I’m packing my bags and getting ready to leave Gran Canaria in 4 hours, where I’ve spent an idyllic 7 days getting some much needed R&R in the sun with ImIndoors – the first opportunity I’ve had all year to do sweet F-A. I’ve never been a beach or holiday in the sun person – I’m your classic city break man – however I accepted his coercion on the grounds that it is good to do nothing sometimes, apparently.
Gran Canaria has provided me with a few pointers for the ever-evolving SpiritedStrength Chronicles Journal, being:
- Playa del Inglés is VILE – it’s name annoyingly translates as ‘Englishman’s beach’ – hailed as the tourist mecca & the legendary, much-hyped gay scene. The central Yumbo Centre is a 60s-built run-down council estate-esque monstrosity, built around an all night massive indoor market, rammed with vendors selling tourist tat (20%); Italian/Spanish/British cheap cafe/pub food masquerading as restaurants, with staff canvassing you to come in and try their food (30%); drag queen bars resembling a tranny night down The Legion, led by Northern (British) scowling, gruff-voiced artists (5%) which are predominantly patronised by straight families looking for holiday entertainment; gay bars & clubs of every kind (I’ll spare the detail) (45%). The gay men hover, waiting for the midnight toll, where the straight folk dissipate & stereotypical social homosexual carnage commences until dawn, where the party follows in into the sand dunes. Outside the Yumbo Centre is a densely populated region of council-block-looking, hugly, colourfully painted apartment blocks with no sense of planning – just chavvy, congested, tourist-trap based & tacky. It left me thinking ‘there must be more than this..?’
- Vista Bonita is a great place to stay – an exclusively lesbian & gay complex of cute duplex self-catering apartments, complete with balconies and patios, also a shared pool & jacuzzi, run by a warm, friendly and accommodating family. Based just a 5-minute taxi ride from Playa del Inglés in Sonnenland – a hilly area mixed with apartment complexes, retirement villas and large hotels, the area feels much less congested than Playa del Inglés.
- These legs have life in ’em! determined to raise a gear on #HeiferGate, having very recently thwarted 2-years of #GammyKneeGate, I was delighted to have ran every other morning! Yess!!! Let me tell you though – the island is mountainous, with some basta’d inclines, eh. After psyching myself up for a few days at this beast called I named ‘Fuckery-Hill’,I managed to run up that steep-ass mutha – I wasn’t gonna let it thwart me! It brought back traumatic memories of running the Hastings Half Marathon, convinced my testicles had ridden up into the back of my t’roat. Trauma aside though, the beautiful scenic-running along palm tree-lined bay, through Maspalomas beach by The Dunes, also winding through mountain inclines, was tough but immensely rewarding! My RunKeeper profile is alive again!
- El Faro Boulevard is the perfect place to spend evenings – determined to eat away from the trashiness of Playa del Inglés, ImIndoors searched & found an ad for the Grand Italia Restaurant & found it was housed in this area. It contained a beach-facing stretch of high-end restaurants embedded within a luxurious shopping boulevard! Much as we people-watched the predominantly Scandinavian wealthy tourists sporting blonde bouffants, frazzled tans and ostentatious expressions of wealth, we relished in the extensive choice of exquisite, quality food with excellent service and a beautiful holiday ambience by the sea at night, along side the exquisite luxurious all night shops. I had an eyebrow-raising moment on my first night though, when I ordered salmon lasagne. My reaction – after originally thinking it was topped with some form of berries & being told it was caviar – gave ImIndoors & our waiter bare joakes as I flatly refused to eat the dish, for my caricature-mind playing havoc with my stomach. Who??! Yuh-Lie-Ah-Rarse!!! Food Adventure Visit Part II was a major improvement though – the most beautiful roasted sea bass I’ve ever tasted – Yes! Yes! Yess-sah!!! Evening meals at El Faro Boulevard made my holiday evenings! Noice!!!
- Puerto de Morgán is a hidden treasure – we breathed-in through a daily 30-minute gut-our-throats, terror-speed-bus-ride up steep, narrow, curling mountainous road to this beautiful fishing village – a blissful daytime retreat! Its old town feel, with village shops, marina, sea-front alfresco Italian & Spanish restaurants selling freshly caught fish, meat dishes & hot snacks, topped with a family beach, set next to the marina and against a steep mountain – with tearing hot sun & very little breeze, provided the perfect ahhh moments and increased my impression of beach holidays!
- The famous Sand Dunes are great for beautiful pictures and #ThatIsAll – dyarm windy-upp place comeen like The Wizard Of Oz-blarstid breeze licking me in my barl head. I couldn’t rest on the beach there – it’s neither comfortable nor cute! ON exit we checked out the daftness of the nude area – straight and gay men & women baring arses, breasts, low-hanging balls and tanned crimpled narnies, walking through the bushes playing ‘stalk, me’ like meerkats, all in the name of bush-sex (cruising). Despite this segment being the first thing gay men sexually-liberated folk refer to when mentioning Gran Canaria, I was severely underwhelmed. After 20-minutes, SpiritedStrength-blank-face appeared, followed by an eerie side-eye, to ImIndoors, rounded up by me crapsing up our tings & heading to the bus stop to forward on to the beach at Puerto Mogán. One piece-ah kiss teet.
- A day trip the Capital City, Las Palmas, adds a refreshing contrast & historical perspective – we took a tourist coach trip; the botanical gardens contain an interesting cultivation of caves, wild mountainous growths and an amazing cactus garden! The Commercial Centre (high street shopping) and the beach, situated in the New Town. Also the cafes, tapas bars, courtyards, colonial buildings and the Cathedral in the Old Town provide a contrasting insight into real life on the beautiful island.
My annual Christmas?-I’m-Outta-Here trip was well spent in the sun in Gran Canaria. Grateful doesn’t half explain it! I recommend it as a peaceful, sun-rich getaway but as a party place? Hell to the mofo NO.
The lashings of perfect silence on this beach holiday gave me the opportunity to churn over a few other personal aspects – “wash them up” so to speak. I reflected on a mindset I had developed to deepen my emotional resilience over the year, when met with several meh moments mainly with:
- The professionals whom I have encountered – being a Learning & Development specialist, leading organisational & behavioural development change, ain’t no joke – some people operate shockingly in work environments – at all levels…
- The friends and associates who I have allowed to infuriate me, those I’ve decided to put some distance from & those who I infuriate because I refuse to pander to “me me me…oh you’ll be alright-you always are…where was I again? oh yea, me me me…”
When people are infuriated with their own lives, they project their darkness onto others, soothed by emotional exchanges of any kind – they become PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORISTS if you ALLOW them.
As much as I’ve tried to adopt a centred-approach and worked at letting things wash over me, there are times I’ve been tested to my core, dealing with some of these situations which have challenged me, drawing on what my Buddhist practice calls Human Revolution. Interestingly none of those situations carry remotely similar emotional-weighting today… I realise I’m getting better at how I self-construct people stuff in-the-moment, learning to adopt more effective strategies for not letting them into my psyche.
How??? I hear you ask??!
Because I kept myself very occupied, that’s how!!! My life is set up in such a way that I literally do not have the time or head-space, much less the inclination to get caught in the net of diaolgue around: the thing done or not done; what was said or not said; the passive-aggressive human-interaction chess-plays; the workplace cliques, power-plays & political playground antics.
When you find things to do which occupies your mind & makes you have to focus on a much bigger picture professionally & personally, your psychological terrorists at worst chip away at your ankles & eventually drop back out of focus, resigned to subjectively narrate your life & major in minors, while you move on from the situations and they pale into insignificance. Well in time they do. With practice. They honestly cease to matter!!! Sometimes it’s better to quietly ease away your Psychological Terrorists’s pull without declaration – behaviourally and mentally at least, physically if possible – and resist the urge to get sucked in, weighed down or pulled in by the cycle of debate, micro-reasoning and re-perpetuating negative, trifling behaviour thrown up by them.
Am I striking a chord here? Do you tire of getting trapped in a net with overly-taxing people who bring isms & schisms, such as those I’ve mentioned? Or are you the perpetrator??! Do you spend excessive amounts of time fussing with, being fussed by or trying to get your head around the behaviours of your family, your neighbours, your BFF, your ex, your associate, work-colleague, your boss, your him, your her, your associate? Here’s a SpiritedStrength springboard suggestion for you to start 2013 with:
Set STRETCHING personal objectives to busy yourself with. PSYCHOLOGICALLY & PRAGMATICALLY focus on achieving the things that will bring you DEEP PERSONAL REWARDS, medium-to-long term, COMPELLING you to re-set your life’s priorities so THEY PRACTICALLY COME TO FRUITION – starving psychological terrorists of your crucial psychological and spiritual energy.
I wish you fundamental happiness & inspiring human development for 2013 & beyond – just as much as I do for myself.
SpiritedStrength = daily life driven by: • heart • realness • liberation • purpose • learning • happiness