OK, so I got up at 6 am and as a result I finally have time to show you some pictures of Gran Canaria, which is a Spanish island just off the coast of Morocco. Apparently I picked a good time to arrive because on my first night I talked to a British couple who said the last few days had been cold and raining, so I was lucky because when I was there it was blazing sunshine every day except for the first and last days when it was merely warm. The lady in the drycleaning shop yesterday told me I have a really good tan, so that is a great start to the summer. I’m half a stone slimmer and I’m already brown so all I have to do now is build on those foundations.
Pictures. I stayed at the Lopesan Villa Del Conde, which looks like this.
The courtyard features a fountain and, inexplicably, a racing car.
The reception area is really impressive and has been designed in the style of an old church. It is so large that it is impossible to take a photo that takes in the size of the entire space, but as you can see, it is big on pillars and chandeliers.
The immense lobby includes a balcony and a grand piano. At first I thought this guy was an exceptionally talented tourist, but it turned out he was a local musician and was practising for a recital later that evening.
At the back of the building there are those large swimming pools that I was excited about, and at the back of those is the promenade and the beach.
A sand sculpture of the Last Supper.
I promised you a racy story, so here it is. One day, I was walking along the shore, getting some exercise. I walked for about a mile or two past a lot of very respectable families with mums and dads, well-suncreamed children, buckets and spades, and so on. On I went, absorbed in the audio book I was listening to and not taking much notice of the other holiday-makers. Imagine my surprise when a full-figured lady of about 60, who was completely in the buff, ran across my path and into the sea. ‘Crikey, she’s brave’, I thought to myself, and then I turned my gaze to the beach, and nobody had a stitch on. I had unwittingly wandered on to Maspalomas Nude Beach. I am not going to post photos here, and in any case, I didn’t take any, out of politeness, but I have helpfully google image-searched it for you, so you can see what it is like. The link is not safe for work. This part of the beach contains two types of people. Heterosexual couples over 60 who are overweight and wrinkly and who really do not give a fuck what you think of them. They are enjoying their holiday and they have no shame. Good for them. Secondly, heterosexual people under 40 who are without exception exhibitionists and swingers. They have deep tans, suggesting that they have been on holiday for perhaps longer than they should, and they sit on the beach with their legs open and wearing excited and triumphant expressions as they try to make eye contact with passers-by. This, to my mind, was unattractive and very undignified and I did not reward them by meeting their gaze.
On I went. Then, after another mile or so, I found the gay men part of the nude beach, and this was a much more dignified and wholesome environment. They were all starkers but they were sunbathing on their towels which were very tidily arranged on the beach, exactly equal distances apart (lol!). People minded their own business. They read books and put lotion on each other’s backs and nobody was getting an obvious thrill out of showing the world their crotch. This was clearly where I needed to be.
The very next day, I packed my beach bag and dressed in a swimsuit with a pair of shorts and a t shirt on top and went to the Nude Gay Men part of the beach. I unrolled my towel, taking care to arrange it in a tidy fashion. I took off my shorts and t shirt. Then I paused for a moment as I considered the question of whether I was really going to do this, and then I took off my swimsuit as well, in front of about 300 gay men who couldn’t have been less interested, and a steady procession of fully-clothed passers-by who persistently trundle along the water’s edge for the sole purpose of staring. I applied liberal amounts of Factor 70 sun cream and lay in the sun, in nothing but a straw hat and a pair of sunglasses, rather wishing that the Head Honcho were with me to enjoy the occasion. After a while, when I’d got used to not having any clothes on and I was starting to get rather hot, I threw down my hat and glasses and ran into the sea for some nude swimming. Then it was great and I didn’t care any more who was looking and I wondered why I’d ever bothered going on holidays where you have to wear tight, clingy, uncomfortable, water-logged swimsuits when not wearing one is so much nicer. So I guess that spells the end of my holidays in the Middle East because they do not find that kind of thing amusing.
I did quite a lot of exercise while in Spain and I am just going to collect 1 massive Health point for all of it, otherwise it is too much to count.
Coming up: historic buildings, contemporary art.