There are things we know and things we don’t know.
There are also things we think we know.
Social media can often be a forum full of people spouting things they think they know and doing so with unshakeable, definitive confidence.
An example of this caught my eye the other morning. It was a comment on a sponsored post about the Canary Islands which popped up in my facebook feed. The comment wasn’t about the contents of the article, it was prompted by the photo which accompanied it – a section of verdant coastline. The person who posted it questioned the image’s authenticity as they had been to the Canary Islands and had never seen any greenery at all, only thirsty, barren landscapes. They knew for a fact the Canary Islands were dry rocks so the image was “too green to be the Canaries”. They had seen so for themselves. You can’t argue with first hand experiences.
A few years ago a Tripadvisor Destination Expert from one of the eastern Canary Islands questioned a similarly green photo posted on the site’s Tenerife forum because, again, it seemed too green to be Tenerife.
The things we think we know.
Like thinking something is widely known; something which seems so obvious, partly because millions upon millions of people have visited the place, it would seem insulting to the intelligence to even mention it. And that is huge swathes of some Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro) are green, lushly so, rainforest green in fact; ancient forests that are recognised by UNESCO as being natural sites of special importance.
“Not far off the north-west coast of Africa lies the island of La Gomera, one of the seven islands that make up the Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic. These high, volcanic islands are the first to receive the rains arriving from the west, and have thus retained the remnants of a rich and luxuriant forest — the laurisilva or Laurel forest — on their windward peaks.”
There might be things we do know, but we sure as hell don’t know what the next person does or doesn’t know.
There are also parts of the Canary Islands which are as barren as Mars, the places which get the least rain and so tend to attract the most people, which is why perceptions of the Canary Islands, in the United Kingdom especially, have been skewed for decades. Plenty of visitors know the reality, but they are still in a statistical minority.
The Canary Islands known by Canarios is a quite different place to the one ‘known’ by a huge chunk of visitors. When I mentioned to a Spanish friend that the recent UK Celebrity MasterChef episode filmed on Tenerife was filmed in Santa Cruz and showcased the best of Canarian cuisine, both traditional and contemporary, her response was “I’m glad… in Canarias, we think British people only know about our sun.”
In a way parallel universes do exist.