It’s strangely quiet outside my window today. A few kids are splashing about in the pool, but nowhere near the hooting and screaming of the past few weeks. This morning in the silent supermarket there were still lettuce and tomatoes left on the shelves – granted a bit tired-looking, but for the last four to six weeks the shelves have been bare on a Monday morning after the weekend rush, (well, even on a Monday afternoon – it takes them a while to restock here). It’s a sign the summer residents are gone or about to go, and life is on the cusp of change.
To an outsider it may seem as if everything is the same year round in El Médano, but if you live here the changes are obvious. There will be parking again. Once the annual fiesta is passed in another couple of weeks, the stage which occupies a corner of the main town square, will be dismantled and put into storage for another year. Although there are always tourists, there will be fewer, and they will be mostly people here for a purpose. The spirit of El Médano, certainly for visitors and foreign residents, is very much sports-oriented. We come at the very least for the good dog-walking, and then, depending on your level of fitness, for windsurfing, kite surfing, running, cycling, swimming or power walking and more. Mix this with the folk from the old fishing community, throw in a few “hippies,” and you have the odd blend of people who rub together easily to give the town its quirky character.
In August, however, it turns into a family resort, as does just about any stretch of beach on the island with a few houses nearby. When I strolled into the center with a friend to enjoy a glass of wine or two the other night, we were surprised to see the climbing frames and equipment of the little playground in the square swarming with kids at midnight. Like so many indefatigable ants they were climbing, running and, of course, screaming to their hearts’ content. El Médano isn’t known for nightlife, more often than not, arriving home after dark, I’m surprised by how quiet it is, but not in August!
The other great precursor of the season in the south that the landscape has turned to desert. Oh, the well-watered public areas of the resorts are lush and colorful as always, but the natural landscape is parched and thirsty, dying for some rain you might say.
From the approach to Montaña Roja it looks as if nothing could survive, vegetation is wilted if not skeletal. It’s an easy walk up to the top, which is about 170 meters I think (from memory), and the views from up there are extensive along the coast, over the airport, and to the mountains beyond on a clear day. Saturday, when I went with the photo group, it was clear-ish, and the views revealed a harsh landscape, seared by the summer sun, and apparently devoid of life, except some scrubland between the beach and the road. Nothing much was growing other than the resilient tabaiba.
From the times I lived near the beach in La Tejita I remember the big waves seeming to mark the end of the season too. From the hilltop on Saturday we watched for around an hour or so as the waves built and came crashing down onto the sands, the crests already being blown back out to sea by the strong winds, sometimes forming brief rainbows along the peaks of the wave.
La Tejita isn’t a surfer’s beach, although there are always waves as ocean meets the shore. The waves break far too close for surfing, but yesterday, when I went with Maria to take a closer look at the beach, there were a few bodyboarders out there catching a ride, and even a couple of hopeful surfers. Not very long rides maybe, but definitely exciting. Waves rose, glittered like jeweled, turquoise glass, dragged sand from the shoreline and tossed it up in their foam, before creaming onto land. They say that the waves come in sets of seven, every one bigger until they die away and you wait for the next set.
You can see from the color of the rock how the mountain got its name. Anyone wonder why this, despite the barrenness at the moment, is my favorite beach in the south of Tenerife??