Celebrating #PulaoBiryaniDay with Family - “So who decides that today is Biryani Day?” asked my family. I had cooked two pots of Biryanis (one veg and other non-veg) as a special treat. The morning...
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
I am held hostage by this cruel, knife-edged cold. This kind of weather is common on my side of the island which is on the hilly regions of North of Tenerife. I have often subscribed to the idea of living in the South of this island, but my family prefer to live the quiet rural life of Buen Paso, which is beautiful, rocky stretch of coastline with green fields surrounding timeless villages, I get the view of calm sea and those picturesque sunsets whenever I am busy washing the utensils in my kitchen sink. But then geographically, this island is an area of contrasts and we only have to drive few miles and see a completely new world. This week-end, it took me one and half hour of driving through those curvy mountainous path that had luxuriant palm trees and deep green valleys, and then through the thick clouds that touched the wind sheet of my car, and finally emerging into the sunny side of the island, which is one high rise mega-resort. Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Americas and Costa Adeje make up the South of the island and it is here where most tourists are attracted to. Tourists are attracted by its bars and restaurants, all year round sunshine and fine beaches. The beaches have impressive amount of water sports on offer that include windsurfing, sailing and diving. There are sea fishing and whale watching excursions. There are theme parks such as water parks, Siam parks and go-karting tracks. There are golf clubs and every mode of entertainment. There is so much life there, a glitter world, with music and song everywhere. There are more than one thousand Indian families living on this part of the island, most of them having their own business of electronics, jewelry or restaurants. The working hours and the life style of Indian here are very erratic, with the shops doing business as late as 12pm and women and children jay walking as late as 10pm. This is in sharp contrast to the life style here in the North, where the shops close by 8pm and people are in bed by 11pm. It is the matter of choice.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Last week end there was a parade of street performers out side my shop in Icod de los Vinos. The actors were dressed in colorful costumes and were seen parading the lanes. They were talented artists who performed with great skill. I particularly liked this show of people dressed in toys costume. This was the show performed with great skill. There were actors dressed in musical toys suits and were seated together. The show started with the woman oiling each and every toy and moving them one by one. There was a back ground sounds of machine creaking as she moved the limb of the toys, Then she started the music from her gramophone and they moved slowly and stiffly. The movement of the actors was very controlled. There were tin soldiers, a teddy bear, a rag doll, a joker, a dancing doll and each toy had its own rhythm of dance. It was a pleasure watching the show and it was quite amazing to watch them move in rhythm with the music, falling out of shape when the music failed. The show was quite entertaining.
Monday, 13 October 2008
When I reached the BBQ garden in ´La Vera´ my niece was already toasting pizza on the grill. She and her brother had gone early morning to the park to book the grill and the table in the park that had more than 20 long tables and equal amount of grill ovens. This was a very interesting park. The grill pockets were made, side by side, against the rock wall. This was a perfect place for a big family to lunch outdoors. We took marinated meat and sausages, pizzas, spring rolls and snacks and enjoyed the meals. There are many such BBQ parks all over the island which have all the facilities to make picnickers comfortable. A small restaurant, selling water, drinks and ice creams are quite convenient. The park was filled up by afternoon with picnickers celebrating a day out with music and dance. One group had a birthday celebration party and they had decorated their area of tables with balloon, lending it a festive air. The group sitting next to our table had great assortment of meals that included a big paella dish. Then was a noisy group on our right, who sang songs non stop for two full hours in the decibels that were louder than their instrumental music. BBQ parks in Tenerife are the smart places to hang around especially if you like to dine in the open space.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Last week I had a pain on my right arm. The pain started from my shoulders and walked slowly down to my elbow and then gripped my arm. My sedentary life of just sitting in front of a shiny glass, seeing the virtual world pass by, was playing tricks on me. I needed exercise. I realised that I am not going for long walks, nor doing any manual work. I was just eating and stuffing my body with spicy food and letting the body do all the work. My body was sending signal for help. I needed to see the doctor. Thus began my trips to Tenerife hospitals. I got the appointment to see the doctor for consultation after one full week and was able to see him at his clinic after one hour wait. The doctor is quite efficient here and he spends lot of time, examining me. I am afraid of his pronouncing a heart disease. I have a family history and I am damn scared to go through an operation of any kind. He prescribes me blood and urine test and direct me to the heart specialist. Two days later, I reach the hospital at 8am for my blood test. The hospital is clean and spotless filled with people who are well dressed. Spanish people pay lot of attention to the details and would never be seen shabbily dressed at any hour of the day. There is a ticket counter on the wall of the clinic, where you pluck out your number. You sit relaxed staring at the counter on the opposite wall, waiting for your number to flash your turn. The blood test and the urine test arrive to your home by fax. There is a sharp rise in my cholesterol and sugar and it is difficult to get an appointment for heart specialist. I am told to report to hospital without an appointment under emergency case. The heart specialist visits the hospital only once a week. After four days, I am back in the hospital, at 8am, this time outside heart specialist clinic. There are about twenty people waiting for the doctor to arrive, many of them with the appointment done three months in advance. We wait for two hours but doctor does not arrive. Finally, at 10am the nurse apologizes for the absence of doctor to work and advises us to secure a new appointment for the next week, which might already have thirty patients on his waiting list. Disappointed and pursed lipped, the heart patients head back home, without any secured treatment or consultation. I head towards a costly private clinic-
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Every Spanish person, whom I meet, seems a happy person. I have yet to see a frown on their face. Well they have reason to be. During these four months that I have been here in Tenerife, I have noticed that there has been festival every week-end at some or the other part of this island. Lucky people, they have just siesta and fiesta. The part of the island where I am staying there is tranquillity at all times. People walk at their own pace, no one is in hurry to reach anywhere, their working hours are only from 9am to 1pm and then from 4pm to 8pm. And between one and four, I don’t see anybody on the road except few cars crossing the village. Sometimes, when I am walking on the streets during those hours, I can even hear my own footsteps. I get surprised, when people who know me, stop their car in the middle of the road to chat with me and nobody is honking...how strange! Nobody is honking! During the evenings, I see them in the clubs, watching football match or reading paper, and in the residential areas, I see people sitting outside their home and chatting with their neighbours, most of them might be planning for the next week-end party. This weekend there was an event at the fiesta called Parrandos. I was interested and I asked my brother to take me. We went there around 10pm, and streets were lighted and alive with smiling faces. All the people were dressed in their traditional clothes and formed their own group and sang the folk music. There were many different groups at various tables, each group had their own their traditional dress. Every table had peanuts, gofio (a sweet dish made of flour) and bottles of wine which they had in between their own traditional songs and music. There was a surprised meal too (a special treat) and I was tempted dig into that plate of corn and meat. The party went on for another two hours and was followed by another party for younger groups,
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Late in the evening on my way to Puerto de la Cruz, I saw this car driving at a slow speed, blocking the traffic. Finally we over took this car to say the good bye to its bonnet But this is no ordinary car. This is a classic car that was winding through the curves at its own slow speed. This is a car that you don’t see them on road anymore. Today was its day out to meet other similar cars Those other antique and classic cars that it had met during the day, parked in San Sabastian street, in Icod De Los Vinos. They all stood proudly, in their shiny body, happily posing for the passing photographers. See more pictures of other antique cars on my facebook page
Friday, 3 October 2008
In Icod de los Vinos, the North of the island of Tenerife, there is a popular Canarian restaurant, La Centinela, the Asador, that everybody is talking about. They say that it serves the best roasted chicken. My family and I visit this restaurant during the dinner time. The place is quite crowded and we wait for our turn. We get our table for six people after 15 minutes wait and immediately on seating, before we can place our order, a bread basket arrives with two aniseed bread and four small butter packets. We place the order of roasted chicken and roasted pork, while munching on bread and butter. My brother and his wife are veggie and there is not much selection for them to order except salad, white cheese and fried potatoes. While we wait for the order, my gaze shifts to the clean walls that have various painting of sceneries and art work of Tenerife. There is a bar on one side, where people are having their drink while waiting for their tables. There are two TV’s installed on two corners of the restaurant. Canarian are very fond of watching Foot ball match and the restaurants that have TV are normally populated with diners. On the next table, opposite me, there is a group of four people, two females and two males. I see them dipping their bread in one common plate of mutton gravy that they have ordered while they wait for their roasted chicken to arrive. (Why didn’t I think of that?) The presentation of food is good. Roasted chicken is served with fried potatoes and salad. There is a special mojo, (a memorable sauce,), served with potatoes, that has a very tangy taste. Spanish don’t eat chillies at all, nor any chutneys. Only a mild tobasco is served with the meals. For five euro a dish, the presentation and the service is good, however, the chicken is not as juicy as I had expected. It is over cooked and hard, and without spices it is like eating a boiled meat coated with a brown, slimy garment. It is difficult for me to finish it but a pleasant surprise for my dog who is pleased to bless me for the bland food which is perfectly healthy for him.
I have poor memory therefore I tend to forget the good and the bad times easily. What is past is forgotten, each day I try my best that my ...