Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

I have long held a personal philosophy of ‘work hard, play hard’. I know it’s not original, nor is it ever going to be the subject of “Discuss” on a philosophy exam paper. In fact, let’s be honest, it’s a sort of Mars Bar philosophy on life…but nevertheless it works for me. If I don’t feel that I’ve achieved something at the end of the day then I’m usually irritable and find it difficult to relax. If, on the other hand, I’ve worked hard and achieved results, the sound of a beer can opening is music to my ears and I can settle down to a movie or listen to some sounds with a light heart and an easy mind.

Life's 'yin & yang' concepts beautifully illustrated by alceu

So I can easily appreciate the symbiotic relationship of the yin and yang of life.

The same is true of living in this island paradise. Often, days can be filled with frustrated attempts to move forward in even the simplest of matters and it feels like all the negative energy is stacked in your direction.
Like the two minute job of posting a package which turns into a half day’s lost production courtesy of the Correos (Post Office), or the trudging from shop to shop in search of even the most basic of items because re-stocking on a weekly basis appears to be beyond the wit of the average supermarket, or spending all morning without electricity because someone forgot to flick a switch when they put the cables back into the road.

But then there are days when the yin and yang scales tip the balance back in favour of our Tenerife lifestyle.

Yesterday was one such day.
We had a meeting scheduled in the south of the island and we left the house in plenty of time. As we approached the car, we saw that one of the rear tyres was flat, and I don’t just mean it needed air, I mean ‘metal rim in contact with tarmac’ flat.
After a few perfunctory swear words, Jack got to work removing the spare tyre and toolkit from the boot and wrestling with the jack to free it from its handy moulded plastic container.
As he began to jack up the wheel, I thought I might try to hurry things along a little by loosening the bolts. After about a nano-second I gave up entirely on that idea and just watched as the veins in Jack’s neck stuck out with the exertion of pushing on the brace. At one point he finally managed to loosen one and it spun his hand downwards, scraping his knuckle along the ground and removing a slice of the flesh…ouch!
Sweating, hands covered in oil which was mingling with the bloody knuckle, Jack finally managed to get the wheel off and the temporary spare on and we set off to the Vultesa garage at the top of the road.


Vultesa - I cant recommend them highly enough.

'Vultesa' - I can't recommend them highly enough.


The speed and efficiency with which one man repaired the puncture, removed the temporary wheel and re-affixed the newly repaired wheel was a joy to behold. It took him approximately 11 minutes in all, not pit stop speed (but then I doubt he’s on pit-stop wages) but certainly impressive enough.
I paid the bill (the princely sum of €5), threw a euro into the tips basket and we were on the road, just half an hour or so later than planned.
The flat tyre had been a negative force but it could have happened while we were on the TF1 which would have been far worse. The need to repair the tyre took us to a local business with smiley staff who knew what they were doing and set us back on the road with the minimum of fuss; a very positive experience.

7C Marketing for all your advertising, marketing and PR needs in the Canary Islands

Although we arrived late in Los Cristianos for our meeting of the 7C Marketing Group, everyone had waited patiently for us and we spent the rest of the morning receiving copious pearls of wisdom from John (sorted-sites.com) and sharing laughs and experiences with Julie (Tenerife-tattle.com), Joe (MyTenerifeinfo.com) and Colin (canary-green.com), rounded off by a great lunch courtesy of John.
As we drove back up the TF1 mid-afternoon, we felt like a part of a community that, although it’s invisible and only virtual most of the time, is as real as the skinned knuckle on Jack’s hand. A community that works unseen to raise the profile of its own and other’s web presence; a cyberspace circle of friendship and a part of the yin and yang of living on Tenerife.

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A have a vague memory from my student of philosophy days about a theory that puts forward the notion that things only exist as long as you’re looking at them and that the memory of things is nothing more than a spectre of one’s imagination (apologies to Plato, Descartes, Kant or Russell or whoever it was whose life’s work I’ve just reduced to a single, and probably inaccurate, statement). Although at the time I considered the whole idea to be the wrong side of sane even for a philosophical theory, I think I may finally have reached an understanding of where it was coming from…

This week I went to the hamlet of Masca, a place I’ve visited often, in the south west of Tenerife. It’s the second most visited place on the island after the Teide National Park and its attraction lies in its location and its beauty. Sited at the top of an 8 km gorge hewn from the ancient Teno Mountains, the village consists of three small settlements of rural houses and fincas scattered around a valley dense with palm groves, fruit trees, sugar cane and giant agave plants. Only accessible since the 1970s when the road was built, it’s commonly referred to as Tenerife’s Shangri-La.

When I took the steep path down from the upper to the lower valley, I was shocked by what I saw. Where once a valley luxuriant in palm trees stood, now only a handful of black trunks spawned a green crown; where once the valley floor was invisible, now it stood naked in soil and stone; where once the giant agave stood as high as a man, now its serrated limbs lay in charred and twisted heaps. What I was seeing was the dismembered remains of the summer’s holocaust of forest fires that had swept through the valley like an air-borne virus.
fire blackened palm trees in MascaBut from the ashes of the fire a new beauty was emerging. The palm trees that had remained standing now had black trunks which stood out against the valley’s backdrop. Topped by the vivid green of fresh, new growth, the palms had taken on a surreal beauty that threatened to surpass their original design.

In Bar Blanky I chatted to a couple who’d come to Masca on a half day trip from one of the resorts of the south coast and it seems their tour guide had seen fit not to mention the summer’s fires. As far as this couple were concerned, this was Masca, for them it had never existed any other way. And for me, had I not come back to see it now, Masca would still exist in exactly the same way it always had done, a spectre of my imagination, a true Shangri-La.

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