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Monday, 29 December 2008

Can College Students Work Without A Crown?

Doctors have advised me to take walks to stay healthy. The best place to have long walks is by the sea shore. I often go to Bandstand or Carter road for my evening walks. But there are times when I am too lazy to go to a sea shore, and the next best option is to go to a park on the linking road. That means walking on our Mumbai road. And it is a night mare walking on those Bandra streets. The uneven roads and open gutters are eye-sore. The road outside National College is in pitiful state. There is no proper footpath. Broken tiles and uneven roads make it too dangerous for walking. One false step and I could land in hospital with broken bones. Is our Bandra ward so poor that they cannot mend the roads? They use cheap materials that last only a week. Small pebbles and dust is scattered on the streets. This road is just outside National College but it does not affect even the young college students who use these roads everyday. Many years ago, during my short visit to Holland, I had seen young college students helping with the civil work of repairing and restoring the government buildings. It is the part of the curriculum in college to contribute to the community with their services and care. But would our college students in Mumbai do that? They would consider this too lowly a job to undertake. The college students in Mumbai take more active part in organizing noisy parties and having social entertainments. Are they capable to giving anything back to society? Everybody plays a blame game and pointer is always outward. After the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack, we saw many college students start a temporary uprising, shouting slogans, lighting candles and organizing loud street plays to divert the TV camera on their ego, but how many of them are really disturbed by the poor state of our Mumbai streets? Will somebody work without a proper crown to show off their credentials? Light off. Action Shoot.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

I don't go to any beach in Mumbai......

I cannot..... because they are so dirty..... Mumbai civic authorities want to spend Rupees six crore for cleaning the Versova, Madh, Marve, Manori and Gorai beaches Will our Mumbai beaches be as clean as this? No? Then why do they want to waste the tax payer’s money. Don’t they know that people in Mumbai are not used to cleanliness and it takes them only half a minute to mess things up. Don’t they learn from their earlier mistakes? Their earlier contract to clean the Girguam, Dadar and Juhu Chowpatty is in operation since 2005, but are they are clean?. During early morning, when we go for walk, we still see bare buttock doing their morning work, during evening hours there are people eating bhel puri and ground nuts and throwing the garbage on the beach. There are many plastic bags floating near the shores. There are no garbage cans on the beach. Before we can even think of cleaning the beaches, it is important to spread the message of cleanliness.(not that any attempts have not been made to educate the public, but some people don't register) And that is the difficult task. Nobody has succeeded in teaching civic sense to Mumbaites. I am guilty too. I, too, have no courage to confront a person who is messing up the streets. I see auto rickshaw drivers spitting on the road, children shitting on foot paths and commuters throwing bus ticket as soon as they alight from bus. But do I say anything? I can’t. Like the other day, I was traveling by bus and I saw a woman, sitting next to me, eating batatawada in the bus, after she finishes, she stretches her hand and throws the paper through the window, (her hand brushed against my nose, but still I did not say anything) I am afraid to stop her. I just plug my ears, close my eyes and listen to music. I am not ready to risk the embarrassment of a squabble. I am told that they will hire contractors and hold them responsible, Nah! it will still not work. They may have best of machinery and manpower, but they can not instill civic sense where there is nil. Will our beaches be ever clean? Forget it. We will enjoy clean beaches on our holidays in some distant land.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Sorry Ma'am, I am 'On Time'

It was on the dot of 3pm that I reached the venue at Nerul for a convention and nobody was there. I looked around and saw one girl working on her computer. “Excuse me? Is there some meeting here today or am I in the wrong place?” I asked the receptionist. “Yes, there is a meeting, please be seated.” And I waited for next twenty minutes before I saw the familiar face. Coming late for any gathering is the norm in India. Actually, punctuality is the art of guessing how late the other person is going to be. I am learning to be unpunctual, because coming on time gets very embarrassing for me. Few months ago, I was invited for wedding anniversary of the friend. I was given the invitation card which specified the time of the occasion as 7pm. When I arrived at 7pm I had to apologize for being on time, the venue was still getting its finishing touches, the host and the family members were busy giving orders to the volunteers, I wanted to move forward to congratulate my friend but I was asked to wait for their magnificent entry. I looked around to find some comfortable seat for me, but my movement was the distraction for the organizers. I hid behind the pillar, on a low seat and waited patiently for party to begin, maybe I needed to change my this bad habit of being ‘on time’ Late comers don’t care nor respect other people’s time. One of the parents of the autistic child was mentioning to me about the plight of her child outside the doctor’s clinic. The doctors give the appointment at certain hour, but they are still made to wait for more than two hours. During those two hours, the child gets restless and starts throwing temper tantrums which is quite frustrating for the parents. Over the years, our society seems to have lost its sense of urgency when it comes to being on time for anything. The most punctual people I have ever seen are in government offices. Sharp at one o’clock, during the lunch hour and at five o’clock, the closing hour, the office window will close, although at other hours of the day they might be punctuality challenged. I know it is going to be hard to change my habits. Poor time-keeping might make me sloppy, lazy, selfish and unorganized. But don’t blame me. I am forced to change to keep my nerves cool at all times of the day.

Are our airports safe?

After26/11, there is security concerns everywhere in Mumbai. They check your purse at the theatres and shopping malls. The lifts in the 5-star hotels cannot operate without your room key. The schools are installing cameras in their school premises. The building societies have hired two extra securities guards after the terror. Even the senior citizens are hiring a personal security guard. Every node of Mumbai may be safe now, except, our Airports, where we see thousands of people waiting and whiling away their time, out on the streets,

Thursday, 11 December 2008

It is Important To Instill Honesty in Kids

Two weeks since, I have been glued to TV, watching the big range of news channels and my fingers punching the remote control during the promos. While surfing, I came across a new channel called ‘Colors’ this channels seems to have some nice, sentimental stories and I particularly liked the one called ‘Utaran’, I have not watched it regularly, but the gist that I get from the few episodes that I have seen is that it is the story of a little girl who dreams big and her mother consoling her by telling her stories and lot of lies. The mother seems to be a compulsive liar. She gets a job as a maid but is not truthful to her employer; she lies to her daughter telling her that they are in a game of hide-n-seek and that the winner(is the one who is not revealed from their hiding place) will be rewarded of living into a big house. The deceit make her very uncomfortable and she is stressed all the time. Considering that, I feel it is better to tell the truth and face the challenge. It is not right to misguide the young children. Eventually, when the child learns the truth, what respect will she have for her mom? If the child is told the truth from the very beginning that she is the daughter of a maid and that she is not fortunate enough to enjoy all the luxuries of life, she will learn to live with it. The under-privileged child, who dreams big, can be encouraged to work hard to achieve that goal. It is possible for maid’s child to overcome the barriers of poverty by studying hard and growing up to be a proffessional career of a higher position. In India, education is encouraged by everybody. I have seen many women encourage their maid’s child to study. The books are provided free to them and it is easy to find a sponsor for the child who is sincere. But, infusing dishonesty into her daughter’s childhood is certainly not acceptable.

Monday, 1 December 2008

In India, It is like that only….

I am wearing white today to mourn for the people who lost their lives during terrorist attack. I lit a candle in my room to show my solidarity and then went to Carter road and lighted one more candle. All morning I am getting SMSes, telling me how angry everybody is. The TV and the Radio are continuously getting people to express their anger and everybody has suggestions to make. There are events lined up for next two weeks at different venues in Mumbai, On Wednesday, there is meeting at Gateway of India, and all are asked to come together and show their solidarity without the use of guns. They have one spirit, one Mumbai. The slogan is ‘Enough is Enough’.. Right now I get a message on my mobile. It says ‘What a shame and disgrace to every citizen of India that elite NSG Force was transported into ordinary BEST buses whereas our cricketers are transported into state of the art luxury buses. These jawans lay down their lives to protect every Indian and these cricketers get paid even if they lose a match. We worship these cricketers and forget the martyrdom of these brave jawans.’ Can we really fight the system?. A common man faces much more hardship in getting any work done. There are long queues, with lethargy shown by every government employees. For every task, we need influence. If you don’t show a five hundred rupee note, then you will have to visit the officer several times. Depending on the nature of task, the value of bribe increases and they have no shame in asking for a bribe. Their stomach is never full. They openly say that they are underpaid. Such is the system we have learnt to live with it. Whom do we complain to? We just accept this system and find the easy way out by parting with our hard earned money. It has always been ‘money talks, bullshit walks’ Talking about security, can we really trust anybody? Have you tried calling police station in the middle of the night? Don’t be surprised if they are caught napping. Why will they not nap? If they were paid well, they would show more responsibility. But our corrupt ministers only fill their own pockets and use the security guards to shop for vegetables and fruits from the corner store. This is India, and it is like that only……

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Mission unaccomplished….Mumbaikar spirit is still alive……

Now that this madness is almost over, I am thinking about how safe is my city of Mumbai? I have known such firing and violence in Hollywood and Bollywood movies and also on TV news channels when they show war torn countries like Iraq and Israel, Afghanistan and even Kashmir, but Mumbai? No, it can’t be Mumbai! This is unthinkable. This is the place where I have lived most part of my life. Many times, I have returned home alone late nights. I have always boasted about Mumbai being the safest city to live. But now, I am not sure. I get calls and sms from my friends and relative from distant countries asking me if I am safe. Yes, I am safe; I live in a suburb which is far from South Mumbai. There is silence here. The roads are deserted on the first day, because, everybody is glued to TV and afraid to go out, but knowing the Mumbai spirit, it is not possible for any Mumbaikar to be trapped into their house for too long, so by evening, when I am tired of watching TV, I go to Carter road, the nearest sea-side promenade and I meet many people there, basking in the sea breeze and sharing notes, discussing security and cursing politicians Most part of the day, I stayed glued to the TV, watching the commotion as the action unfolds. This is happening just few miles away from my home. There are many people out there. Policemen, fire fighters and commandos, who are trying save the people, trapped in those hotels. There are reporters and cameramen reporting the latest updates. The terrorist had arrived in Mumbai by boat, they made no demands. They just went berserk, throwing bombs, killing people randomly, asking British and Americans for their passports. Their plan was to destroy the symbol of economy strength of Mumbai. They came with the intention of reducing Taj Hotel to rubble, they had enough ammunition (we are told) and they were asked to destroy as much as could they could, till their last breath but they were not expecting early resistance. I am thankful to our Police, army and fire fighters who risked their lives and tried to end it sooner than they had expected. Nevertheless, the resistance went on for more than 60 hours. They had so much ammunition stored in the hotel and nobody knew anything about it? How they were able to smuggle dangerous bombs of this much magnitude into Mumbai? Was nobody watching? We are not even sure about the number of terrorist that have entered the country or how many of them are still hiding in Mumbai? Is it really over? How will I protect myself if one of them knocks on my door? I am really confused. To get some solace, I go on net to read what my other bloggers friends have to say. I keep watching TV periodically (can’t watch it for too long) and then go on net to read more on Ryze and Facebook and have been seeing/reading the anger on every face. But one thing I am sure is that Mumbaikar spirit is unbroken. When asked if they would visit Taj Hotel any time in future, everybody answers are in affirmative that they will always go and will never be afraid. People have come out on the street with candles in their hand to show their solidarity. People in Mumbai have made a pledge. They will take time to be a Mumbaikar rather than parasites that live off its resources. They will no more look the other way when unscrupulous politicians and crass media barons offend their sense of civility. They will turn up to vote. They will really, really care about the people whom they share this city with. No more fighting over Marathi Manoos or Bihari autowallah, or a Muslim neighbors. Mumbaite will stick to each other through thick and thin. They will watch their city border as responsible citizens and will not allow their Mumbai to burn, not for any reason at all. Mumbaikars have pledged to live in harmony and make this a secure place like it always was, before that bomb blast of 1993. Peace and security will return. Mumbaikars are sure of that.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Can cold and cough really kill….

And now that I am Mumbai, in my home town, after such a long gap, I thought I would start enjoying myself…but nature has some other plans for me.. The change in weather has played tricks on me.. It was too cold out there in Spain and it is too hot here back home…and my body first shrinks and shivers in Spain in cold then expands and bleeds with sweat in the heat of Mumbai and then is confused and then attacks me with flu, cough and cold, my great nightly companions, keeping me awake all night. But I am lucky. In Mumbai, we have doctor in every lane, every alternate building will allow a doctor to open their clinic in a garage. We can try one doctor for a day or two, and if you are not feeling better, you can change the doctor with no questions asked. In Spain, it was different. For ordinary sickness such as cold and flu, you can either visit a pharmacy, who will examine you and prescribe a medicine or you visit an expensive private clinic. There are hospitals too, but there are long queues there and doctors may or may not report to work. Private clinic are so expensive that you will not visit him more than once. So, coming back to my illness, it has extended over ten days now and I have tried all the remedies, changed two doctors and popped N number of pills. I have tried salt water gargle, honey brewed with ginger, sanitized my bedroom with sun and Dettol. Tried every remedy to cure myself, but this stubborn illness will not leave my domain. Will it really kill me? I hope not.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Back in Mumbai

And I was feeling good. Well. At least that’s what I felt when I heard the wheel of the plane rumbling down the runway. But the moment the door opened, I was greeted by the warm, polluted, smoky air. The airport smelt of phenol (ugh!) and the arrival lounge…..well…there is no arrival lounge to talk about. There were thousands of people standing behind the iron dividers, out on the street, all craning their necks to look for a familiar face, wiping their brow and kicking the sand under their feet. The Mumbai airport is under renovation for quite sometime now and there are unfinished constructions everywhere with small hills of sands and stones. The car was parked way too far and my nephew who came to the airport to receive me was quite frustrated and in a very bad humour. On my walk towards to the car park, I saw woman fall down on the debris of sand and stones, that were carelessly scattered every where on the road. Then there were some religious group people welcoming an Indian child star, who had returned with merit and made his family proud. they doted on him, welcoming him with the garlands of fresh flowers and an aarti. Further up, towards the car park, there were group of beggars requesting charity in foreign currency. That’s Mumbai for me. Are we cursed to be born in Mumbai? Why cannot we have cleanliness and comfort on Mumbai streets? Is it too much to ask for?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Visiting South of Tenerife

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

Street plays at the plaza

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

A day out to a BBQ garden in Tenerife

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

Hospitals in Tenerife

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

Traditional night of Parrandos

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 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

A strange car on the road

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

Friday, 3 October 2008

Dinner at ´La Centinela´

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.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

World Tourism Day

This Saturday, a ´World Day of Tourism ´ was celebrated in Icod De Los Vinos. There was a parade of musician dressed in the traditional clothes on the streets. Different workshops were organised in the park where children learnt to make toys from plywood, tins, wires and bamboos Some of the children enjoyed wheeling around in the home made carts.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

World Tourism Day on 27th September can be best celebrated in Icod De Los Vinos.

A theme for this year is ´Responding to the challenges of climate change and global warming. And Icod De Los Vinos challenges nature against all odd. A ten-thousand year old Dragon tree called Drago Millinario stands there erect in Icod De Los Vinos, greeting the tourists, who bend in all the possible angles to get the best shot of this tree which has the appearance of a giant frayed rope. People are fascinated by its unusual characteristics that include the gnarled wood, geometric buds and the sheer longevity of each specimen have earned it plenty of attention and respect over the years. Guanche ( the early inhabitants of Tenerife) elders and kings held court beneath the canopy of these trees, and the people believed the tree could foretell the future - a fine blossom pointing to a fine harvest. But the dragon tree's most striking feature - the bleeding of red rubbery sap, or dragon's blood, when cut - has not only given the tree its name, but has also been used in a wide variety of applications. The Guanches used it in various healing salves, to keep their teeth healthy and even in their mummification process. More recently it has been used as dye in toothpaste, marble, Italian violins and Venetian ladies' hair. Besides the attraction of this Dragon Tree, there is also another place that has proved to be very popular with visitors and locals alike, and that is the Mariposario del Drago, butterfly gardens and centre. This is at the end of the road known as Avenida de Canarias, very close to the dragon tree. There are exotic flowering plants, bushes, creepers with glass gardens included, which really looks like enchanted paradise with butterflies flittering away all around you. Relaxing music adds to the spell as you wander through the path admiring flowers and butterflies all around you. You go down the steps to see the exhibition room with charts and display model of life cycle of a butter-fly as well as cases of mounted specimens of butterflies that died of natural causes in the garden. There is cinema room that provides screenings of interesting films about all sorts of insects, butterflies and moths. You can spend a whole day in the Icod De Los Vinos. There is a Hindu Bazaar called Tejban S.L. on the other side of the park called Plaza Andres De Lorenzo Caceras´`, which sells local wine, cigars, cameras, watches, accessories and the souvenirs to take back home. The owner, Mr Suresh Moorjani, speaks English and Spanish fluently and is very friendly. While you are there, you could also feast your eyes with the beautiful painting that are exhibited at ´Casa De Los Caceres´ which is the cultural centre of Icod. During the festivals there are musical, drama and poetry performances held there which are performed by talented artists. And don’t forget to enjoy the typical cuisine in Icod. To celebrate the world Tourism day, there are special events in Icod De los Vinos. From 10am to 2 pm there will processions with music and dance and free entry into the park.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Visiting Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Now that the plaster is off from my arm, my family decide to take me around for some adventure. My SIL is not too confident in driving through those crowded streets. We decided to travel by public transports of taxi, tram and Titsa bus. The taxi meter starts with 2.05 euro and with every heartbeat, it increases its meter. If you are watching your budget, it is better to take Titsa Bus. A bono of 12 euro or 30 euro can be purchased, and you can just enjoy the scenic ride comfortably. A normal one-hour ride in the Titsa bus could cost around 3.50 euro and if you take tram or another bus within two hours the second ride is free. Santa Cruz is about sixty kilometers away from my place of residence at Buen Paso and we decide to take Titsa bus, we pass through many tunnels, beaches, flowered paths and scenic villages and it takes us about one hour to reach the town. Santa Cruz is the capital of Tenerife and it is bustling and vibrant port city at the foot of the stunning Anaga Mountains. It is large enough to provide endless variety of things to do and see, yet compact enough to explore by foot or tram. Santa Cruz, being the centre of the Tenerife Metropolitan Area, is the logical hub for the island's motorway network. The concert hall of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava is the first fabulous architectural structure that greets you as you enter the city. The Auditorium – this magnificent icon of the city opened in 2003 and it is home to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and stages a full and varied programs of music For art lovers you can see the street exhibition of sculptures along the streets as you wheel through the streets. Many of the works of art are along Rambla General Franco, the arterial walkway that runs the length of the city; Parque García Sanabria, the ‘lungs’ of the city and around Plaza de Toros (the Bull Ring). The Santa Cruz harbour is one of the busiest in Spain, and three different quays host regular ferries, fast ferries, cruise ships and merchant ships. Just 8 km outside the city below the quaint fishing village of San Andrés, is Tenerife’s most spectacular beach. One and a half kilometres of beautiful white sand brought from the Spanish Sahara and backed by palm trees. A reef protects the beach from high rollers, creating an idyllic swimming and snorkelling lagoon. Santa Cruz is characterized for its nightlife consisting of discotheques and pubs in the Marina park and Residencial Anaga, as well as pubs in La Noria street. The city is also renowned for it’s massive, popular and at the same time sophisticated carnival, one of the biggest in the World, declared of International Tourist Interest after general Franco's death. It takes the city by storm in February or March every year. During summer there are fiestas all over the city and people are all in the festive mood. We move round the city in trams that are very comfortable and its slow speed allows the comfort of watching the arteries of the city. And it takes all day, to explore the restaurants, beaches, shopping streets, and decide to return back when the limbs start complaining of too much activity. One day to visit Santa Cruz is just not enough to see it all……

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