You've just got to count your blessings (COVID in the Canary Islands)
by Sharon Mawer
(Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Spain)
For all those people who are suffering either because they personally have Covid 19, or they know someone dear who has it, or even if they've managed to stay safe, but their life has turned upside down because of the Pandemic, I just count my blessings and think of the things that are putting me in a happy place.
Here in the Canary Islands, being part of Spain we suffered a real lockdown in March. I mean the sort of lockdown where we were allowed to go out shopping alone, just once a week and we were always worried that the Guardia Civil here would be checking receipts to see if we were buying necessities or frivolous purchases which were not allowed. In other words, we could not go out just to buy a bag of crisps or even one bottle of milk. If you didn't plan a week ahead, you had to go without.
Oh and by the way, none of this essential exercising, if you couldn't exercise on your own property, just don't!!! I was stopped by the police once because I went for a walk around our complex and I needed to sit down for a couple of minutes after a half an hour walking up and down the stairs. They asked me where I lived and fortunately I could say, just over there, pointing across the road, so they said go home now and we won't fine you (or shoot me).
Now we have virtually cured Covid in the Canary Islands. How was that possible? We got rid of all the people. We are 90% reliant on tourism and we stopped them coming. Even now with our lockdown lifted, it is so difficult to visit the islands from outside. Virtually all the hotels are closed so it is very tourist unfriendly.
However, for us living here full time, about a quarter of the restaurants and bars are open including some of our favourites and we can choose to go out to them when we want to. And of course the sun is usually shining, we have over 300 days of sunshine per year here in the south of Gran Canaria and two large terraces to sit out all day with enough to do during the day not to get bored.
When we do go out, we know everybody is in a similar situation and we have a little moan about the world but really for us, it's not been that bad since our lockdown was lifted.
Now The Spanish government has devolved the responsibility of lockdowns to the Autonomous communities and although most of Spain is back locked again, we on the Canary Islands are free to move about as we desire, but not to leave the islands, the mainland is out of bounds for us.
So we count our blessings, we had a lovely meal out last night, we are now planning another night out on Wednesday and again next Saturday with some friends of ours at a local brewery.
My husband has also found that the local golf course has not raised their prices to winter rates because there are hardly any players here, so they get what they can from the few people living here who play golf regularly.
In fact, some bars have also kept their prices low because they need to sell some beer to the few people who go out to their bars. In case you're wondering what low prices are like, we are paying €2 a pint evening prices.
Life is not so bad here, but I'm sorry you can't join us here at the moment.