A Frog In Fuerteventura – Day 1

Goodness, I don’t even remember when I last wrote a travelogue! I was too wound up to get a proper night’s sleep last night, so I was up and about far earlier than planned. Cherry may be a potty old senior cat at times, but she is no dummy. She smelled a rat the moment I began packing my suitcase and then brought her carrier out as well. I had the perfect little confused fluff ball following me around, completely off schedule, and not doing any of the usual things we do in the morning. But we zipped up the bags just in time, and she got unceremoniously shoved into her carrier.

The trip down the hills and to the airport was uneventful for me, but Cherry squawked a few times in protest. I alighted at the airport whilst she got driven over to her hostess for the weekend in Lisbon, off on her own adventure where she will socialise with other felines in the house. So when we meet again on Monday evening we will have plenty of stories to trade! In any case, it was the strangest feeling to be a passenger again, and this was my first flight out of Portugal! Since I was too early to check in, I decided to officially begin the holiday mode with a slice of apple pie and a can of obnoxiously sweet soda. Ah, the simple pleasures of travel… only to discover that my departure was delayed an hour. And so it began.

Long story short, I meandered through the duty free area, horrified at the prices of the items, and very reluctant to grab an early lunch. The moment my boarding gate number was announced, I headed over even though it was far too early. Just as well, because EasyJet began boarding at a time totally unrelated to the timings posted on the board. The flight itself was uneventful and I was grateful it was a short one, marvelling at the unique geography of the Canary Islands as we approached.

The taxi driver was unfortunately not the most charming or chatty of the lot. Rather reticent and grumpy, he answered questions and pointed out one or two points of interest along the highway to El Cotillo. The 40-minute drive could have been much more fun but he was just not game to tell me more about his homeland. So I turned my attention the peculiar barren landscape of Fuerteventura, thinking it looked very much like Maharashtra in India. If it weren’t for the language, I could have sworn I was somewhere in Africa or rural Mexico. It certainly is a stark contrast to the verdant fields of my Shire!

Exactly 45 minutes later I arrived in El Cotillo and was joyously met by my daughter and her family. This little nook of the world was once the port of arrival for the trade route between Madeira (Portugal) and Fuerteventura. Founded in the 17th century, El Cotillo grew from a sleepy fishing village to a trading landmark and in modern times, a unique town that boasts of beaches ranked among the top 10 of Europe. I’ll get back to you on that the next couple of days and let you know whether I agree or not.

Oh what a joy to be next to the ocean again! The sound of the waves and smell of sea water is so familiar and soothing at the same time! I managed to snag the first two sunset photos this evening. I am not a huge fan of sunsets without clouds, but there wasn’t a single cloud in sight today. Apparently my arrival chased them all away. Well, I can tell you where they went – to the Shire in Portugal!

Maike brought me to a café/bar called Triton for a mother-daughter celebratory welcome cocktail. I thought I was hallucinating when we turned the corner into one of the numerous little alleys here and ran into a (still) decorated Christmas tree. First of all, look at the tree, it is not a pine, but a cactus. I guess Christmas is on a different timetable here, or they decided to prolong it so they could do a handover with the Easter Bunny. Anyway, the bartender was very generous with the rum in my drink (called the supersonic) and before I could finish it, I felt buzzed already. Geez! I’m in my element speaking Spanish here, but by the time we waddled up to the cashier I was parlando Italiano with the bartender (who is Italian, by the way) and somehow offered/agreed to photograph the owners this weekend and interview them as part of their first year anniversary. Hic! So for the dinner of Venezuelan arepas, I chose the non-alcoholic sugarcane drink so I could find my balance again and stop myself from interviewing someone else. It’s the first time I’ve had arepas, but if I had to describe them, I would say they are the Venezuelan version of döner or shawarma, just don’t tell the Venezuelans I said that.

The holiday is off to a great start!

Related entries:

A Frog in Fuerteventura – Epilogue

A Frog in Fuerteventura – Day 3 (Part II): Triton

A Frog in Fuerteventura – Day 3 (Part I)

A Frog in Fuerteventura – Day 2

A Butterfly at 25

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