I landed on the island of Gran Canaria not quite knowing what to expect, hoping only for an adventure of the relaxing variety. Granted, resort destinations rarely suffer from identity crises, and the Canary Islands are no exception. Beaches, sunshine, cheap booze, and tourists like myself who power the island’s socioeconomic apparatus, can all be found in bulk. The stunning weather and rustic beauty of the landscape provided ample entertainment for me, but of course Canaria must cater to diverse interests. Thus, you can find numerous miniature golf courses throughout the island, ocean cruises, scuba diving, and of course, food and beverage joints.
Anyone who discounts eating as a form of entertainment is either deluding themselves or frequenting McDonald’s too often. Heck, even a trip to McD’s can be entertaining. To the point, guests of Gran Canaria (especially Puerto Rico, a resort-laden town) allocate large chucks of the day to satiate their thirst and hunger, and expect to pass said time enjoyably. On one particular evening I found myself strolling the modest promenade of Puerto Rico, a happening beach town in the southern part of the island, in search of a hearty meal. The first place to catch my eye, or ears rather, could be characterized as an open-patio karaoke restaurant.
I’m not one to discredit a dining experience with live music, if it is in fact music. Singing along to a karaoke machine does not constitute music – just noise. I did not ask to see the menu. I might have been a bit snooty, but we’re all allowed a few minor faults if they derive from our passions. Fifty paces down the path I encountered another winner. Café Central tossed its hat into the ring in competition for least inviting eatery. Unless of course you happen to be a fan of Elvis Presley (I know there are many of you out there, don’t be shy). I have to censor myself here and admit that the Elvis impersonator serenading dinner guests was extremely popular. He covered all the classic tunes, and to his credit was not a bad singer. But are we tourists so superficial that we don’t deserve a more genuine show? What happened to the local artists?
Las Palmas, the prime mover and shaker of Gran Canaria, boasts a more authentic music scene. Perhaps I’m preemptively making such a statement, considering that I spent less than a day in the city. The city itself harbors few tourists and exudes a tropical European vibe. But primarily my judgment of approval stems from spotting a single poster promoting one of the world’s greatest jazz singers live in concert next week. If Las Palmas snagged the legendary Dianne Reeves, that’s enough to establish it as a place well-attuned to quality music.