I flew from Dublin to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain on June 1st. My trip was not the best (though it could've been much worse) - it was delayed due to the pilot reaching too many flight hours, then when we boarded I was seated next to a couple on the aisle, with the woman in the center seat and the man in the window. The man was very perturbed by the delay and yelled and cursed at his partner, at the airline and plane in general, at the fight attendants, and so on. I was concerned and didn't love being in the same row as him. The flight was with Aer Lingus and apparently they are a very budget airline (I do try to buy the cheapest tickets) - not only did they make me pay extra for one checked bag, but they also didn't even serve complimentary drinks or snacks and made me gate-check my carry-on (for free, but I prefer to keep it with me). Finally about two-thirds of the way through the flight an attendant sternly told the angry man to shut it and that he had been like this at the gate, too (!!) and that if he kept it on he'd have problems on arrival. Honestly, I think if this were a flight with US flight attendants, he wouldn't have been allowed to board or would have been kicked off already or the flight would have been diverted...
Then as I landed I checked that my residency program director, Noemi, was going to come get me. I had texted her via WhatsApp a couple times through the day keeping her up to date, and so when I opened my phone I assumed I'd have contact from her - but instead, I got a very confused response and eventually realized I'd mistyped her number by one numeral and was texting some other random person in the region. So from her perspective, I hadn't contacted her at all or let her know about my plane delay or anything! Fortunately she's very nice and also on top of it so when I finally actually reached out to her, she said she was only a couple minutes away from the airport. I was kind of mortified though - it's rude not to let the person picking you up from the airport know that you will be delayed if you have the opportunity to tell them.
Luckily, my baggage arrived relatively quickly and mostly whole (I lost a zipper pull I think in Ireland?). I came out and found Noemi, and we made our way to Agüimes which is where she lives and where I will stay with her (in her house). She had an eyepatch on one eye, and explained that she is taking a course on welding and soldering and a piece of metal had gotten into her eye! Fortunately it wasn't too serious but it needed medicine and to rest for a couple days. A friend of hers kindly drove her to the airport and drove us both back to Noemi's.
Agüimes isn't very far from the airport, so we got there fairly quickly which was good because it was around 10pm at this point. Noemi's friend departed and Noemi took me on a quick tour of the house and the village and then let me use some of her groceries to make dinner before I went to bed. I'm staying on the second floor of her house.
The next two days I used to decompress, unpack, explore the town a little, get to know Noemi, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and so on. I was kind of tired from all the gung-ho exploring of Ireland! Noemi's English is probably around my level of Spanish - maybe a little worse - so we tend to talk in Spanish. I'm actually kind of surprised at how well we've managed given that I am not fluent in Spanish. Noemi is super busy right now though with her welding course, teaching art courses, and other responsibilities. She kindly took the time anyway to chat with me those first two days and even took me down to Arinaga on the second day to walk the promenade and see the beach. I had told her that I know the most biodiverse and interesting ecology in the Canary Islands is actually its marine ecosystem, so I had purchased an underwater camera (a middlingly-low version as I didn't want to invest too much in what might be a once-off piece of equipment which may or may not be that useful). She has a friend named Silviu who she said would probably be willing to help me explore the ocean who lives in Arinaga and pointed out his door as well while we were there. The evening of the second day the town Agüimes was celebrating Corpus Christi and they laid out a "carpet" of dyed salt and sand through several town roads and then had an evening mass in the church followed by a procession over the "carpet." It was a relatively small ceremony, not a festival or anything, but it was interesting to witness.
Something I was unprepared for is the wind. There is a lot of wind. It makes it feel cooler than it is, and it's already rather temperate. I brought two pairs of shorts, but I don't know if I'll be using either! The wind is so strong that there is genuinely no need for a dryer here. In other places I've been they also do without dryers (Ireland, France, Portugal, mainland Spain, Italy, Peru) but the clothes tend to dry kind of stiff and can depending on the weather take days to fully dry. Here, the wind moves the clothes around so much they are perfectly soft and they dry within a few hours of being hung up - even cargo pants, which often take days.
The third day I started to work on a new painting. There was no new inspiration yet from the Canary Islands, but I was feeling like I wanted to start my studio practice so I decided to work with some imagery from the US and Ireland. That evening, I met Noemi's partner who had just gotten back from a trip to Egypt, and we all chatted. Noemi had also arranged that I meet with Silviu the following morning to start to explore the ocean. She said he knows how to scuba as well as snorkel, and I might be doing either or both! I had read about scuba diving and thought about it before coming on the residency, but the literature said you probably shouldn't take your camera down on your first go since you should be focused on just managing your breathing and the gauges and everything, and I thought it would probably be too costly or time consuming or both. I figured I'd probably just go snorkeling, and that might still be the case, but it was interesting that if he thought it was a good idea Silviu might be able to teach me scuba diving as well! To be honest, I only have memory of having snorkeled once and that was around sixteen years ago, but it seemed mostly fine so I guess we'll see how I do! Noemi said she's never been scuba diving but perhaps someday she will.
So I went to bed at the end of the third day excited and nervous all at the same time about what the following day would bring.