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Seen in Tenerife - A Nice Pair of TITSAs

Right in the middle of probably the most hectic month in the schedule for my current project, my wife managed to persuade me that we needed to spend a week somewhere hot, foreign, and beach-equipped. I suggested the back garden, which has a fishpond and - as I've been so busy - would seem like a foreign place, but I was finally defeated by the weather. Chilly with occasional rainstorms (and pebbles rather than nice soft sand) didn't seem to match her expectations, so I ended up being bundled onto a 'plane and delivered unceremoniously to Tenerife South airport. Isn't it amazing how persuasive wives can be?

Actually, I wasn't that opposed to a vacation - it's been a tough two months trying to persuade the dev team to tell me what the software I'm writing about really does. Or, in most cases, what it's supposed to do and doesn’t yet. I can never understand why it is so hard to get a dev guy to spend just an hour a week reading draft documentation about the product so that - when it's finished - they will actually have some docs for it. OK, so some teams I've worked with are quite good in this respect, but others seem to think that documentation appears like magic as they write code. After all, Visual Studio does everything else for you. Still, it could be worse. At least we have over 300 pages of stuff that might bear some vague relation to the product, and - if it doesn't - it's all their fault now.

Anyway, enough moaning for this month, I'm sure you want to know about Tenerife. One of the Canary Islands, sitting in the Atlantic just off the coast of North Africa, it's basically Spanish (though the local Canarians hate to be called Spanish). At a similar latitude to Marrakesh and the Sahara Desert, it tends to be quite warm - even in October it was between 28 C (82 F) and 31 C (87 F). Something we're not used to here in England, and too much for me to enjoy on a beach for more than a couple of hours. Consequently, a lot of time was taken up sitting in beach bars drinking beer. Well, in between eating great steaks. What a way to spend a week.

We were lucky to be able to borrow a studio apartment from some friends. They did warn us that it was "above the Tie Shop" when they called round to deliver the keys. "No problem", I said, "I could do with something nice in black silk for evening wear". I did wonder why they gave me odd looks as I delivered this comment, but it was only after we arrived there that we discovered it is actually "The Thai Shop", and sells adult books, videos, toys, equipment, and associated paraphernalia (so I was told...). What they didn't tell us is that, as you can see in the photo below, it is also next door to a Lap and Pole Dancing Club. Unfortunately, I don't have any acquaintances from Lapland or Poland who could have taught me the appropriate dance steps, so I didn’t bother calling in. You wouldn’t want to look a fool by treading on everyone else's toes, or falling over.

At first, Tenerife appears to be a God-forsaken place, especially from the air, being basically a huge (and hopefully dormant) volcano with hotels and apartments round the edge. Everywhere is rock, lava, and dust. However, it has some beautiful if desolate scenery and - if you are brave enough to drive the narrow and winding mountain roads - some fabulous views.

Talking of roads, one of the most amazing things is how complicated they seem to be able to make even the simplest junction. Our local junction with the TF1 main highway consisted of two roundabouts of different sizes, six on-ramps, and five off ramps. I found - without even trying - three different ways you can get from the road to our apartment onto the TF1 Eastbound. One of them even involves crossing over it on a bridge and then going under it in a tunnel before you get a choice of two different on-ramps.

They also seem to have two or three teams of road-marking painters, who are obviously in fierce completion with each other. One team paints the give way markings for three roads that meet at a junction or roundabout, and the other subsidiary team does the remaining road. That's why some roundabouts have three approach roads that require you to give way before entering the roundabout, and one that has right of way onto the roundabout. Or random lanes have give-way markings when the road widens and narrows. I spent most of my driving time looking at the road about ten feet in front of the car. I reckon I managed to get hooted at by every taxi driver in Tenerife.

Even better, they have a "reserve" team that use yellow instead of white paint, and their markings seem to take precedence. So you find yourself driving down a road that has arrows and one-way markings in white pointing in one direction, and the same in yellow pointing the opposite way. In the end, I adopted the tourist technique of finding a bus displaying our destination on the front and following it. And, guess what, I found another on-ramp at our junction!

And, now I've got onto the subject of buses, I must thank the Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife SA for providing the opportunity for this photo (and the somewhat doubtful title for this diary entry).

A pair of Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife SA buses
Seen in Tenerife - a nice pair of TITSAs

Places to go if you decide to risk a trip to Tenerife:

Our apartment and neighbors
Our apartment and neighbors
Playa de Fanabe
Playa de Fanabe (Playa actually means "shore")
Playa de la Arena
Playa de la Arena, famous for its English Cafe
Santiago del Teide
Santiago del Teide, heading into the mountains
Las Americas harbour and sunset
Las Americas harbour, Tenerife is famous for its sunsets
Cliffs and Millionairs at Los Gigantes
Cliffs and Millionairs at Los Gigantes
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - White Tiger
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - White Tiger
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - Penguins
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - Penguins
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - Gorilla
Loro Zoo and Wildlife Parque - Gorilla

Meanwhile, I need to get back to work. There's still 250 pages of docs to edit.

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