I’m in love…again. Is it possible to be in love with so many places?
After a very prolonged journey from London, no-show bus service, and late-night cab ride, I found my new home here at the AzulFit’s retreat centre in the little village of Villaverde on the Canary Island Fuerteventura. On first walking into the big house, converted into a beautiful yoga space/bed and breakfast resort, I felt completely enveloped by its wonderful energy. I was greeted by a cheerful group of fellow retreatants, chatting happily and so quick to welcome me warmly into the community here.
My interactions with some locals on the fateful journey here were interesting in quite a different way. On the plane, a school girl randomly plopped down next to me an struck up a conversation. I was surprised, not used to such a random interaction, but she was very friendly, happy to tell me in broken English about her life on the island. She’s never been any further than the neighbouring Spain. My cab driver too, attempted a good conversation in almost unintelligible English. He explained to me that the men in his family have been drivers for three generations, and he wants to go to America for one reason: to drive a truck. Does he like his job, I wondered? “Yes, I love it. It is all I have you know. It is my life.” He is lonely he says, but four recently born puppies make him smile when he comes home. He even offered me a puppy, the month old brown spaniel he named “Caffelito,” little coffee. Perhaps they both were just a little lonely.
This day proved perfect for me: everyone waking up with morning pilates together and then a fabulous brunch. I was then confronted with a nice long afternoon of nothingness, free time. This is such a rare concept for me! I was nervous, I have to admit, about the thought of so much relaxing since I’m used to even my vacation days being booked full. Now I really understand the concept of taking a vacation!
I moseyed around taking pictures, took a walk through the tiny village streets up to the local cantina, where a Real Madrid game playing on tv indulged my soccer obsession. I’m fascinated by the skinny, wild-looking dogs that bark at me from the yards I walk by, where aged island women sit by their laundry lines and little boys kick around ratty soccer balls. All this is within view of the beach, set in a desert landscape with tall sage green grasses and climbing flower vines. The sun played hide-and seek today and a hot wind was just perfect for walking around, blowing my hair and the wild grasses every which way.
Then a guided mediation and stretching class got us all ready for theglorious homemade night meal. One of the retreatants, who owns a catering company, spent the day cooking with the Azul chef, who has a wonderfully healthy approach to cooking. Together, they made us freshly-baked sesame bread, homemade hummus and tapenade, a fresh salad, tofu curry, brown rice, and for dessert: raw chocolate truffles with figs and coconut, and a quinoa/almond/date and apple cake. Yummmm! Watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (in memory of Liz Taylor) with my new friends sealed off a perfect day. There’s nothing like new experiences and Tennessee Williams to make you feel it’s been a day well spent.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll take advantage of the shuttle to the bigger, more touristy, town down on the beach. Today was the last night of the Carnival celebration there, a huge, long festival that floods the streets with people and floats and a large ceremonial sardine (a little more background here). We saw the fireworks light up the sea tonight from our panoramic windows.
due to incredibly limited storage space on this blog site, I’m posting my pictures to flikr, so please follow them there!
One couple staying here with me are at the end of a year-long trip around the world in a fire engine to raise money for charity and commemorate Steve’s father, who recently died of cancer. Here’s there site, please take a look; it’s amazing!