Wednesday, 10 October 2012


As with all new places, one of the great things about Fuerteventura was discovering the quirks and customs of the culture. In many ways it was similar to mainland Spain, and even good old Blighty, but a couple of things caught my eye and triggered me to snap a photo (ah, the wonders of the digital age, eh?).

A trip to the supermarket resulted in genuine excitement when I realised that the price displays are all digital, none of the paper price tickets as we have in England. Further contemplation led me to realise that there is probably little benefit to this other than the ability to change prices quickly; it doesn't stop people from putting items back on the wrong shelf and thus confusing the next unsuspecting customer, and I'll bet it causes havoc in a powercut. Still, it was something a little bit different from back home.

The same supermarket trip led me to stumble upon these little beauties to the right. It's Fanta, but not as we know it (although I don't doubt that it made a brief guest appearance on our supermarket shelves back in the distant past, before Team Fanta realised that us Brits really aren't that adventurous). The strawberry (left) was really quite vile, like a watered down, sickly, fizzy medicine, but the pineapple (right) made up for it. It was like a can of Lilt (yeah, remember that?) but with even more flavour, perfect refreshment for a sticky Fuerteventuran afternoon.

 These paper recycling bins are a common sight on the streets of Corralejo. Beyond the obvious, admirable green credentials, you're probably wondering where I'm going with this. Stick with me whilst my inner linguist rears her head. The Spanish translation on the side reads "Only paper and cardboard. Your paper is important." Pretty standard, you'd think, if not a bit semantically odd when translated to English. It was only after a week of reading this, that the double entendre revealed itself to me; "papel", meaning "paper", also means "role", so the alternative translation is "Your role is important". A clever little way to encourage locals to recycle!

Whilst we're on the subject of linguistics, a couple more things came to my attention. As already mentioned, the Italian word for ice cream, "gelato" is used much more commonly than the Spanish, "helado". I can only assume that the Italian is more widely recognised by tourists than the Spanish.
Another vocabulary quirk is that the Canary Islands have their own word for chips, "papas fritas" (shortened to "papas", and also used to refer to crisps), as opposed to the mainland Spanish "patatas fritas".

And last but not least, this sign in the window of the gift shop at Baku water park amused me:

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