Maʿ al-salāmah Marrakech.
Maʿ al-salāmah Morocco.
Hola Gran Canaria.
It looks like a hop, skip and a jump from Casablanca to Gran Canaria but in actuality the flight is almost three hours, which compares to a flight from LA to Seattle.
My dear friend, Rafa, picked us up at the airport, took us to our hotel in Agüimes, and then to the capital, Las Palmas. He assured us that he had the whole evening planned.
I met Rafa through one of my professors. We have regularly been in contact since my class on Spanish culture two semesters ago. He is the reason that we are here. The Canary Islands would have never been on my radar otherwise.
Las Palmas is the fifth most populated urban area in Spain, which is difficult to believe, unless you are looking for parking.
We stopped the Las Palmas walking tour to have cappuccinos in front of the cathedral in la Plaza de Santa Ana.
Las Palmas is absolutely gorgeous, and is packed full of history.
Founded in 1478, Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón en español) spent time here before and after his journey to "Asia". This became the norm for anyone traveling between the continents, which is why the Canary Islands have a mixture of Latin American and Spanish cultures. In fact, until more recently, when flying between Spain and the Americas flights would stopover in the Canary Islands.
We were so excited about the food (not just because we couldn't eat one more tajin in Morocco!). It was all delicious, way better than mainland Spain! The papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) con salsa de mojo were a favorite, and are a specialty of the Canary Islands.
The big surprise of the day was that we would be seeing the final dress rehearsal of Rafa's newest play (he is the producer).
It is part of Gran Canaria's 21st annual Festival of Music and Dance.
The professional photographer took this one of us.
The play is about child soldiers (in Colombia, Syria, and the Republic of the Congo) that are forced to fight and die for a cause that they don't understand. Everyone was in tears by the end (those of us, Eric, that weren't on the verge of falling asleep).
The backdrop of the play was a building in the Plaza de Santa Ana, across from the Cathedral. They have been working on the lights and sound and practicing all day, and after Rafa drops off, he will drive back to work until the wee hours of the morning (known as la madrugada en español).
The play started at 22:30! It was such a long day for us but the play was magnificent.
I cannot imagine a more perfect first day in the Canary Islands.
Thank you, Rafa!