Posted by: adorsk | October 5, 2008

Las Palmas

The ship arrived at the Canary Islands Northwest of the bulge of Africa. We pulled into the port of Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria On 2008-09-18 at sunrise.

Chief mate E on the bow lookout as we approach Las Palmas

Chief mate E on the bow lookout as we approach Las Palmas

Las Palmas at Sunrise

Las Palmas at Sunrise

Throwing the docking lines

Throwing the docking lines

The Port

The port of Las Palmas is modern and bustling. It is a major waypoint for ships which work in the Eastern Atlantic, especially asian ships. Almost all of the ships around us at the dock were fishing boats from China, Taiwan, and Japan.

The port of Las Palmas

The port of Las Palmas

Our neighbors in Las Palmas from Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A Taiwanese ship at the port

Chinese ships at the port

Chinese ships at the port

The City

Bienvenidos

Bienvenidos

The city of Las Palmas was wonderful. It is actually the 9th largest city in Spain (about 400,000 people per Wikipedia). It’s kind of like the Key West of Europe. It has a stable climate year-round and many Europeans go there on vacations or to retire.

I got a sense for the European feel of the city when J the steward & I got a cup of coffee. We went to the Playa des Canteras, a long sandy beach boulevard lined with cafes and restaurants. We soon found that the beach was also lined with gorgeous topless women, as per the European style. What can I say, it was a spectacular cup of coffee.

But beauty is a zero-sum game on the beach. For every beautiful girl there seemed to be a proportionately hairy fat man in a speedo. Las Palmas is good but no place is perfect.

Playa de Las Canteras

Playa de Las Canteras

The boulevard

The boulevard

I spent two days in port. During the day I walked around town and the beach. I think there was a certain vivacity to the city. Shopkeepers would smile and wish customers a good day. I would hear people laughing. Spanish tripped and bubbled through the air and was accentuated by swooping hand gestures.

One afternoon I happened upon an amateur acrobatics troupe. A bunch of kids had made a tramploline by burying a rubber ball in the sand. They jumped for over three hours, doing backflips and amusing the people coming out of hotels on the boulevard.

The jumpers

The jumpers

On the night before I left I went to Parque de Santa Catalina, the park where the men of Las Palmas gather every night to play games. Old men sat in worn wicker chairs around card tables. Some were playing dominoes, others cards. The park lights illuminated canvas sails that had been strung between the trees as umbrellas. Cigar smoke hung thick in the air. The old men roared and laughed at each other.

Parque Santa Catalina

Parque Santa Catalina

I found the chessplayers and had a few games. At one point it started to rain. The park was momentarily filled with a groaning rumble of old me hastily shuffling tables and chairs under the shelter of the canvas. “Lluvia! Lluvia!” (rain, rain).

Chessplayers take cover from the rain

Chessplayers take cover from the rain

Heading Home

And then it was time to go. I left early on the morning of the 20th to fly home. At one point during my flight from the Canaries to Madrid I thought I was going to die. I woke up to the plane sharply banking and people crying out ‘O dios mio! o dios mio!’ Just turbulence, we lived.

The rest of my traveling went without incident. And then I was home.

Various Pictures

C prepares to offload the gravity corer

C prepares to offload the gravity corer

La Bandera de Espana on the Oceanus

La Bandera de Espana on the Oceanus

Need a ferret?  Just call the ferreteria.

Need a ferret? Just call the ferreteria.

A dragon tree in the city

A dragon tree in the city

A tool-na fish

A tool-na fish

View from the top of the boulevard

View from the top of the boulevard

Palm trees at the top of the boulevard

Palm trees at the top of the boulevard

Even the public housing projects have a great view

Even the public housing projects have a great view

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