The Canary Islands are located off the coast of Morocco, but belong to Spain. The flight from Madrid cost under $200, and it's worth every penny to make the three-hour journey to this island chain.
The island oof Tenerife is the most popular with tourists. The beach resorts in the south appeal to sun and surf lovers, the legends of the Knights Templar, the colonial past and Mary of the Sea attracts history buffs and the volcano that rises from the center of the island is a mecca for nature lovers, not to mention UFO enthusiasts.
"There are a lot of sightings, especially on top of El Teide [the volcano]," says Kalani Hano Hano, an American friend of a friend, who moved to the island in 2005 with his wife, who is Canarian. Kalani, himself, witnessed an event that he can't necessarily explain that lasted four hours. "Lights would appear every few seconds and shoot across the horizon," he says. "I've never seen anything like it."
It's no wonder that you can spot unusual phenomenon on the island, especially.on the volcano. There is no light pollution obscuring the night sky and we witnessed a shooting star within minutes of looking skyward from our vantage point at our hotel, which is located high on the volcano.
This spot will be our home for the next couple of days and we're looking forward to seeing what's out there in the daylight. We arrived well after dark, mostly because I had to stop to take pictures of sunset behind the peak, which poked out of the clouds that were below us.
After killing a bat with our windshield on the way up, we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and I was amazed by the rock formations. When I got out of the car for another picture, I could hear the pitter patter of feet on the pavement, but I could see nothing. There were no lights in the parking lot. But, I felt something lurking behind me. Kalani had just warned us about packs of ferocious wild dogs roaming the highlands, so when I finally saw the creature by the light of the car's dome light, I froze with fear and whispered to Lauren, "There's something out there; I think it's a wild dog."
She couldn't see anything, but once her eyes adjusted, she could see the Unidentified Feral Observer (UFO) with its pointy ears and muscular body.
"Oh my god," she cried. "It's a dingo. Get in the car. Hurry!!!!!"
I jump in the car and close the door, not knowing what to do next. I drive 15 feet from our parking spot to the entrance, and Lauren runs in to find out if it's a friendly pet or not. The desk clerk confirmed our suspicions that it was indeed wild, but assured us that we would not be eaten. But the behavior of the animal was so strange. If we turned our back on it, he would approach closer and closer as if he was going to pounce or try to take our grocery bags. Lauren and I backed slowly toward the front door, closing it behind us.
"You know, the wild dog reminded me of the dog in the animated film 'Lilo and Stitch,' says Lauren. "In the movie, the dog was actually an alien that the girl adopted from the pound. Maybe there are aliens here after all . . . or maybe it was the chupacabra."
It looks like we're going to have a good time here. The stranger the better.
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