Tenerife Tattle now at eTenerife

Looking back over the posts  in Tenerife Tattle  is like reading a diary and of course, that is exactly what it is. Although it was written by an expat living in Tenerife, it is less about Tenerife itself than the little funny things and frustrations that make each day different from the one before and these are things that happen to everybody, everywhere.

There are rants about school books and gossip about my high maintenance sister in law, tales of my pets’ escapades,  descriptions of days out and the odd snippet about my even odder neighbour (she of the sh*t – slinging escapade).

I always saw Tenerife Tattle as a bit of light relief and separate from my main website eTenerife.com which has been for ten years, ‘Tenerife Information for Tourists and Expat Residents’.

Thanks to an ever decreasing amount of time or an ever increasing lack of organisation, I reached a point where something had to give. In the end I had to look at both sites and admit I was doing neither of them justice.

So, I decided to put them together  and now eTenerife has been spruced up into a new blog style. It will incorporate both the gossipy lifestyle type articles that used to be found in Tenerife Tattle and the holiday and property related information that it always covered before.

Tenerife Tattle will no longer be updated and much of its archival content will be moved over to the new and improved eTenerife.com. I hope you will join me over there. :)

Excerpts from eTenerife.com

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Volcanic Ash Insurance Fiasco

I just hate the fact that some insurance companies will not pay out over the chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano. God knows they are eager enough to gouge the money out of us at every turn but when it comes time to cough up … that’s a different story.

On the other hand, I don’t suppose that you can argue that the Icelandic volcano was an Act of God (and man, is she pissed off!) as insurance companies bandy the phrase. It was and is a natural disaster which was not the cause of any human intervention and could not have been reasonably foreseen or prevented.

According to the Association of British Insurers some policies will cover volcanic ash so not every company is leaving its customers high and dry. Airlines are rebooking and refunding; it is the cost of unused hotels and accommodation or forced hotel extensions that will be the cause of contention.

Holiday insurance has been a godsend for many a hapless traveller and in cases of illness or theft or when a holiday has to be cancelled then that extra amount tacked on to the cost of your holiday seems money well spent indeed.  But this time? Well, there has never been a clearer illustration of the need to read the small print and compare the policies.

The Association of British Insurers issued the following press release on the subject:

Travel disruption due to Volcanic dust cloud – advice from the ABI

“Travel insurance policies will differ in this situation; there is no standard set of conditions which applies to a situation of this kind. Therefore customers should check their travel insurance policy, and speak to their travel insurer to understand what their individual policy covers them for in this situation.”

People travelling to or from a UK airport are having their travel plans disrupted due to an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland.  The ABI advises customers who may be affected that:

• Volcanic eruptions are not always covered by travel insurance for cancellation and delay. However, some policies will cover this, so you should contact your travel insurance company to check what your policy covers.
• If your flight is cancelled, most airlines will offer you either a full refund or an alternative flight.
• If your flight is cancelled and you do not travel, most travel insurers will refund your premium if you took out a single trip policy.
• If you accept an alternative flight at a later date, most travel insurers will amend your policy to cover your new travel arrangements and dates.
• Insurance only covers events that happen after the policy is taken out so customers taking out travel insurance from today onwards will not be covered for this event.
• Deciding that you no longer wish to travel will not be covered by your travel insurance policy.

Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

“Travel insurance policies will differ in this situation; there is no standard set of conditions which applies to a situation of this kind. Therefore customers should check their travel insurance policy, and speak to their travel insurer to understand what their individual policy covers them for in this situation.”

If your insurance company does pay out, please drop me a note here to let me know. Those who stand by their customers deserve all the attention they can get.

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Cheap Long-Term Accommodation in Tenerife

hunting for flat share in Tenerife

Pic by lilinhah

Low in Funds

I received an email from Jill who wants to stay a bit longer in Tenerife but whose funds are running low. After her contract expired Jill looked around to find cheaper accommodation but the best she found was an €18 a night B & B in Los Cristianos. That’s daylight robbery!

My neighbour’s comfortable two bed/2 bath with terrace and garden has been reduced to €450 a month from it’s previous rate of €550 because of the crisis which makes it cheaper to rent for the month than one measly room in a hostel.

Of course, you can’t get long-term rates on short-term stays and neither is anyone likely to hand you the keys to their pad unless you are in gainful employment and have both a down payment and a deposit in hand. So what can you do?

Hunting for Flat Shares in Tenerife

Well, look for a flat share is the answer. You will still really be paying for one room plus use of the flat’s facilities but you’ll get a much better price and who knows you and your new flattie may just get on like a house on fire. Er… maybe that’s not such a great idea!

Anyway, where to find these fabulous flats shares in Tenerife?

A good place to look is the notice boards in any Cultural Centre or some of the supermarkets.

As it was on my mind I cast an eye over the notice board in Las Galletas Cultural Centre and found three possibilities right away.

Flats to Share

1. Rent of one room in a two bedroom apartment in Guargacho. €180 per month. Tel: xxxxxxxxx

2. Flat share in Las Galletas (sea view) €200pm Tel: 922 xxx xxx

3. El Fraile flat share – no price given but it says economico! Tel: xxx xxx xxx

(Contact details have been removed but these are real examples of rates on offer.)

Any of these would be a better bet for a budget-conscious visitor than a pay-by-the-night hostel.

There is a humongous notice board in the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre and if I were looking for a flat share that is where I’d start.

And if anyone reading is looking for a flat mate then you are welcome to say so in a comment below. You never know…

Happy hunting!

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Google Inc Moving to Tenerife! Eh?

So have I been living in a bubble lately or is this an April Fool’s Day joke that is running a bit behind schedule?

Much as I would love to see Tenerife become the centre of the Google galaxy, I find the news of Google Inc decamping to Granadilla de Abona as announced in a press release by Ars-Novum in Puerto de La Cruz just a little hard to swallow (okay, a LOT hard to swallow!).

Reasons given for the major move include changes  to media law by the Obama administration which will increase restrictions on the Youtube and Google video search channels and the imminent bankruptcy of the state of California.

The installation of the Network Access Point West Africa – Canary Islands is seen as one positive factor behind the move as is the possibility of harnessing green energy to run the internet giant’s service centre and the region’s low labour costs (you can say that again) and tax breaks.

While I find the story unlikely there can really only be three explanations for it, can’t there?

1. It is a badly timed April Fool’s Day joke.
2. It is a crafty PR exercise dreamt up by Ars-Novum to create some buzz about their company.
3. It is true!

Given the astronomical rise in unemployment in Tenerife since December 2009, I can’t think of better news for Tenerife than the investment in infrastructure and technology that a move like this would necessitate. It would also shift the economic reliance of the island and open it up to more sources of revenue than tourism and bananas ;)

Much as I would LOVE this news to be true, I am not holding my breath. Are you?

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Alicia Keys and Alejandro Sanz in Tenerife

Alejandro Sanz’ Paradise Tour is said by the promoters to be the most important of his career. Certainly his Looking for Paradise release with Alicia Keys is a cracker. Here are the two of them giving it laldie (Scottish for singing their hearts out) on tour last year.

Both artists are playing in Tenerife this summer. The lovely Alicia Keys will playing Quayside in Santa Cruz in June with tickets going for €35 or €60 while Alejandro Sanz is playing Tenerife on August 28 in the Adeje Soccer Stadium. Tickets for Sanz concert are €25 for the masses while the chosen few may opt for ‘Paraiso LG’ seats for €50 which allow them to enjoy ‘toda la fuerza’ of the experience plus have their own special entrance so they can avoid rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi.

Tickets for both events are available from generaltickets.com

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Tenerife’s Fountain of Fuglies

You know the story, The Emperor’s Clothes, in which two swindlers convince the Emperor that the robe they weave for him out of fresh air is in fact spun from thread so pure that only the most worthy can see it? The town go wild swooning over the quality of the fabulous robe while the Emperor struts around in his altogether like a bantam cock  (oops) until one little boy pipes up that the Emperor has no clothes on.

In my humble opinion a lot of  Emperor’s Clothes syndrome goes on in the art world.  Some rich, powerful or insane art critic gives the nod to some ghastly piece of work and because of his or her stature everyone else falls over themselves to agree how wonderful the monstrosity is.

Tracey Emin's 'My Bed'

Take Tracey Emin’s My Bed for example. (Please take it somewhere far away. Then burn it).  It is an ugly and depressing thing that detracts from its environment and blights the world. Who in their right mind would give it house room (Charles Saatchi, actually!) much less put it up as a contender in a major art competition?

Fountain of Fuglies

Something just as ugly has sprung up in the middle of Costa del Silencio. As part of the general refurbishment of the town the council in all their wisdom have removed the totems that stood in front of El Chapparal for over thirty years. The residents were told that the old wooden structures had started to decay but replicas would be made and would soon replace the original carvings.

The best of a bad bunch

The totems had a meaning and a place in the heart of the town. They represented the combined community of the seven Canary Islands and yet as each totem was unique, they also represented the individuality of each of the islands. The totems also stood tall and proud, fulfilling a basic requirement of most landmarks.  They could be seen from a distance.

Soon after the totems were taken down workers started construction on a large oval basin. Obviously some sort of fountain…

Is it a bird, is it a plane...

It seemed to have seven pipes and light fittings. Could this mean a dancing fountain of seven different  coloured water spouts?  That would be nice to sit and watch of a summer evening, eh?

Work went on and on. Much time was spent on the mosiac round the outside of the ‘fountain’. It was almost as if the workers did not want to get to the next step – installing the figures. I am not suprised.

All boobs and no brains

God in Govan, who dreamt this horror up? And who rubber stamped it?  If art is deemed successful if it inspires emotion then I must say this monstrosity is a runaway success because I hate it so much I am inspired to smash it to pieces with a baseball bat.

I am not alone. No-one in Costa Del Silencio likes the thing. The consensus of opinion is that the government is poking fun at the tourists. But what cruel fun. Look at these dumpy, gormless creatures!


Are these seven hefty bathers, staring slack-mouthed at the sky supposed to express the unity yet individuality of the seven Canary Islands? If so I wonder which one is represented by the men-things which have a bigger moob problem than Jack Nicholson.

The water that you see in the pictures really is that colour. If people in CDS start to succumb to swamp-borne disease you will know where to find the hot zone. I don’t think the council has ever turned on the pumps making this eyesore also an excellent nursery pond for mosquitos.

Many think that this street installation is an insult to the tourism and expatriate money that made Tenerife what it is today. To me it is a blot on the landscape and a dire waste of council money which could have been better spent renovating poor, neglected Damon Park. To one little boy, it is something of a mystery. “Couldn’t they do people good?” my son asked me in a puzzled tone.

It’s true. You would have thought that if someone’s bright idea of modern art was a stone bath full of metal transexuals  in the centre of the town that they would have hired a half decent artist to make a proper go of it.

Still, you never know. Tenerife’s ‘Fountain of Fuglies’ may succeed where Tracey Emin failed and win the Turner Prize. If so, can we spend the prize money on Damon Park, donate the ugly thing to Charles Saatchi and have our totems back please.

Give us back our totems!

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Action Pack Your Tenerife Holidays

Andy Montgomery has written an excellent post on getting the most out of your holidays in Tenerife. With the island’s glorious sunshine, the sun, sea and sand type break is very tempting but as Andy says (though much more politely), if you burst out of your bubble and try something different you will have so much more to talk about and remember.

I know that is true. Of two weeks I had in Cairns, Australia many years ago, it is the bungee jump and the horse trekking through the tropical rainforest of North Queensland I remember.

While the rest of that holiday has faded into dim and distant memory those two days remain crystal clear.  I can still feel my knees knocking together before I leapt off the bungee tower and the thrill of plummeting to earth only to be snapped back on what seemed to be a remarkably slender rubber band.

Like all first-timers I had nervously asked the steward how many times the bands were used. ‘Awh, ’bout a hundred’, he said. ‘Yer number nointy-noine.’

There used to be bungee jumping in Tenerife at Sky Park but that sadly closed. Still,  the Tower of Power at Siam Park is just as thrilling and you can go camel riding as well as horse riding in Tenerife.

To add a few more ideas to those given by Andy you can also go sightseeing by helicopter, channel your inner James Bond by going Bob Diving and I believe you can even go spelunking.

(I have never come across a half decent link to spelunking in Tenerife so if you run a tour company that organises spelunking tours or this is something you have done in Tenerife and you would like to provide some info about this activity please get in touch).

So while you are making your mind up where to stay in Tenerife this summer, you might also want research which activities to book to fill your days with memories to take home again.

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