Posts tagged ‘spain’

A farm for the future

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

In the BBC documentary “A farm for the future” it is discussed about the oil shortage that will occur in our very near future. Today, the way we are living are incredibly depending on oil and the way this will effect us mostly is that the food prices will go up very fast when the oil is disapearing. Not only are oil used for transportation of all kind of food today, but it is also used in the fertilizers when farming and of course also by the farmers machines.

A friend of mine in Gran Canaria have an organic farm, which is one of the possible solutions to this problem with todays technology. This is also brought up in the BBC documentary, where a few examples of organic farms is shown. These farms looks more like wild forest then designed agriculture, but the production can still be the same or even more then the today standard farm. Another positive thing is that these farms needs much less work from the farmer then a normal farm. If you want to learn more and experience an organic farm for yourself, visit the WWOOF web site which helps you find an organic farm to volunteer on.

Regarding the farmer machines, Marcin Jakubowski is working on Open Sourcing these machines along with all the other machines needed for a basic civilization. This hopefully means that the machines will become both more effective and economical. Of course this will create a negative effect for the today producers of these machines, but hopefully they will be able to find their own target group and not be affected to much. To learn more about the Open Source machines for the future civilization, listen to his speech at TED Talks.

Also NASA is working on personal transport helicopters, both for a single person or for transporting goods to and from us without the need of a driver. This will make it less necessary to live near the sources of the goods/customers and also minimize transport need.

Hopefully all the technology needed will be ready at the same time the results of the oil shortage will be visible to the public.

Organic farm

Camping on Gran Canaria

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Last weekend (in double meaning) on Gran Canaria I spent camping on a hidden nudist beach with a friend. Because of the easter holidays just starting the beach was full of tents and people. What started as a problem when our tent broke ended up as a perfect solution sleeping under the stars and full moon, accompanied by the sound of the waves and guitar music.

Although most people don’t know it, there are some free government campings on Gran Canaria. To find them you need to know where they are because there are no signs for them or even information on the governments official web site.

If you instead decide to camp in the nature there is a fee of some hundred euros if the police finds you, which means that most people doing this option choose a hidden place for the tent.

In the case you are camping near the ocean, have in mind the high tide which peaks at 12 o’clock in the morning and at full moon.

Nudist beach in Gran Canaria

Camping en Gran Canaria

Camping on Gran Canaria

Full moon Gran Canaria

Scuba diving in Gran Canaria

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Last weekend I finally got to scuba dive here in Las Palmas, just a week before I am going to leave Spain (booked a flight  some days ago). The dive I did was a wreck dive on 30 meters deep with a visibility of about 5-10 meters, which is not so good as the normal conditions here. Anyway, this was my first wreck dive so I was very satisfied with the dive, but also happy to come back to the surface because of a water temperature of only about 18 degrees Celsius.

The dive site I went to is called Frigorífico (“The Fridge”) and is a new dive site in Las Palmas, just 10 minutes out from the harbor with a boat (towards La Isleta). The name comes from that the people who dived it in the beginning thought it was a fridge boat, but later realized it’s a fishing boat from Soviet. The sea life around the ship was not anything to talk about but the ship itself is very interesting and with several possible places to dive into the ship. Also the superstructure is beautiful and well preserved.

Some of the most visited dive sites available here are:
Baja Fernando, Caleta Baja, El Cabrón, La Catedral, Pecio Angela Pando, Pecio Arona, Pecio Kalais, Playa Chica, Playa Grande and Sardina del Norte

With La Catedral being supposed to be the best one, where you scuba dive in a beautiful volcanic environment.

Price for scuba diving here on Gran Canaria is about 30 euro for one dive + 15 euro to rent full equipment (only at a few diving centers the locals get a cheaper price). On top of this the diving centers here insist that you have a scuba diving insurance, which will set you back another 12 euro for a one day insurance if you don’t have it already. You can also pay a bit more to get insurance covering a whole year.

Cuatro Puertas, Telde – Gran Canaria

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Yesterday I visited an interesting archaeological place here on Gran Canaria called Cuatro Puertas. This is a collection of hand made caves on the Montaña Bermeja where the religious priests or outcasts of the ancient Guanche people, Gran Canaria’s original inhabitants, used to live a long time ago. The name of the place comes from one of the caves with four openings in the volcanic rock, which was used for gatherings.

But to find the best place here you have to walk a bit further to a community of caves where people used to live, called Cueva de los Pilares. These caves are also hand made and have doors, windows, drainage systems and places for special rituals and beliefs, like a triangle marking for fertility. Besides the very well preserved caves this place also have a really beautiful view of the ocean and valley, and strangely enough no other people walking around so you can enjoy the scenery for yourself.

My camera is still in the repair shop, but I am surprised how good photos my mobile camera (without auto- or manual focus) took this time, even in the evening with bad light. All the pictures below are from the Cueva de los Pilares:

Gran Canaria caves

Cueva de Los Pilares - Montana Bermeja

Cuatro Puertas Gran Canaria

Cuatro Puertas

Surfing tips

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

A week ago I started taking surfing lessons here on Gran Canaria. I had only tried surfing once before in Ponta Do Ouro, Mozambique, but still I managed to stand on the board already on the first wave thanks to some practice on my technique before getting wet. Now I am totally hooked and just want to surf all the time, although it is really physically demanding even if you are well trained from the start.

Anyway, for any beginners out there that want to learn how to surf and have access to a board but not lessons, here are some initial surfing tips for you:

  1. Use a beginners board, that is, a long thick board. This will make it more difficult to turn but will help you with the balance.
  2. Check where the other surfers are in the water, or ask somebody where the best surfing spot is. If no other surfers are present, try to look for where the most white water is and where there are least rocks.
  3. Lay centered on top of the board, with your feet slightly out in the back and your chest lifted up
  4. If the nose of the board is high up, move more to the front. If the nose instead is dipping in the water, move back on the board or lift your chest even more if possible.
  5. When you see a good wave coming in your direction, check that nobody else is going for that wave (before you) and that nobody is in the direction that you want to surf
  6. Start paddling (like the swim style crawl) slow and softly straight out from the wave/white water (90 degrees) about 3-5 seconds before the wave will hit you, while looking back to have control of where the wave is
  7. At the moment the wave hits you, paddle fast to get even more speed
  8. When you feel that the board are leaning forward/down it’s time for you to stand up on it
  9. Put both your hands in front of you on top of the board, not on the sides. Then first put up your back leg quickly followed by your front leg. Stand up!
  10. Keep your legs bent and relaxed, and look at the direction you are going (not on the board)
  11. Try moving back/forth on the board or change your weight of the legs if the nose of the board is to much up or down. If the nose of the board points up it will make you loose speed.
  12. Don’t get happy about standing on your feet and jump of the board to fast, try to make it all the way back to the beach
  13. When falling, try to land on your feet. If this doesn’t succeed, protect your head with your hands not to dive into a rock or get a flying board on it.

When you feel more secure, you can try this:

  • Instead of paddling straight out from the wave, paddle diagonally out from it. Your weight should be more against the wave when it hits you, not to turn over. Then, when standing on the board, turn the board even more towards the wave to follow it for maximum speed. To turn your board, just turn your waist/upper body and look in the direction that you want to go.
  • Instead of standing up when the board start to lean down, stand up when you are on top of the wave. With this technique you need more weight on the front of the board though, to get initial speed.

If you don’t feel sure about what you are doing, or don’t feel confortable being in and under the water, I recommend you to find a surf mentor. I have done some wind surfing and other water sports before so that was not a problem, but I still felt that I want to know the right surf technique not to loose my time trying it out or learning it wrong. The school I attend is Ocean Side and I am really happy about my choice, mostly because of great surf teachers and that they are in a good location in Las Palmas (10 meters from Las Canteras which is the beach walk with some of the best surf spots here).

I know I have published this video before but my camera is still at the repair shop so I have no new pictures or movies from Gran Canaria.

Carnaval de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

The carnival here lasted for one whole month and still i realized now that i didn’t write a single word about it in the blog. Although I liked it one month is more then enough, so I was happy when it finally ended. The carnival parties were mostly focused to the weekends at the Santa Catalina square, but the whole week you could see people in the evening who were dressed out. The most common dresses are for the guys to dress like girls (transvestites / shemales) and for girls to dress up sexy to for example cowboys, policemen or super heroes.

There was some unluck with the weather for the people that don’t like rain, as the two biggest events of the carnival took place during the rain. Both of them are within the last period of the carnival:

Gran Cabalgata (the Grand Parade)
This is a  crazy parade with 200 000 people walking 7 kilometers, from the north to the south of Las Palmas. Everybody are in costumes, both the parade attendants and the crowd, and the feeling is very vibrant with music and dancing.

Pasacalle De Carnaval Tradicional / Los Indianos
Imagine La Tomatina but with flour/talk instead of tomatoes, and you have Los Indianos. A several hours flour/talk fight that results in everybody being totally white and even with the sky as one big cloud covering the long street this is celebrated on. The tradition started with people that came back rich and successful to Gran Canaria after living abroad for some years. When they came back they were dressed in all white clothes (to show their success) and their friends and relatives who were meeting them in the harbor were throwing flour on them.

The carnival takes place during 15th of February until 12th of March and to read more about it you can visit the official web site.

Carnaval Gran Canaria

Carnaval clowns, Las Palmas

Carnaval sexy dancers

Carnaval smurfs

Carneval shemales / transvestites

Carneval crowd, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Carnaval Gran Canaria 2011

Carnaval Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2011

Las Palmas Carneval

Funny transvestites / shemales

Marge Simpson costume, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Los Indianos 2011

Pasacalle de Carnaval Tradicional Gran Canaria Las Palmas

Flour / talk people (in pub) Las Palmas

Price examples from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Here is my normal post about living costs, this time about Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The supermarket used this time was HiperDino but there are other cheap alternatives in Gran Canaria like Carrefour & Spar.

STORE / SUPERMARKET (HiperDino)
1,5 liter water bottle 40 cent
1,5 liter juice 86 cent
1 liter milk 1,12 euro
1 liter local beer 76 cent
1 liter of wine 80 cent
1 liter rice 75 cent
0,5 kg pasta 62 cent
6 eggs 1,10 euro
Can of sardines or tunas 60-80 cent
1 fresh big bread 40-50 cent
1 kg bananas (platanos) 1,80 euro
1 kg tomatoes 1,15 euro
1 kg apples 1,65 euro
1 kg orange 1,15 euro
5 kg potatoes 4,50 euro
washing powder 2-3 euro
CAFE / PUB / RESTAURANT
Espresso (café solo) 0,80 – 1,80 euro
Draft beer (33 cl) 0,80 – 1,30 euro in the cheap places
Lunch/dinner 6,50 for a 3 dinner course including drink, 4 euro for a kebab, 2,50 euro for a hamburger
Orange juice 2 euro
TRANSPORT IN/AROUND LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA
Local bus 1,20 euro per trip or 6,50 euro for 10 trips. Card can not be used when changing bus.
Bus within the island 1 – 10 euro, buses leaving every hour to once every day, and sometimes no direct bus
Bus airport to Las Palmas 2,85 euro
THE REST
Furnished apartment 500 euro/month + electricity & water (Las Canteras, beach/surf area)
Room in shared apartment 200-300 euro/month including electricity & water & internet(Las Canteras, beach/surf area)
Mobile internet 25-40 euro/month, depending on how long contract you want
WIFI Open WIFI networks can be found on the street on some places, like on Las Canteras (beach area). In cafés and restaurants it is common with free WIFI. There are also a number of internet cafés with computers that you can rent.

Gran Canaria to Tenerife

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I am just back in Gran Canaria after spending a weekend in Tenerife. I had a great time and really enjoyed Tenerife which is more green than Gran Canaria, both in the main city Santa Cruz de Tenerife and in the nature.

One of the interesting things that happened to me was when trekking with a friend in the north west part of the island. The plan was to only trek for one day, but the first afternoon we met a couple we started to talk to on one of the trails. The man told us he is a doctor and that he comes from a small village where he was visiting a patient of him, a kind of hippie. He also tells us that we probably can stay the night with Juan, as the man in the village is called. We continue our walk and ends up in the small village, which a man at the pub later that night tells us only have 10 inhabitants.

After some searching in the village we find Juan and his friends who are visiting him for the weekend. We end up staying at his place and head out the next morning for a walk to a bigger village where the car road starts, managing to hitch hike back to Santa Cruz de Tenerife with only some hour to spare before our ferry back to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria departs.

The most strange thing about this is the story a friend of mine told me when returning to Santa Cruz de Tenerife after the trek. She told me that her parents actually met on the beach in this small village of only 10 people which I had just returned back from. On top of this my friend and her parents lived before in a hippie community in exactly the house where I had spent the night, and her brother was also born there in that house.


There are two ferries from Gran Canaria to Tenerife and the most cheap of them are Armas which takes a little bit more time (2½ hours). For a timetable and prices, visit this web site:

http://www.navieraarmas.com/index.php?id_pagina=1&idioma=en

Standard price for the Armas ferry is about 50 euro for a return ticket, or half the price if you have the Canary Islands residency (NIE), which is very easy to get and costs only 20 euro. The NIE you can use for the rest of your life, or as long as you stay on the Canary Islands.


Finally, here are some pictures from Tenerife:

Tenerife travel with ferry

Tenerife weather by night

Tenerife meat market

Tenerife fish market

Tenerife market with fish

Man reading while sitting on ground bradying- Tenerife

Barefeet guy in tenerife

Tenerife nature

Tenerife waterfall and lagoon

Tenerife rock

Tenerife bar

Tenerife flowers and trees

Teide volcano, Tenerife

Tenerife coastline

Tenerife village

Villa in Tenerife

Tenerife balcony

Tenerife bird

Tenerife beach

Unknown island (peninsula) Tenerife

El Faro sign, Tenerife

Las Palmas de Anaga, Tenerife

Tenerife coast

Tenerife climate

Picture of cloud in Tenerife

Near Taganana, Tenerife

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by night with ferry

Wing Chun

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I recently started training Wing Chun in a nearby park here in Las Palmas, after my current flatmate who works in Guardia Civil told me about it. This martial art is totally different from any other martial arts I have practiced before, as it is based on very near contact, a constant soft flow instead of hard attacks and also on combining defense and attacks at the same movement. The training of the choreography for the movements are meditative and helps you know and use your body better.

The story of Wing Chun, which nobody knows is true or not, is that the woman Yim Wing Chun is forced to marry a warlord if she can not beat him in a match of martial art. A Buddhist nun who earlier was in the Shaolin Sect helps her by teaching her a style that does not favor strength or force but instead coreography and quickness. She then defeats the warlord and marries Leung Bac-Chou, who also learn the style he later decide to call Wing Chun after his wife.

Wing Chun is a form om Kung Fu and have been practised by famous martial art people like Sum Nung, Yip Man and Bruce Lee.

How to get NIE on Gran Canaria, Spain

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

It can be a good idea to get a residency (NIE) if you are planing to stay on the Canary Islands for some months. This will only take you one morning to fix and costs 20 euro. With the NIE paper you have cheaper prices on most things here, like half price on flights and cruises.

Here is how you do it:

* Go to the Gobierno Civil on Plaza de la Feria at 8 o’clock in the morning (Monday to Friday). The entrance is at the side of the building that face away from the park. Don’t forget to bring 20 euro, your passport and a pen. If you want to save 5 minutes, also bring a copy of your passport.

Map of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (Spain)

* There will start to be a queue at this time and if you are somewhat in the beginning of it at 9 o’clock when the place opens you can count on about 30 minutes for the whole procedure. If you instead go there at opening hour there will be around 100 people in front of you with different errands and about 10-15 minutes waiting time for each person of them that wants to get a NIE.

* When the door opens you tell the guy at the desk that you want to get a NIE. He then gives you an application form where you have to fill in your current living address in Las Palmas together with your contact information and your parents names. He also gives you a ticket number which, if you were first in line, will be E001.

* Now enter through the metal detector and go to the main waiting room to wait for your number, while filling in the application form. If you are lucky you will not have time enough to do this before your number is displayed.

* Now enter the room to the left inside the main building. Here find the person (of 3 desks) that is your man/lady. Present your passport and application form and ask for help to fill it out if needed. After this the person will give you another form to pay the NIE.

* Go to one of the banks that is within 50 meters from the Gobierno Civil and pay the 20 euro (in cash) while presenting the filled in payment form. You will then get the form back with a computer stamp at the bottom, to prove that it’s payed.

* After this go to one of the copy places also within the same area and make a copy of your passport (the first page with your picture on it). This will cost about 5 cents.

* Now you are ready to go back to the Gobierno Civil and the man/lady that helped you before. You will not need to take another waiting number, just go there and wait for him/her to be ready with the person(s) he/she is helping at the moment. Present the photo copy of your passport together with the computer stamped payment form and 5 minutes later you will be walking out with your new NIE recidency in your hand!