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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Hopping Around Butterflies

I entered the closed area filled with flora and fauna, hundreds of butterflies, each one more beautiful than the other, all shapes and sizes and of different designs, all fluttered around me at the ‘Butterfly Center’ The temperature was just right ( 25-29 degrees centigrade and 80% relative humidity) and a soft music played in the background. I stretched my hand and one butterfly came to rest on my hand, “Leave it free, if you touch it, it will die the next day, Butterflies are very fragile, you must not disturb it while they are feeding on flowers” said the supervisor. I let it free after few moments of bliss.

‘Butterfly Center’ is just opposite my shop at Icod de los Vinos and many tourists visit it everyday. I remember one day, a lady had entered my shop to buy a souvenir, as soon as she opened her purse to pay, one large beautiful butterfly escaped from her purse and flew around me. I saw her look and realized that she had stolen it.

Indeed, Butterfly center had beautiful butterflies. They have many species directly imported from special breeding centers (Malaysia, Philippines, Costa Rica,  Australia, etc.)

I pointed to this one and asked her, where was this one from, and she said “India” Ah well!

The dust that covers the butterfly wings is actually tiny scales that give color and design to the wings. These scales give the name to the butterfly (Lepido=scale, and petron=wings). There is no other insect that has got scales.

One of the women had one particular species of butterfly surround and follow her wherever she went. She was curious as to why that particular species followed and not the others, on enquiring the attendant, she was told that they followed one particular type of scent. I asked her what cream she applied and she said that she used Aloe vera products. (no wonder!)

Butterflies mainly feed on the flowers’ nectar. They also like to suck on ripe fruit juices, as well as trees’ sap and even animal secretion such as tears or urine, from which they obtain salts and minerals.

There were tortoise, fishes and reptiles too. The children were more amused with that, so while they chased the butterflies, they stood to gape at animals too.

I had never seen so many butterflies under one roof. I was filled with awe and waited at one spot, still and quiet, almost holding my breath, hoping that many butterflies would surround me too.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Miradors in Tenerife

‘Mirador’ is the Spanish word for 'view point'.

Whenever we visit any hill station, there is always a place up on a plateau from where you can see the bird’s eye view of the city. Besides offering a beautiful view there is a powerful breeze from all sides that is worth the visit.

In Tenerife, we have many such miradors that offer a beautiful view of the coastline.

On my way to Puerto de las Cruz from Buen Paso (where I live), I asked my niece to stop by one such mirador at San Juan de Rambla.

She took a turn off the motorway and stopped behind the restaurant, called San Pedro, to a big open space that has a semi circular balcony like structure. There were wooden benches for people who would want to spend a longer time; one telescope to see the panoramic scene of the hills (although I couldn’t see much, because the lens was broken,) also there was a large map which listed all the surrounding villages that were down below the view point.

The view was spectacular.

The vast plains of banana plantation slope down towards the sea, with few houses scattered between fields.

There were narrow paths leading down the dirt road, with flowering plants and palm trees on the sides. I saw some people exploring the area by foot.  I saw one farmer taking his produce of bright red tomatoes in his open tempo down the curved dirt path.

Tenerife has guided walking tours that many tourists indulge in. The organized walking/hiking tours include the day walk with typical Canarias lunch in their program. I am told that they normally pay 100 euros for such tours. Actually you are not likely to get lost in this island because the directions are clearly marked on the road and if you have a map, its easy to follow, but with a tourist guide, its becomes easy to explore.

So close to nature and so very quiet, its easy to meditate if you are on your own.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Just for a drive

Each time I go out for a drive, I have this beautiful feeling of watching the scene outside my car window.  The roads are sparkling clean; there are flowers and plants everywhere.

Tax payers money is well spent beautifying the city. It feels good to admire flowers everywhere. Even the dividers have flowering plants, so while you wait for pedestrians to cross the road, u can stop by and watch the plants.

It is pleasure to walk on clean footpaths, away from the traffic.

The bus stop looks so cosy with proper seats under shade and a big palm tree on the side.

Three clean dustbins at every street corner, yellow for plastic, blue for bottles and green for other garbage, each recycled and put to proper use.

It all the proper planning and organizing it systamatically that makes the town clean and beautiful....

Pictures clicked in Puerto de las Cruz, Tenerife.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Traditional Lace Work of Canary Islands

The first person whom I visit when I return to Tenerife each time is to visit my friend, Ana. She has been a great friend for a long time now and I have always seen her smile, does she frown ever? I doubt. Our mutual interest is Art and handicraft. I have spent many hours in the past making odd and ends creating art work and also painting in oils. She now owns a big store selling all the accessories of handicraft items. 

Ana has an art studio behind her shop, where she holds art classes to those who would be interested. Artists buy all sorts of art stuff from her store and she helps them how to use it. I go crazy when I see all the things at her store, there are paints, unfinished painting, sculptures waiting to be painted, stencils, art books, etc.

Her face brightened up as soon as she saw me. She shows me the latest trend in artwork and I am attracted by the lace work that is stretched tightly on the wooden frame.

Spain is famous for their lace work. Many tourists take back the souvenirs of this laced bed sheets and tablecloth with them. In the villages, lace days take place in the open air from March to December and the women can be seen seated at the tables demonstrating lacemaking techniques to the passerby.

Ana offers to teach me this art. A cloth is stretched on a wooden frame. The method involves drawing out the strings from the cloth in a certain pattern horizontally and vertically. Every lace is made up of lots of stitches, where you need bobbins to create a pattern. The stitch has to be tightened up so that it doesn’t look messy. There is a great sense of achievement when you see the finished product.

There are three main shapes – rectangular, fish or triangular and they are worked mainly in bobbin lace, especially Blonde and Chantilly, which is extremely fine. Motifs are mostly floral but expert make animals and landscape too. This requires lots of patience and concentration but the results are satisfying.

Ana shows me different books on lace making, tempting me to learn this art, I pick up the lace fan from the corner of her store and fan myself.

“If I have time I will come and learn from you” I tell her as I continue to study different designs in her books.

Mentally I make a note of making that beautiful tray from one of my own art work.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sleepless in Transit

The worst nightmare is when you have to waste time in between the flights. What does one do? You can read a book or work on your computer but when you are very tired all you want to do is to stretch, but where?

Whenever I visit Canary Islands, I am required to change flights and am forced to spend many hours in the transit. There are different routes to reach Canary Islands but go by any route I have to change three flights. This time I chose the route from Mumbai to Zurich to Barcelona by Swiss airlines and from Barcelona to Tenerife by domestic Vuelling airlines.

My flight from Zurich to Barcelona was delayed by over two hours, as the result I missed my connecting flight to Tenerife. For no fault of mine I had to buy a new ticket and catch the next flight that was after six hours.

But what should I do for six hours? Should I call my family in Barcelona to come to fetch me and take me out for lunch and sightseeing? What if they are busy? I looked around, many people were at the airport, some at the coffee shop, some at duty free shops and the most tired ones, sitting uncomfortably on the chairs or sitting on the floor.

There have been times when I have visited a family or whiled away my hours just walking around the airport, visiting duty free stores. I was not aware that anybody could use the VIP lounge for a fee. I was under the impression that such facility was available only for VIP personals, who travelled by business or First class. It was the first time I was to discover that VIP lounge is accessible regardless of class of ticket or airline we are travelling with.

For a fee of just twenty-five euro, I checked in VIP lounge.

It was a different experience all together. I helped myself with handful of assorted candies at the reception and entered a large salon. “All the refreshments and drinks are on the house” said the lady in charge. All that I wanted to do was to stretch on a sofa. My back was hurting bad from sitting at airports and flights for more than seventeen hours. 

 I looked around the lounge. Some people sat comfortable on large sofas, watching TV. There was a magazine rack that had newspapers and books of different publications. Next to the magazine rack was the snack station that contained assorted chips, pickled olives, croissants, biscuits and wine bottles immersed in ice bucket. I helped myself with chips, Olives and glass of wine, entered a rest area that had six cubicles, each with large beds. On the bed I lay, sipping wine and popping olives, flipping through the pages of a magazine till I doused off to sleep.

I slept for three hours.

Completely refreshed, I had shower and helped myself with Coffee and croissants.  It was self service, people picked whatever they wanted from cabinets of drinks, refreshments, packed salads. I walked around to do people watching and view watching till I saw cyber cafe.


The next hour was fruitfully spent checking the email and logging on to Facebook and Twitter account.

Oh, by the way, that six hours wait in the transit was too short, I think……

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Tarnished Vices

We alone should be responsible in steering out own path to success. This is very simple if we follow the path avoiding the ugly lanes of seven vices. Pride, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Lust.
Wrath is the vice that one needs to control.
Why do we get angry?
 We normally get angry when things don’t go our way; it’s when there is rejection and disappointment.
But yes! This can be avoided if we keep no expectation from our loved ones and take life as it comes along. There should not be any bitterness and hatred in our life. We have no right to dislike people for what they do. We have to understand their priorities and their limitations. The worst thing that we do is to gossip and tarnish people’s image. Talking about people’s character is not our business. There is no right and no wrong. Everybody has a reason for doing the thing they need to do and if they have no time for us, then accept it and move on. We have to respect people’s privacy and be sure that the person will come around when they realize that we need them.
It’s our nagging that spoils our relationship.
Like a fool, we look for happiness everywhere, in material things, and in people around us. Do we find it?
If it was out there, then nobody would complain of discomfort and fears. Maybe we are looking in wrong places.
Of all the vices, I have realized that pride is the last one to go. This is the most difficult vice to give up and exits only when we stop thinking about what people will say.
Today I got this message in my cell that says:
Ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me doing? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And the most important what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself a big question, is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Is this message about being judgmental?
Why should our behavior be based on what others are thinking about us?
We spend too much of our time thinking of the ways to fit into a groove. Join various groups, clubs, kitty parties, spiritual gathering, etc. We are desperate to belong somewhere. We just don’t know how to spend the time with ourselves.
We don't realize that being with one self is the bliss. There is no hatred, no anger and no lust.
There is an inner peace.
 How many times have we heard this cliché: We have come empty handed and shall go empty handed too.
True, we came empty handed but we will not go empty handed. 
When we go we shall take our name and our karma with us. It’s the moral values that we have to live by, cleansing ourselves every day, living by our principles and ideology.
Only we alone can make our self happy, rest all is a mirage with which we fool ourselves.

Other bloggers who shared this theme on 7 vices can be traced to GBE2

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