Fun Stuff > Places
That Canary Island
Going on well deserved vacation is usually one thing, completely shutting down contacts to work in times of mobile communication and expectation of personal flexibility another. That pile of work that may await you upon your return can also be frightening, but despite all these concerns, vacationers occasionally manage to forget everything around them for a short period of time. One indicator for total relaxation during an extended break is usually, if people forget all their passwords. Our stay on the Canary Islands didn't last longer than one short week, but has been fondly remembered by us ever since. One day we'll return... to eat chicken!
Lanzarote is not just a popular holiday destination, but also a volcanic island and poplar filming location for barren lunar landscape. Among others, parts of the original "Planet of the Apes" movie was supposedly filmed here among the fire mountains of Timanfaya National Park as early as 1967, with Charlton Heston at his best as captive of an ape civilization. Or was it just filmed in the Arizona desert, as suggested by other sources? That iconic scene with the remains of the Statue of Liberty, dusty and half buried in the sand, proving that this was no remote star but the future of the planet Earth itself, was shot on Malibu Beach though.
Relaxation: Stretching the feet in the sand.
Naturally heated: Chicken on the volcano grill.
"Lanzarote" is just a Latin version of Lancelot. Although it was not named after the Knight of the Round Table, but the Italian 14th century navigator Lancelotto Malocello, who became the namesake of that Atlantic island, just as Amerigo Vespucci would a hundred years later for America. Conquered in 1404 by Castilians, the island has remained under Spanish rule ever since. Located just 100 km off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, the Spanish island is traditionally popular among European tourists, not only for sharing the Euro as its official currency.
To us "Lanzarote" is the memory of a week far away from stress, in the less crowded early season, at a time when our kids had not entered school yet. One day we will have to return, and be it just to have chicken there. For the tour we had taken back then only included looking at the chicken roasted on a volcano grill, but not actually eating it. One year we had already booked a follow-up vacation on the same island, but then had to cancel due to a work assignment abroad. And so, as fellow countryman Arnold had once put it, we can only say that we'll be back one day.
While still belonging to Spain, the Canary Islands are closer to the African continent, and just the trip there had us flying over Casablanca, another legendary movie location. What was definitely shot on Lanzarote was the German TV series "Timm Thaler (1979)," of the boy who lost his laugh, as well as the British movie "One Million Years B.C. (1966)" with Raquel Welch in a fur bikini among savage cave men and dinosaur models, before she would settle as "Lady in Cement" and Aerobic video queen.
That Canary Bird
While the Canary bird is named after the Canary Islands, the islands' name itself is derived from the Latin expression "canariae insulae - islands of dogs." This was due to a breed of large dogs kept by the inhabitants. Just as the Greek island of Hydra is sometimes referred to as the "Cat Island" due to its number of stray cats. Canary bird rings another bell as we think of our pets, which left us way too early. It took so long to convince my boy not to have snails or even a worm as a pet. But then the girl switched from giraffe and elephant to a bunny until finally having a family agreement on parakeets.
While the names of these flying family members would vary from time to time, my own choice at kindergarten age for my first bird's name had been "Whiskey", and I still wonder why... And no, for the second bird I didn't let the others talk me into using "Soda."
A friend also had a parakeet, which was rather freely moving around at her place. You really had to watch your step, when you entered the living room, as the little bird was not only flying around but also often just walking on the floor. There were certain limitations with playing with the parakeet, so she also got a little puppy. The young dog was rather playful. As she picked up doggy toys from the floor one day, she made a step backwards, when she heard a strange noise... The last words of a parakeet. She would regularly walk the dog with a leash. One day, the leash got stuck in the elevator door. As the lift started to move, the dog was about to get strangled... But she managed to press the emergency stop and rescued the all choked up bow wow.
Sometime later, she had a hamster, which would love to run on the kitchen counter. One day, the hamster took a dive down to the kitchen floor... The poor animal didn't move for several days. Finally, and I am not sure whether this was first or last, she also had a goldfish. And she was known for lengthy phone calls. When she was changing the water of the goldfish bowl, she left the fish with a little water. One day, during this procedure, the phone rang... By the time she had finished the conversation, the fish had apparently run out of oxygen and madly bumped against the glass until it passed away. A most tragic case of suicide by a goldfish.
Sketches of parakeets created by my daughter and me at young age (both).