The bus drivers on Tenerife and the other Canary Islands have to be skillful, intrepid and well-trained. The passengers of the local bus company Titsa must also be fearless, or at least prepared to shut their eyes and pray. Round here we call a bus a 'gua-gua', pronounced 'wa-wa', and until last month I didn't know why.

In a wonderful old restaurant in the back streets of Santa Cruz, on one wall of the central open air courtyard, there was a framed explanation. Roughly translated it tells us that an English firm - Washington, Walton and Company Incorporated - exported the first buses to Cuba, and the nickname 'Wa-wa' was born.
The Canary Islands have strong connections with countries on the other side of the Atlantic thanks to economic migration - and the name has been in common use in Cuba and over here ever since.
Or so they say - whether it's true or an urban legend is anyone's guess!


  1. Oooh, I don't like the look of that road!

  2. Sounds a plausible explanation.

    1. This explanation has the majority vote on a Tenerife FB forum today, so it must be right!

  3. The UK stopped exporting buses to Cuba after the CIA sank an outbound barge full of London Route masters somewhere in the Thames Estuary.


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