1 jan. 2012


SANTA CRUZ de Tenerife

Little speck of shit on a big wall

Less than two hours off the flight, already riding the walls of a Trekkie mothership.Will this actually get better somehow?

Santa Cruz with its shitty skate park. That's not my opinion - it's what the locals call it: Shitty Park.



The north of the island face the open sea with steep rocks of volcanic crust, hardened by wind and ocean. Straight out, across the Atlantic, is the southern tip of Greenland. But the climate down here is regulated by the subtropical arm of the Gulf Stream, that carries tempered water over from Florida and the Carribean sea, with a current that turns south along the African coast, heading back across the Atlantic to Latin America.  Punta Hidalgo is all the way out there, at the end of the old world. This is what planet Earth will be like after the human ape has killed itself and things get back to normal.


Fs floater - the sweetest move 
I've never done on a surf board

On the third day, I rested. There were neither day nor night, only rain. Walking through cloudy streets of mountain-side La Orotava. Accept and commit! Up here, life is directed by Atlantic weather systems gathering around the Teide volcano. And by the hand of God. 
Distance must be measured in three dimensions up here; what appears to be a short walk, looking on a map, may be a gruelling climb or descent. The second day on these slopes, you already think and behave like an alpine goat. The streets either follow the hillside between narrow rows of 2-3 floor buildings or fall down through these rows, toward the ocean. Down there, on the other side of the north coast highway, is the second largest town on the island, Puerto (de la) Cruz.
Tanya, a frequent visitor of the Hostel Tenerife, explained the upper part of La Orotava thus: This is where bus-loads of tourists come in the day, and we're the only ones left at night. Hikers and backpackers come by Manfreds place and enjoy the hostability. Feel at home and start everyday downhill, wherever you go!

I see many elderly women with cardigans over their shoulders, strict hair-do's and comfy shoes. And the certainly see me - then look away with expressions of fear or maybe disgust. Its hard to tell what their feelings are exactly.  This one woman keeps starring as we pass eachother on a hillside pavement and here eyes point straight at the hell-goat pentagram of my Thrasher mesh-cap. As we pass, she crosses herself and bows her head, chin to chest, mid-step up the hill I'm coming down.


Down in the gomorra of Puerto Cruz, you will find crowds of middle-aged, pale, north-european tourists. But they rarely outnumber the hordes of locals that come down from the villages and suburbs along the north coast, to sit in the bars and restaurants of this old fortress town. Atlantic swells pound these walls with the power of far away winds; it's a fishermen's fortress against the forces of the ocean.

The skaters at Plaza de Europa immedietely shout me in and start talking about this and that. From this night on, I go by the plaza almost every night, for beers, slappies and skate-spots intelligence. One draw-back with the north coast, is that you can hardly roll between spots. Large parts are just too steap or rough. Like passages with the spanish equivalent to cobble-stones; the skate-stopper ground cover, riffled for rattled bearings and complete stops.

Do yourself a favour and bring hiking-shoes!

There are scattered traces of a newly built skate park somewhere in the Puerto Cruz region:
>>Sign #01: Photograhic image of buiding site, on official Ayuntamiento web page. By-line mentions "Barrio San Antonio".
>>Sign #02: Plaza Europa skater refers to a park "nearby, superior to the one in Los Realejos".

Weird place for a skate-stopper, in the middle of Los Realejos skate yard.
But the hip in, hip out, banked corner adjacent to the bowl is cool...
Los Realejos is a village west of La Orotava, also above Puerto de la Cruz. The skate park is a fenced-in part of a sports ground; it could be a great place, but the prison-yard atmosphere and BMX/inline crowd make me want to drink bleach. Instead, I head back down into Puerto Cruz to trace the alleged new park.

>>Sign #03: Testimony from local Puerto Cruz skater that you get to said park by hopping a bus from La Orotava to Puerto Cruz (over Las Arenas), asking the driver to let you off at "Taoro". From the bus stop, take some street to the left and some to the right.

Verdict: Search party will be sent out on next rain-free day.

The bus driver seems to know about Taoro and gives me a nod in the rear-view mirror as we swivel down through banana plantations in the outskirts of Puerto Cruz. Barrio San Antonio is not the same thing as San Antonio the village, which is further up the mountain, close by La Orotava. To get to the skate park, get off the bus at Sol Parque San Antonio...
 ... walk past the UFO landing site...

... pass the haunted house ...
... turn right, through the monastery gate...

... and roll up to the cathedral doors with the three little towers on top.


This way you will enter the holy grounds by the pit of serpents.

The San Antonio park is a bizarre combination of great lay-out, serious construction and the crappiest concrete surface ever seen in a public skate park.

At long last I found a metal-fest and some fellow devil worshippers. Not many metal bands come out here to the islands, so the local scene consists of do-it-yourselfers and a few fans. No crowds, no merch, just metal! Disomnia rock hell out from under Teatro Cine Los Realejos.
The last hours of the trip at the airport, since an early morning bus is the only connection there. And yet another great session comes from waiting i transit. 

Thank you volcanic island and vulcanic people for a great week of peaceful skateboarding and good times!

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