A prickly predicament and a lesson learned
By the time we arrived at the Canary Islands we were ready and happy to see dry land; and my dad was happy to get away from the flying fish. After we cleaned Taurus and checked our food supply we decided it was time for a walk into town to stretch our legs and re-supply.
Our first stop was at the beautiful outdoor markets which lined the streets and were filled with the strong aroma of many local spices, the strong scents were like a lure enticing us to them. We could also smell the fragrance of the locally grown fruit and vegetables, so needless to say, we stocked up on as many of these items as we could. One thing which I found strange was that one of the markets played the chicken dance song over and over again, and then when you would think it was done, the madness begins again. It is strange, how at the mere thought of the song, I can still hear it playing as I sit at my computer writing this article.
We spent a couple of weeks exploring our new found paradise, Tenerife was amazing, it was a place which time seemed to have forgotten. We met a writer who lived on the Island with his family in a quaint little hide-away in paradise; he lent us their bicycles so that we could tour the island the way it was meant to be; slowly and with open eyes, ears and mind. So this is how this adventure began.
Early the next morning we hopped onto the bikes, we began to slowly make our way along the narrow island roads. The beauty of the plants we saw and the birds which sang out to us made me feel as if we were transported back in time; back to a time before humans settled here.
The smells of the wild-flowers which bloomed all around us was like what the Garden of Eden must have smelled like.
In the evening we would find a secluded place away from the road where we would fall asleep under the clear island sky using the soft grasses as a bed.
The next day we met some really nice people who were more than willing to explain island life to us and of what it was like growing up in Tenerife, also of which plants are edible, one being the prickly Pear cactus.
The prickly pear is very succulent, sweet and refreshing treat, especially when one has been biking for a long period of time in the heat of the island sun. This cactus fruit grows wild and is just waiting to be picked; so we picked them--many dozens of them!
It was puzzling at first of how to eat them without getting the long spines stuck into you. My brother, being the thinker that he is figured out that all we had to do was take a towel and rub the fruit; this would take the sharp spines right off. Brilliant--we thought as it worked very well. Several days later we got back to Taurus, we were dusty and sweaty so we went for a long swim in the warm ocean, later we wanted to relax on deck and eat some more of those succulent prickly pears.
We grabbed some towels to dry ourselves off with, just as I began I felt a sharp searing pain shoot through my body, when I looked at my stomach I saw those sharp daggers of death imbedded deep under my skin.
I looked at my brother in disbelief; his jaw was down to his knees. He looked at me and said “You’re not supposed to use that towel”. I was speechless. It took some work and a lot of patience and care before the prickles were pulled out.
I suppose the prickly pear are like some humans, they have a defence system on the outside which when one gets too close can cause pain, but underneath they really are sweet and pleasant, but they put up a defence system to protect them from the hurts which life can dish out. One just needs to get past it to see the real person.