My medical blog on Saturday seems to have come across as a disaster story, which was not my intention. We’ve had good medical treatment here – it’s just different, that’s all. And the funds to keep it going are limited, hence the delay in building the hospital. Tenerife is subject to the whims of mainland Spain, and consequently its infrastructure is second class. The individual care we get from our GP is not.
OIL. Talking of the mainland – the Peninsula, as the Canarians call it with a definite sneer – the Spanish government has told Repsol that it can prospect for oil off these islands. This agreement – this sell-out – was rushed through despite the Canary Island government saying oil drilling will ruin our environment and our tourism. The sea around our islands is so deep that whales live here all year round, regulating their temperatures by diving to colder water in summer. Can you imagine the impact drilling would have on them? The OPINION here is that Spain will take what it can, particularly in view of the financial crisis, but give little back.
If you fancy something completely different, try a meal of OSTRICH at the ostrich farm and restaurant near San Isidro and the airport. Ostrich meat is low in cholesterol and calories and tastes a bit like steak, and the set meal with drinks is around €20. You get the tour thrown in for free if you eat there, but of course, having seen the gangly youngsters you might not like the idea of eating the adult version! If you take a lot of people with you – about a dozen might be enough if they have big appetites – you can have an ostrich-egg OMELETTE cooked in a huge paella dish.
They have been having some problems lately, though. There’s a dog rescue place next door, from which the inmates have been escaping and killing the ostriches – presumably the smaller birds, as an adult ostrich has a killer kick.
OBESITY. At the risk of OFFENDING some people, I must say a word about this modern plague with which, according to the papers, Spain has a major problem. I’m not talking just nicely rounded or a tad OVERWEIGHT – the number of seriously OBESE people is growing. When you see the piles of unnecessary food they consume you can see why. With apologies to those people with genuine glandular problems, the majority of obesity is caused by eating too much – you don’t see many obese people in a refugee camp. I saw a woman pouring sweetened condensed milk into her child’s feeding cup the other day – what chance has the poor child got?
OVER-OPTIMISTIC building is another problem here. The construction bubble has burst, leaving rows of houses and apartments unsold and prey to vandalism. And a law - quite a sensible one for once - that forced speculators to install basic amenities such as paved roads and street lights before building homes, rather than selling what they'd built and buggering off, has left our town at least with streets and lamp-standards but no houses where once there was untouched land.
OLIVES. ON special OCCASIONS Geoff and I used to take our children to Al Forno’s in Brighton. We’d always have a pizza which we could see being cooked in the brick OVEN, and Geoff always ate my olives. He wouldn’t get near them now - the olives here are fat, juicy and delicious.