San Juan Town Park.

“The little olive tree” and ” “Sanmao –Three hairs” boy

San Juan Town Park.

We have been past one of the most frequented places used by Sanmao as she made her way to the centre of Telde from her house in Playa del Hombre –she could regularly be seen walking along Calle León y Castillo on her way to the Post and Telegraph Office-.

Calle León y Castillo
Parque de San Juan

We now head towards San Juan Town Park, inaugurated in 1999, by which time the writer was no longer living on the island. In San Juan Park we come to a small olive tree planted in her memory.

At this stunning park, which in its day was the largest town park in the Canaries, the Island of Gran Canaria and the town of Telde decided to pay a special tribute to Sanmao. The little olive tree can be found in the middle of two busy areas. 

The little olive tree (GROWING) 成长

At the beginning of Spring in 2016 “The little Sanmao olive tree” was planted in memory of her famous poem entitled “The olive tree of my dreams”, dedicated to her husband José María Quero, who was from Andalusia, the land of olive trees.

The tree planted in San Juan is from the Canary “Acebuche” variety. It is endemic to the Canary Islands, and can be found on all the islands, with its greatest presence being in Gran Canaria, where it is also known as “wild olive tree”, and can grow up to twelve metres in height.

As we continue our stroll we are struck by the contrast in the growth of the little olive tree with the majestic images of cherry trees in bloom in China, and the almond trees in flower which announce the arrival of Spring at the summit of Gran Canaria. 

It makes so much sense that the town of Telde should have chosen this tree as a symbol of unity and the tightening of cultural links between the peoples of China and the Canaries. 

Parque urbano de San Juan

Alongside the “little olive tree” we come to a sculpture by young Canarian artist María Aguilar. It is the recreation of the “Sanmao –Three hairs” boy, who smiles at us as he sits on a bench, in a relaxed pose. He beckons us over to sit next to him and keep him company for a while, which he thanks us for with a permanent and tender smile.

Echo Chen thus took on the name of ‘Sanmao’, meaning ‘three hairs’, which was a pseudonym taken from an Oriental comic: the character was a homeless child with just three hairs on his head who wandered around, left to face all that life could inflict on him.  

She loaned this character out for her early literary works, and this fictional hero clearly mirrored her own existence, an adventurous character plagued by misfortune at every turn.

Parque urbano de San Juan
Parque urbano de San Juan
Parque urbano de San Juan

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