Going Local in Gran Canaria. How to Turn a Holiday Destination Into a Home Paperback – 28 Feb 2012
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'Matthew Hirtes probably knows more about Gran Canaria than many who were born there.' Louise Parkin, editor Living Spain magazine. 'Clearly, there is something for everyone: both in the book and in Gran Canaria.' Chris Marshall, Telegraph Expat columnist. 'With a rare depth of insight, Matthew weaves his personal experiences through an engaging narrative to show us a different face to Gran Canaria.' Andrea and Jack Montgomery authors of Going Native in Tenerife.
About the Author
Matthew Hirtes was born in Waltham Forest, north-east London in the early 1970s, grew up in the East Midlands, before returning to the capital to study at London University in 1991. Upon graduation, a chance encounter in a Camden boozer with cult Face magazine writer Gavin Hills launched a career in journalism. So far, this has taken in deputy editorship of The Official Chelsea Magazine and covering the Canaries, he's lived in Gran Canaria since 2004, for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller and The Independent. His first book, Going Local in Gran Canaria, is a travel guide for the discerning traveller as well as a handbook for those looking to make a fresh start overseas.
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To begin with, it places the history and geography of Gran Canaria into a clear and engrossing context.
It richly delivers too, on the more esoteric, avant-garde pleasures that the island has to offer. Matthew clearly has the magpie's eye for the exotic and unusual; such is evident from the treasure-trove of watering holes, eataries and architectual follies which he has unearthed. He has a finely-tuned sense for the ridiculous, and a genuine affection for the islander's foibles. His descriptions of the weird and wonderful fiestas the year round are hugely amusing and make you just want to be a part of the fun.
The style is engaging, avuncular and gonzo; bearing the unmistakeable stamp of the author's (a fine journalist) personal experience.
There are many autobiographical touches. These often prove unexpectedly moving and funny; the picture one gets is of a modern Londoner suddenly displaced into an alien culture and his process (sometimes painful) of adaptation born of bitter experience.
It is a also a practical book providing invaluable and succinct advice on such matters as claiming a pension, moving house and consular assistance. In this respect, it oozes commonsense and could well prove a life (or at least wallet!) saver for the unsuspecting tourist.
In short, an excellent and mind-broadening introduction-cum-survival manual for anyone contemplating either holidaying or emigrating to Gran Canaria. Warmly recommended!