Beyond Gran Canaria’s resorts
Most tourists to the island head south from the airport rather than north. To resorts such as Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés, and Puerto Rico, where they’ll slap on the Factor 50 and roast in the sun. But if you want to visit the playa straightaway on your hols, you’ve got to hit the north. Where you’ll find Ojos de Garza.
Ojos de Garza, a local beach for local people
I did, however, travel south to reach this Telde beach, the nearest public stretch of shoreline to the airport. Catching Global’s 001 from Las Palmas’ San Telmo to the more popular destination of Mogán, I got off at the stop before LPA and then crossed the GC-1 using the underpass. After 10 minutes walking along the Barranco de Ojos de Garza (Eyes of the Heron Ravine), my journalistic notetaking brought me to the attention of the locals. “Do you work for the council?” asked one, possibly fearful I was there to survey the potentially-illegal coast-hugging houses.
East doesn’t mean least
There was a time when I would have happily bypassed Ojos de Garza. In a rush to get away from my bete noire on the island, the ugly GC-1. But to do so’s to miss out on a east coast rich in flora and fauna. From mata parda (holly oak) to the non-indigenous pajaro palmero (tree sparrow). Whose incessant chirping blends in with the salsa music floating on the breeze, giving the area a unique soundscape.
White’s not alright
It was the perfect day for the beach. A sunny Friday more summery than wintry which many of the local population seemed to be treating like a Saturday. The weekend starts early around here, I thought to myself. Sadly, I couldn’t join them having a dip. I’d forgotten to pack my swimming costume and I pulled down my jeans to expose white briefs. Whilst the vibe was relaxed, I didn’t want to offend coming out of the water in pants revealing more than mere contour.
When I was a teenager, I used to stand on my beloved Shed at Stamford Bridge. There’s an altogether different terrace at Ojos de Garza’s beachside Bar Zurita. I had to check the name with the owner as both of its signs were peeling. One of the oldest bars on the island, it’s been open since 1937. Although it must have had a predecessor as this stretch of coastline was popular with pirates. Where you can bet they sang along to sea shanties rather than salsa. Resplendent in fresh-out-of-the-water transparent briefs no doubt.