The Island of Dogs

Tenerife, Spain

Contrary to the popular and romantic belief, the Canary Islands were not named after the small yellow bird, but the other way around. The islands were first named as such by the Romans, who called them 'Canariae Insulae', meaning 'Islands of the Dogs', after the many large vicious dogs explorers found there.

In present times, the archipelago has become synonymous with package holidays, especially Tenerife and its arid south-western coast. Ugly high-rise buildings, colourful pools and artificial gardens have transformed this volcanic wasteland into a commodity for the British tourist.

People's expectations of a holiday destination are projected onto the barren landscape. The resort presents it's expectant visitors with palm trees, supported by a web of irrigation pipes, fed by de-salinated sea water, and black volcanic sand beaches have been replaced by more alluring white sand, imported from the deserts of the Sahara.

Conversely, every visitor's appetite for Britishness and the trappings of home is facilitated by every business in the area. Menus advertise Full English Breakfasts, nearly every bar displays football on the TV, and many places even have their interiors decorated in a traditional British style.

The combination makes for a surreal, bizarre and claustrophobic experience. In this manufactured landscape, people find solace in the unfamiliar familiarity, giving way to something comfortably exotic, a memorable, but equally forgettable one to two week experience.

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