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Archive for February, 2007

Saturday 24th February
4pm
– closing parade. Another 3 hour standing marathon as the various dancing troupes, floats, Carnaval Queens and multitudinous winners of fancy dress prizes parade through the streets from Costa Martiánez to Castillo San Felipe.

10pm – Everyone’s in fancy dress for the closing party and looking forward to the final blow-out. I’ve opted for the Folies Bergère look in line with this year’s theme of ‘Paris in the 1920s’ and Jack’s gone for ‘Zombie Funeral Director’ – all white face, black eyes and top hat – very ghoulish.
Walk down to Casa Blanca and collect a Bishop, a fellow Folies Bergère, a monk, 2 angels and Chris wearing an outfit that no-one knew what it was supposed to be, including Chris.
Things are just beginning to liven up as we arrive in Plaza del Charco and, teenagers despatched to their various peer groups, we open a couple of bottles of wine that we’ve carried down with us, purely for the purposes of reducing the weight we’re carrying…
By 1 am the Plaza and harbour are jam packed with revellers and the music’s just beginning to take the crowd. By 3am the place is bouncing and it’s impossible to move in any direction at will. Allowing the ebb and flow of the crowd to drift us harbour side, we pop into Frigata and run into Cap’n Barbosa (alias Bob) who hasn’t managed to leave the bar yet and is almost oblivious to the thousands who are thronging the streets outside. A circuit of Calle Marina to Calle Perdomo and then to Calle Mequinez, which on an average day takes about 3 mins, takes us over an hour as we dance, centimetre by centimetre, tacking our way through the masses. By 5 am we’re danced out and exhausted, finally making our way homeward to sleep while the party continues to rage, ever more numbers arriving.
Our friends return to Blighty filled with memories and stories to bore their friends with, dates for next year’s Carnaval already noted.

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Tonight we leave the fancy dress to the experts and head down to town to watch the High Heels Honey Drag Marathon. Join thousands of observers lining Calle de Santo Domingo as contestants make their way to starting line. Visitors highly amused and shocked at some of the politically incorrect outfits of some group entries and the ingenuity of others. The 9pm scheduled start of the race stretches to 10pm and then 10.30 pm as increasing numbers of participants year on year make their way along the cobbled streets playing to the crowds. By the time the race gets underway and all but two or three of the contestants have ignored the normal rules of racing by making no attempt whatsoever to hurry through the course, it’s after midnight before prizes are finally awarded. The ‘hog’s head on a table set for a banquet’ wins first prize this year for the wittiest individual costume.
The night’s party in the square takes on an even more surreal aspect as contestants join the throngs of revellers on the dance floor.
With legs and feet sore from the cumulative effects of standing for 3 hours to watch the marathon and the week of partying, we call it an early night and leave at 1 am (ish).

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No party in Plaza del Charco tonight, day spent on the beach enjoying some well deserved R & R. Out to dinner at Mil Sabores – wonderful food, chilled atmosphere, good wine and not a false eyelash in sight…

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Arrived at Casa Blanca apartments 8pm, Jack dressed in blonde wig, little black dress over two balloons stuffed into a bra, torn fishnets and trainers; he looks like a demented Scandinavian trollop, code name for the evening – Inga.
In the apartment, the girls are applying make-up to the lads who are losing their bottle about appearing in public in their outfits. Sadly, they’ve opted to tone down by pairing their skirts with T-shirts, socks and trainers, thus entering a no-man’s land of indeterminate gender – very dodgy! After several swift shots of wine, Martin disappears and re-emerges looking like a cross between Fanny Craddock and a Reader’s wife! The fake boobs are very good.
Difficult to describe the looks our motley group attract from Puerto’s unsuspecting visitors as we make our way down to Plaza del Charco for the Burial of the Sardine but confidence grows in direct proportion to strength in numbers as more and more ‘widows’ appear in the Plaza.

First stop – a round of beers to steady the nerves, then take our places at top of Plaza to await the funeral cortège. ‘Inga’ tries (and fails) to keep his place free from the usual onslaught of elderly Canarian women who sit comfortably at home until 20 minutes before the parade is due, before heading into the street and elbowing their way into the space occupied by those who’ve been standing there for hours. For his trouble, ‘Inga’ is rebuked by being called “a cheap blonde” which really hurt his feelings. The giant sardine finally comes into sight, its big red eye fixing us with a stare as it glides past and we slip into the ranks of wailing, fainting widows behind it and follow it down to the harbour to watch the cremation and the fireworks.
Theme on the dance floor is most decidedly ‘drag’ and the men discover just how ‘nippy’ an exposed cleavage and fishnets can be at this time of year. By 4.30am the chilly night air quickens our separation from the 6ft 7in, be-jewelled and veiled ‘widows’ that surround us and sends us homeward, two Dick Emerys and an inebriated mother in tow.

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After a late start, much of the day spent scouring shops for fancy dress outfits following last night’s revelation by our visitors that EVERYONE wears a costume (repeated assertions of that fact over the months preceding the visit clearly having fallen on barren ground). I could see the pride in Anne’s eyes as her 17 year old son purchased his first Boho skirt!
Much deliberation went into costumes for the two 14 year old girls who naturally wanted to combine costume with sex appeal but they were out-done by Martin who side swerved any attempt at subtlety and went straight for the false boobs with one nipple exposed.
No visit to the party tonight, we’re saving ourselves for tomorrow night.

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Just arrived back from Plaza del Charco after a brilliant night and still buzzin’. Calle Perdomo, Calle Mequinez and Calle Marina merged into a single dance floor; speakers strung from kiosks at the harbour end of Calle Mequinez blasted out dance music to the thronging masses below. Drag queens danced with DC Comics’ heroes, pirates, Smurfs and nuns. Two people were pole dancing on the flat roof of one of the bars and the volume was pumping up and up as the spirit of ecstasy spread through the thousands.
What a start to the week!!!

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This weekend saw the start of the annual carnival in Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife’s northern coast. This is our fourth Carnaval (Spanish spelling) since we moved here and this year we’ve got friends, their teenage offspring and their teenage offspring’s mates coming to stay in Puerto for the duration of the festivities. Everyone has been fore-warned about the endurance nature of the week ahead, the uncertainty of the weather at this time of the year (beach time being considered an essential component of the holiday) and the fancy dress requirements.
They arrived from the UK on the 7.10pm flight from Manchester last night and we ventured down to Plaza Charco for their first taste of the atmosphere. A couple of beers, some tasty tapas and one or two circuits of the main area later, initial impressions were received favourably and an early departure (1am) was deemed appropriate for the arrivals’ first night.
It remains to be seen how a more in-depth visit will pan out.

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