Car Rental Mental and the Mystery of the Aloe Vera Road Map – Part 2
I don’t tend to relax when I’m on holiday. I enjoy catching up on reading and I go a bit overboard with the photography because I have spare time, but I don’t lie on a beach working on my tan. This does not mean that I don’t enjoy holidays it just means that I have an odd need to be doing something. Having secured our Panda a couple of days earlier it was time to hit the open road and enjoy the sights and sounds of all that the Island of Fuerteventura has to offer. There was culture to be found and I wanted my fill.
When I was packing my suitcase I had a little choice. I could bring three more rolls of Kentmere 100 film or my Sat Nav. Me being me – I chose the film. We had been to the island a couple of times before so I had a good idea of how to get around and because we were staying in the north east corner of the Island I knew that every time I hit the sea I could just turn around and head the opposite direction and I would find my way home Lassie style.
On our first visit to the island a few years ago we stumbled upon a coffee shop/museum on top of what I now suspect is the highest point on the Island. It is a great vantage point and you can see to the ocean on both sides of the island from the top of the mountain. The vista is indeed buena. Now that in polite company I actually refer to myself as an amateur photographer it seemed like a good destination for a “photo-shoot”. I remember thinking last time that it was a pleasant drive and a great view – the perfect counterpoint to another day sipping coffee waiting for the sun to rise above the yardarm to indicate that it is “Mojito o’clock”
It all started out so well. We could see the mountains in the distance and I believed that I could even make out a small outcrop of rock that housed the coffee shop of my memories. I had a nagging feeling that I should have taken a right turn but doubted myself so went straight. This brought us onto a very narrow and very bendy road. As the panic started to take hold I gave in and asked my wife to have a look at the roadmap in the glove box.
My wife opened the glove box, there was a loud click and the radio came on full blast, it was some Spanish talk radio where the host just shouted and increased and decreased the volume of the background music to punctuate what he was saying but I could not make the noise stop. I turned off the radio. All the lights on the dash went out but still the radio blasted. I could not stop because the road was so narrow and windy that it was not safe. I was shouting at my wife to try and figure out where we were and she was just babbling and screaming something about Aloe Vera. My immediate reaction is that the whole thing had been too much for her and that her mind had snapped.
I was really starting to worry. The noise of the radio was effecting my ability to keep the car on the narrow road. I couldn’t concentrate – it seamed that every time I turned the wheel to the left or reduced my speed the radio got louder. I could feel the front of the car slide on the camber of the roadway. When I dared look to my left or right it appeared that we were driving on a knife edge with a 200 meter shear drop each side.
I was pleading with my wife to let me know where the road might end and she continued to mumble about Aloe Vera. If only I could stop the car I could think, read the map and figure out how to get us off the god forsaken mountain. We rounded a hair pin bend and were confronted with the odd spectacle of a tour group in a car park taking pictures of tiny little rat type creatures. I jammed on the breaks and killed the engine. The sense of relief that passed through my body when the radio stopped is a feeling that I will never forget.
My wife turned to me and asked was I glad I brought the extra rolls of film instead of my Sat Nav and handed me the Map – it showed no towns, no cities and had just enough road detail to be called a map. It did however have an incredible amount of detail on where to find the six locations on the Island where you could watch Aloe Vera being pressed and sold fresh. We had no idea of where we were since my wife had her eyes closed for half the journey and the radio had destroyed my short term memory.
We did eventually make it off the mountain but that is another story…..and for the record – the road map was an optional extra from the car hire company that cost me €25.