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  • Uncle Tavo

Greetings from Tenerife in the Canary Is.

Yep, it's holiday time once again here, this time in the Canary Islands. And while I do not for a moment underestimate your sense of geography, allow me to show you (just in case) where Kara and I are now spending a week of holiday:

As you can see here to your left, the Canary Islands are actually right next to the African coast and yet this group of islands which you see to your right (we are staying on the one called Tenerife) are now part of Spain and hence they represent the furthest extent of the European Union. This group of islands is about as big as the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji, although with a much bigger population of around 2 million. I was wondering about the name 'Canary Islands' and apparently it has something to do with 'dogs' as the Latin for dog is 'canis/canaria'. A Roman general is said to have left such a name.

Well, I don't even know who she is but she was the one cleaning our room. The reason for showing you this photo is that she is probably the closest you can get to the indigenous people of these islands called 'Guanches' who are said to have migrated from northern Africa. Of course with intermarriage over centuries especially with the Spanish, it's difficult to find a pure 'local' these days but for us from northern Europe, she does not look your typical European at all but more like someone from northern Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia) which is where the 'Guanches' are said to have migrated from.

A view from where we are onto the open sea. Please take note of the vegetation. These islands are about 24 degrees to the north of the Equator which is about the same as Tonga but of course to the south of the Equator. It means that the Canary Islands and Tonga have the same sub-tropical climate. Coconuts, bananas and any tropical fruits and flowers all flourish here. I said to Kara on arrival here that the heat makes me feel as if I'm back home in Matahau!

Where we are staying...full of tourists (like Kara and I) from northern Europe. To this island alone where we are staying (Tenerife), something like 5 million tourists flock here each year, mostly from northern Europe! Its warm weather all year makes the Canary Islands one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe (12 million per year). And then you think of the number of tourists that make it to Tonga each year (30,000 or perhaps even less?). Faka'ofa pe si'i Tonga!

You can take it from me...Kara is the only one on holiday really, something she regularly needs because she sees on average 35-40 patients a day which is pretty high even by Belgian standards. But holiday for me is always a working holiday. When we travel, I am always working as you can see here....correcting mainly MA/Ph.D dissertations from university students around the world. My other job, teaching English part-time, is not as hectic - thank goodness.

I don't think we've ever stayed at a place where they served 'champagne' (Spanish = cava) for breakfast but this one does! I can't wait to get to breakfast every morning. How I wish Mele & Clare were here! hehe! How does the Good Book put it - 'the labourer certainly deserves his wages after all'. We'll put up some more photos once we get home on Sunday.

Just 2 points of interest, the 1st very tragic, the 2nd not so much: the worst aviation disaster in history happened on Tenerife in 1977; and the British admiral Horatio Nelson lost his arm while unsuccessfully trying to take Tenerife in 1797.

'Ofa atu 'aupito from Tenerife in the Canary Islands,

Uncle Tavo & Kara

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