“Guanarteme? Be careful there, that’s full of thugs” people used to say me when I was a child.

Old houses made with sand from the beach in a neighborhood which nowadays is one of the most demanded locations in the city of Las Palmas.

It seems like it was yesterday when we went down to play with other children at the main square. It was the 80’s skate and surf boom: H-Street, Santa Cruz, Confital Bay, Cicerline

Good blessed times. The Rachi, the Papa Loca, the Galaxys, the Insular Stadium, the Union Deportiva playing in first división of La Liga…

I remember Antoñita, my canarian grandmother from another mother, caring us at her home. Her husband Chano, rest in peace, who worked in Tirma was every evening playing cards in the bar at the square in Lepanto, watching football and smoking cigars.

Their sons took me and my brothers from one place to another. From Margarita’s house in Parroco Rodriguez to Vergara at Antoñita’s place. From the bar in Lepanto to the other bar Casa Felix. From Felipe’s paintings warehouse in Numancia to his place in Simancas to play with Yeray and Sheila. From Torremolinos supermarket to a football game in Chile. Snacking at Juan’s place and then a visit to see Nicolasa at la Cicer. Nice memories.

Photo: Manuel Espino

Today some old women still stop me in the street and say they remember me when I was a child and used to play in the square.

I remember adults having a beer and something else at Sergio Juan’s bar while we, the children, were catching crabs at Los Muellitos.

I remember the pilgrims going to see La Bizca. Now there is an auditorium in her temple.

I remember the vespinos, the fairs of El Pilar, the beautiful stained glass window of the church in the square.

I remember when Mareas del Pino (season of huge waves) were the real Mareas del Pino. Before the new avenue modified the bottom of the sea. When people died drowned by the waves.

I remember Trota’s shop, the 24 hours indoor soccer tournaments in Fernando Guanarteme school.

I remember there was not Avenida de Las Canteras on that god-forsaken stretch of beach. You came up agaisnt a wall passing by Pizarro Street and then you had to jump into the sand if you wanted to go all the way until the end of the beach.

Calle California. Photo: Jose Torres

I remember the trenches, people in rows of cars and motorcycles watching the waves.

I remember myself breaded with black sand, the fuel oil tar of the CICER (electric central which gave the name of that part of the beach) spread all over my body, the smell of the butter to remove it later. The Nutella sandwich and the pink Bandama cookies after the beach.

It’s right, now it is more calm. Everything is cleaner. The beach is prettier, we have an avenue, no more fuel oil tar. Now it’s better, it’s true. We are European surf capital. Our little Miranda has a perfect place to grow up and have a healthy life, if she wants.

Today you’re cool if you live in Guanarteme. People walking barefoot in the street with the board under their arm and long wet hair. “I’m going left!” Shouts a guy I haven’t seen in my life.

Still remains the passion for surfing and skateboarding, follow the fairs at El Pilar with the papahuevos and the queen. Still remains people watching football at la Plaza. Even the Union Deportiva has returned to the premier league at La Liga. Still remain there the stain glassed windows of the church. It seems nothing has changed. It seems.

Beautiful murals now in Guanarteme. Gradually the neighborhood is becoming a street art museum by local artists who are leaving their signature on our walls.

Yes, there are more people now. Digital nomads and tourists with sunglasses strolling at ease and pasting cries in the late night as if the streets were their own. Because of gentrification rental prices are now skyrocketing and the local people of neighborhood has to find another place because the salary doesn’t reach to pay that price. You can no longer surf as comfortable as before because there is overcrowding in the water and new surfers do not respect. Sometimes I prefer staying home drawing sounds or meeting the guys to have some mawas.

No free parking places anymore. You don’t know whose is the f*cking car parked on the sidewalk at the door of your house. Let’s see now how you get the baby stroller out.

Now Antoñita is scared going down the street. It is full of weird people speaking in unknown languages for her. The little shops and bars are no longer there. Neighbors are no longer there. It’s not the same anymore. Now Guanarteme is trendy.

But … how beautiful is my Guanarteme. The cover photo is Ita’s one. Amazing Pic.

 

“For more sad and gray that is our home, people of flesh and blood would rather live in it and not anywhere else, but that other site is very beautiful. There is nothing like home”.

(The Wizard of Oz)

 

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