sat on the opposite side of the aisle.  A young couple approached, the girl just managing to squeeze her voluminous, track-suit covered backside between the aisle seats.  They stopped next to me.  OK, maybe not too bad.  I let them into their seats, the young but rather flabby lad choosing the middle seat of the row.

There was a bit of fumbling before he decided to remove his nylon tracksuit top, to reveal a nylon t-shirt beneath.  As he moved again, a poisonous, yeasty and acidic stench emanated from his armpits, released from it's six-month hibernation and stewing.  I nearly gagged, and people on seats around us began to look around in curiosity as to where the zoo-like smell was coming from.  It was going to be a long flight....

And it was.  Four hours.  By the time we landed in Tenerife South airport I had read every last bit of in-flight magazine, had studied rigorously the escape procedure in the event of a crash (like it would really help, of course) and had become accomplished at holding my breath for minutes at a time.

Back on terra firma, I collected my bags and found my coach transfer.  The ride into the resorts was... rather interesting, and reminded me a bit of the Russian Roulette on the plane.  The first hotel to drop someone off... oh dear, no, I hoped mine wasn't like that.  The next, a set of run-down, cramped apartments, miles from anywhere, it seemed.  My heart was sinking just a little - of all the Dexi disasters, this could be the champion of them all.

My hotel was the next one.  The coach pulled up and I had to admit the outside of the hotel was lovely - clean and modern.  I was the only one getting dropped off, though, and I was sure I saw some sad faces on the coach as it departed for yet another ramshackle hotel.  After checking in and finding my room I unpacked, finally feeling as though I was on holiday, although the promised 'pool-view' was stretching it just a little...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
I got ready for my evening meal (having unwisely chosen half-board) and headed off to the buffet bar.  On reaching it, I was redirected into the posh restaurant next to it, and told that I could dine in there for the first night.  It was a lovely meal, and was very attentively looked after by the young waiters.  Afterwards I headed up to the bar to enjoy a few cocktails.  I appeared to be the youngest patron there, which was a bit worrying.  A pretty young blonde was playing some 'easy-listening' songs on her piano to a backing tape, and when she began playing a Simply Red song I decided that I needed more cocktails to see the night out.  Sadly, as the night wore on, I decided that the easy-listening was, well, easier with a few more drinks inside me...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - a lovely penis, sorry, pianist
I ended up slightly merry, but managed to make way back to my room safely.  That was Saturday, and my mixed thoughts about the holiday would, I hoped, be settled on the positive side the following day.

Sunday dawned bright and hot - indeed, the day-time temperatures hovered around 27 degrees all week, and I decided to head out early to see if Playa De Las Americas was going to be a nice surprise.  The seafront was quite nice in the quiet morning, with the Atlantic waves rolling tirelessly bringing with it a cooling breeze.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
I headed back into the town and found a rock music bar.  I decided to make a point of visiting at some point before the end of my holiday.  It would turn out to be an unlikely saviour for the week.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sax Bar, Tenerife
I strolled up to the more exclusive part of the resort, and although much of it was closed (being Sunday) it was quite a nice part of Playa de las Americas.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
With the day's heat now becoming a bit too unbearable I headed back to the air-conditioned hotel, this time walking all the way around the seafront promenade.  I began to get a little paranoid about the stares I was getting from the shorts-and-sandals brigade, especially with regards to my Japanese parasol.  It was clear from their saddle-leather skin that none of them had ever seen a parasol sun shade before - unless it was a big one over a table to shade the cans of Stella on it.

Back at the hotel, with a full afternoon of relaxation before me, I donned my vintage swimsuit and headed for the hotel pool.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - vintage swimsuit in Tenerife
Any hope of engaging in conversation with a sexy Lothario or gorgeous latina cougar was dashed fairly quickly - the pool clientele were exclusively of the over-tanned and unsexy fraternity.  I didn't stay too long, and it was my last visit to the pool.

Sunday night arrived and I headed off to the buffet bar, only to be re-directed once again into the posh restaurant.  When I asked why, I was told that the staff has requested me to return again - a very lovely surprise.  After finishing the meal I decided to have a few more cocktails in the lounge bar, and hoped the entertainment would be a bit livelier than the previous night.  As I approached the lounge bar I heard a sad, twanging guitar picking out the notes to an old Andy Williams song.  I glanced in the lounge bar - a few pensioners did a gentle foxtrot around the small dance area, while the lone guitarist and his backing track played the songs.  The guitarist looked like he wanted to die there and then - all those nights learning to play riffs like Jimi Hendrix, writing heart-wrenching Springsteen-esque songs of love and hate in the Canaries, all sold to pick out elevator music in a holiday home for the elderly.  I decided that it was a good time to see if the rock bar I discovered that morning would be any good.

Luckily, The Sax Bar (as it was called) was just a ten minute stroll, and I found it had just opened when I arrived.  I got a drink from the smiling young bar girl and picked a table close to the stage.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sax Bar, Tenerife
A little while later the bar band appeared and set up their equipment.  Pretty soon they were ripping their way brilliantly through a host of rock classics, from Deep Purple all the way through to Nirvana and Kings Of Leon.  It was just what I needed after the hotel lounge bar.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sax Bar, Tenerife
It turned into a fairly wild night, but the friendly crowd and bar-staff made it a brilliant one, too.  I met lovely people from all over Europe, and some songs like Thin Lizzy's Whiskey In the Jar, Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water, Black Sabbath's War Pigs and Metallica's Seek And Destroy will always take me straight back to that bar whenever I hear them.  It felt like a long walk back to the hotel that night, but well worth it.  At least I'd found my home for the remainder of the nights of the holiday.

The following day I was up a little later than usual, and was confronted with a few text messages when I turned on my phone.  "David Bowie has died," said the first... and the second, and so on.  I was gutted.  Of course I never knew the man, but I suddenly realised how some people have an influence on you when you are young, and Bowie was certainly one of those.  I'd lost someone who, unbeknown to him, had walked alongside me through so much of my life, and the grief felt very, very real.  Latterly, Bowie's songs were the soundtrack to my recent visits to Berlin, and I was so pleased I'd seen the outstanding Bowie exhibition in that great city.  Don't rest too much in peace, David - keep challenging and changing like you always did.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - David Bowie
 I spent the remainder of Sunday recovering after the previous night, but was still ready outside the hotel for 3.00pm.  The reason - I'd booked a private star-gazing trip high in the Tenerife national park.  Yes, it turns out that the island offers one of the best views for stargazing, thanks to it's position near the equator, it's height (over 3,000 metres) and it's clear, unpolluted skies.  A lovely jovial Dutchman called Henry collected me in his 4x4 and we headed out of Playa De Las Americas and into an unexpected side of Tenerife.

We climbed through the tree line and into another world.  The top of the national park, around the Teide volcano, is truly staggering.  Gigantic rock formations and structures loom all around, the bright sun casting harsh shadows and patterns across the moon-like landscape.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Teide National Park, Tenerife
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Teide National Park, Tenerife
After stopping for a drink at an intriguing hotel high in the national park we headed off to watch a sunset over Teide itself.  We parked up and watched the sun set behind the mountain - truly spectacular.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sunset, Teide National Park, Tenerife

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sunset, Teide National Park, Tenerife

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sunset, Teide National Park, Tenerife

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sunset, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Henry then spent a bit of time erecting up his 8-incher (that means a telescope by the way - I wasn't that lucky)  whilst the temperature plummeted.  He had told me to dress warmly, but the chill was creeping through my padded jacket and layers of clothing.  As the last of the light disappeared the stars came out one by one by one by one... until thousands upon thousands could be seen with the naked eye alone.  Soon the telescope was set up and Henry showed me glimpses deep into space - the Orion Nebula was simply stunning.  Other views deep back in time and space followed, and I became aware of how stupidly insignificant we really are.  Given the numerous bombings going on around the globe that week from Islamic extremists I was reminded of the great Carl Sagan quote...

Pale Blue Dot - Carl Sagan
It was 11.00pm when Henry dropped me off back at the hotel, with a slightly different perspective of life and Tenerife.

Tuesday arrived as bright and hot as the previous days, and I took a taxi to nearby Costa Adeje for my next little trip.  I found my way to the pretty harbour of Puerto Colón and did a little exploring whilst I had some spare time.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Puerto Colón, Tenerife
Sadly, I found the area similar to Playa De Las Americas - hosts of fast-food outlets and cheap bars offering the latest football games via Sky.  As pretty as some of it was, it had a down-at-heel feel to it.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Puerto Colón, Tenerife
Nevertheless, I was here for a reason.  I made my way back to the harbour and boarded a little boat for a whale-watching trip.  I wasn't sure I'd made the right choice when I saw a couple of advertisements for other boat trips, though, as there was one tailor-made for me...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - so I'm not the only Happy Hooker in Tenerife...
We made our way out of the harbour and off into the deep Atlantic.  Tenerife, due to the deep seas just off the coast, is a bit of a magnet for certain whales, and I was looking forward to catching sight of a couple of them.  The little boat was soon to plough through the waves and up the heaving swells of the Atlantic.

Soon a call came over the radio and up ahead we were informed a Fin Whale was making a rare visit to the shores.  We tracked it down, never getting too close as it was bit bigger than the boat.  It was another humbling experience as the giant whale ploughed calmly through the sea.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Fin Whale, Tenerife
It was hard to track the whale down, as it disappeared for minutes at a time and resurfaced in unexpected positions.  I felt a little guilty at our pursuit of the feeding giant, especially as we weren't the only boat hunting it down, but had no doubt that if all we'd ever done to the whale population was watched them in awe they'd be a lot better off.

We finally left the Fin Whale behind and went in search of other 'prey'.  Soon we saw a large dorsal fin scything through the water near to the boat.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Pilot Whale, Tenerife
No need to worry though - it wasn't Jaws homing in for a bite, just a stumpy little solitary Pilot Whale.  The little chap looked as dangerous as, well, a chubby little whale could, and totally disregarded the boat as he bumbled along, feeding in the rich waters.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Pilot Whale, Tenerife
We followed him for a little while until we got a radio call informing us that dolphins had been spotted.  We went in search of one of the areas most prosperous inhabitants.  We soon found them, but the sleek little buggers were so fast they were hard to photograph.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - dolphins, Tenerife
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - dolphins, Tenerife
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - dolphins, Tenerife
They skimmed alongside the boat, occasionally leaping out of the water at unexpected points, and just when you thought you'd got them in focus and took a photo they were gone - and you were left with a photograph of pure blue sea.  They had a cheering effect on everyone on board, and it was hard not to see joy in their playfulness.

With three different cetaceans (see, I learnt something from the trip) spotted and time up, we headed back to the harbour.  A fabulous trip, and an opportunity to see some local visitors that weren't sunburned to fuck with a can of lager in their hand.

After getting back to the hotel I had a little siesta before dressing for dinner.  I got a few looks, not all appreciative from some of the ladies, as I entered the buffet bar for my evening meal.  OK, the dress was very tight and low-cut at the breast and high-cut at the thigh, but I liked it.  Sadly, as much as I liked causing a little commotion in the bar, I couldn't say the food was any good.  All-you-can-eat buffets are generally poor quality, and this followed suit.  I ended up with soggy asparagus, some broccoli and plain pasta - not what I was expecting considering what I paid for the hotel.  I soon finished my measly meal before booking in at the much better hotel restaurant for the following night - I would avoid the buffet bar from now on.  I was once more soon out for my little stroll to the Sax Bar.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
Another raucous night ensued, with the local band blasting out more rock classics, and I now felt like I was out with old friends as the same people kept returning to the bar each night.  I had noticed on my earlier wanderings that there was a swinging club just around the corner from the rock bar.  I made some discrete enquiries to the girls behind the bar, as I was tempted to go and see if there was any chance of some sexy fun there.  Unfortunately, they didn't have too many positive things to say as they often had people in looking for the swinging club... and it didn't seem like my kind of place, and confirmed what I had already suspected about the resorts average visitor.  I was disappointed, as the hotel also didn't offer much in the way of sexual adventures either.  I would have to just enjoy myself in other ways, it seemed...

The following day I went all the way back to Puerto Colón for more watersports... no, not that kind - watersports involving boats.  This time I would be seeing the coastline from a different perspective.

I found my way to the boat I needed and was soon hoisted high behind the speedboat for my little parasailing adventure.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - parasailing, Tenerife

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - parasiling, Tenerife
It was a strangely relaxing experience, and not the adrenaline burst that I thought it might be.  It was really peaceful just floating way above the boat, with fabulous views over the ocean and over the some of the Canary islands with their high mountains.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, including the on-purpose dunking in the sea, which was pleasantly warm and not as chilly as it looked.  Another one off the list of experiences that I'd always wanted to do. 

That night I dressed again for dinner - this time picking out my new short peach dress that I'd bought especially for the holiday.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
 As I walked to the hotel's restaurant a solitary old chap was playing pool by himself in the games room.  I'd seen him there often, and had actually played a game of pool with him one evening.
He beckoned me over and asked if I fancied another game.  It was early for dinner, so I said yes.  Pretty soon we had a few old gents watching the match, very studiously checking the game out and the shots I was taking.  Sadly I lost, said my goodbyes to the assembled old gentlemen and headed for the restaurant.  It was only during the meal that something occurred to me, and after I had finished eating I made my way back to the games room to check something...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife

Hmmm... so it wasn't my skill with the cue that they were admiring.  Never mind, at least I'd given the old chaps something to remember their holiday by.

On Thursday, with nothing to do, I decided to try on my new bikini and see if it was suitable for the pool area.  I decided no - I didn't want to cause any more disturbances for the old gents who lounged around there all day, and I'd probably done enough with my inappropriate games room attire...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
The front of the sheer bikini left little to the imagination, and the back, well, let's just say if I dropped anything and had to bend over to pick it up then there may have been one or two heart-attacks among the old chaps...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Tenerife
I got some snaps anyway, so the bikini wasn't totally a waste of time and will probably use them on my website.  One is already this week's Picture Of The Week.  I hope it will warm some parts of you in these chilly weeks.

The remainder of the holiday passed without event, spending each night at the Sax Bar, but my taste buds did at least have a real treat when I found a fantastic Lebanese bar/restaurant called Ilili, where I spent my last two days having my meals - far better than the hotel, even for breakfast.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Ilili, Tenerife
Indeed, even on my last day in Tenerife I made sure I up early enough to have a Lebanese breakfast before my flight back to Manchester.  It was a bit of a shock to go from the 27 degrees of Tenerife to arrive at Manchester airport with the snow falling in below-zero conditions, but by then I was happy to be home and leave the karaoke and burger bars behind.  I'd had some great times on the island and left Tenerife with some great memories, but felt I'd seen as much of it as I wanted to. 

It's certainly been a little while since I updated my Blog, so I'm happy that my first post of 2016 is quite a big one... and we all like those, don't we?  So once again I'm back in Manchester, and with the festive season well and truly done, it's back to normality.... thankfully.

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