You might think that living in Gran Canaria is like living in paradise but it isn’t actually that different from anywhere else apart from the sun! With all the questions about which are the best resorts in Gran Canaria you might think it was just a continuous holiday here. But it isn’t. Whether you are on holiday here or living here, these are my 3 worst things about the island. Feel free to join the debate! (Just so you know I’m not a whinger I’m going to be a 3 best things post later too!!)
1. The Touts
These are just as irritating for the residents as the tourists. I’ve worked on the Barakuda Dos fishing desk in Puerto Escala for the past 2 and a half years and have been asked pretty much EVERY SINGLE DAY if I want to buy a camera for 5€.
You’d think the camera sales touts on the way into the harbour would know me by now. When you manage to escape from one, the next one jumps out at you and they have a new act of trying to shake everyone’s hand, which means you have to leap into the road (mind the cars) to escape. Very irritating. Not only that but they rip you off with reconditioned cameras, ones without memory chips (they want another 300€ for those) and non-valid guarantees. Don’t buy anything in there.
If you thought “well that’s easy, just walk on the other side of the street” you’re wrong. That is where the timeshare touts lurk! They will ask “have you seen the new shopping centre yet?” or “would you like a scratchcard? Oh…my…god…you’ve won a big prize!” (yes they say that to everyone) “you have to go to the ‘new shopping centre’ to pick it up” (and listen to someone drone on about 3 hours about timeshare before you realise your “big prize” is a t shirt).
Why at Mogan market can you not browse the stalls without your wrist being grabbed by a vendor? Why can’t you eat at an outdoor restaurant without Chinese woman holding flashing rubbish in your face or black guys holding sunglasses and cheap “gold” jewellery in your face and suffering from temporary deafness when you say “go away”?
Does “just browsing thanks” not mean “leave me alone” any more? Why does every bar and restaurant have a tout outside? Why are the touts abusive when you say no or ignore them? Why do we need touts at all? We don’t! They are the no.1 irritant here!!
2. Mañana Mañana
Everything is mañana here and this one applies more to residents (unless you’ve lost your suitcase or wallet then it might apply to you). Nothing is rushed. I had to wait 4 months to get the internet. I have to wait 2 weeks for the post office to bother to tell me they have an urgent package for me. I had to wait 9 days before I could convince a plumber to repair my loo. Our fishing boat had to wait FOUR MONTHS for a mechanic (and they get 50€ an hour for working!)
3. Food Quality & Choice
Now if you have read about canarian cooking you will know that it can be very good. However, don’t expect any fresh food in most of the restaurants here (apart from the very good ones like La Taberna Puerto Rico Gran Canaria, Restaurant Picasso and a couple of others). Nearly everywhere serves defrosted vegetables despite fresh ones being widely available. Most restaurants in Puerto Rico serve defrosted fish (amazing since there are 2 harbours nearby) because the commercial fishing boats are in Arguineguín and Mogán.
The milk is always UHT rather than fresh. You might not mind these things but I do! That’s why I normally eat at home. Also, why oh why do 90% of the restaurants in the tourist areas have the exact same menus? The only differences are the prices. And the touts outside vary slightly.
In M&Ms bar in Puerto Rico you can get a pint of beer for 90 cents. In Restaurant Puerto Escala in the port it will set you back a whopping 3.50€ – for exactly the same thing! With the exchange rate in Gran Canaria being what it is, that is 3 and a half quid. So if you were wondering how much is beer in Gran Canaria it’s more expensive than some bars in the UK!
What do you guys think? Have I missed anything? 🙂
Oh – and check out The 3 Best Things About Gran Canaria just to see I’m not a doom and gloom merchant 😀