Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2008

It’s the clothes crisis to end all clothes crises; the one where my anguished cry of “I’ve got nothing to wear!” is more founded that at any other time of the year.
It’s the clothes crisis that has me eyeing up the bedroom curtains sideways while my mind concocts some vision of me looking like Cleopatra in an episode of Romeand I have to summon reality back to the front of my brain to remind me that I’m far more likely just to look like some ‘saddo’ wearing a curtain.

Carnaval’s so early this year; it feels like I’ve barely had time to put the Christmas decorations away before it’s arrived. I’ve had visitors, still do in fact, and they’re not due to leave until Thursday afternoon; just 2½ days away from the opening night. I’ve had loads of work to do; once Carnaval starts, it’ll be impossible to arrange visits or interviews and deadlines still have to be met.
I can rattle off excuses until the first float leaves Castillo San Felipe on it’s way to the town and I’ll still be kidding myself; it’s the same every year, regardless of when it falls, I’m never ready.

The old mosquito net created the Corpse Bride lookTwo years ago we were watching the Barcelona match on TV just 3 hours before the start of the opening party and it wasn’t until half time that we even started thinking about a costume. That year it was the old mosquito net that saved the day, creating a wedding dress for the Corpse Bride, its torn surface and dusty seams lending just the right look to the ensemble.
Last year, final reductions in the January sales at the supermarket yielded 2 very cheap and nasty Boho/gypsy skirts which, worn one over the other, accompanied by fishnet tights and ankle boots and hitched up to reveal one knee, created the Folies Bergère look to go with the ‘Paris in the 1920s’ theme for 2007.

So I might as well resign myself to the inevitable last minute panic of scrabbling about in the box under the bed where we keep all the accumulated ‘props’ from Halloweens, fancy dress parties and Carnavals and hope that, with the addition of some yet-to-be-discovered item of clothing or of household furnishing, I’ll be able to enter Puerto’s Plaza Charco on Saturday night with some semblance of confidence.
On the plus side, as this year’s theme is ‘fear’, I might even get away with the bedroom curtain outfit and pass myself off as a nightmare.

Read Full Post »

“I’ll mix us a small aperitif” shouts Sarah above the din of the steady disco beat emanating from the speakers and the constant whirr of my hairdryer.
It’s Thursday night, Sarah’s last with us before she returns to Doncaster and makes final preparations before leaving for Sri Lanka and 2 years as a project worker with VSO.

It’s been a busy day; up with the lark at 9am (larks sleep late in Tenerife), fruit for breakfast, make up the bocadillos for lunch, pack the rucksacks, grab the hiking boots and head off into the hills for some crater walking.
Parking the car at the visitor centre in El Portillo, we set off to do the circular Arenas Negras walk.
The north coast of Tenerife is laid out like a jewelled carpet 2000 metres below us as we traverse the crater, climbing steadily until we reach the flat retama scrublands with their myriad of earth tones where the debris of millions of years of volcanic activity has created a landscape where lakes of white pumice sit beside rivers of russet, brown, orange and crimson.Hiking the Arenas Negras trail Into the lunar surface, a vast canyon yawns, its sheer slopes layered in a cross section of volcanic evidence.
We sit on a bed of white pumice and, beneath Teide’s icy stare, tuck into our bocadillos.

The landscape turns black as we skitter and ski our way down the loose descent of the eponymous Arenas Negras before joining the wide pista of Siete Cañadas which will take us back to our starting point.
On the way, Jack teaches us how to ‘get in step’ Marine-style by way of a short stamp with the right foot to the back of the left heel which, almost imperceptibly, changes the lead foot. I’m extremely impressed by this revelation and we practice changing step in perfectly synchronised route-march style for several hundred yards, causing general hilarity and Sarah to drop her sunglasses, undetected, somewhere along the 2½ kilometre stretch.
We begin to re-trace our steps but luckily, I ask a couple of German hikers who are heading towards us if they happen to have seen the escapee ‘fendis’ and they produce them from a top pocket, thus saving us a great deal of wasted time and effort.
Unluckily, they then ask us if we can give them a lift back to their car which they’ve left at the Parador; a 40 minute round trip completely out of our way, thus causing us a great deal of wasted time and effort.
With the compulsory customary beer at the end of a Tenerife walk and the long drive home, there’s little time to relax before we have to head off for the bus and Sarah’s vodka aperitif gives us a much needed boost.

A second aperitif in Plaza Charco and then it’s off to Mil Sabores for a meal that does exactly what it says on the menu; a ‘thousand flavours’ racing around our palettes, the final lap being performed by the best profiteroles and tiramisu ever to grace Canarian crockery.
A couple of mojitos in ‘Elements’ bar round off a perfect evening and it’s near 2am when we arrive home, to find that Sarah left the freezer door open when she mixed the vodkas. The ice bag is now floating and our nightcaps are tepid.
On Friday night, at 10.30pm, a text arrives from Sarah:
“Hi, just got home to find I accidentally switched the freezer off before I left…whoops!”

Is Sri Lanka ready for Sarah, I wonder?

Read Full Post »

The Cava’s chilling in the fridge; the grapes have been de-seeded and wrapped in small foil bundles; the picnic cool bag has been rescued from the garden shed and its plastic wine glasses rinsed and, most importantly of all, I’m wearing my new red knickers.

New Year’s Eve is a complicated business in this part of the world and care must be taken lest one upsets the omens of good fortune for the coming year and risk the shadow of Bad Luck dogging your every endeavour.

First, there’s the whole grape thing…you have to eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.

Our first year in Tenerife we didn’t think to de-seed the grapes and, having nearly choked, the final stroke of midnight found us floundering around grape number 8. The following year we weren’t entirely sure when the actual strokes of midnight had begun, several ‘hoax’ fireworks having been launched in the immediate run-up to the real thing. Consequently, amidst the confusion some grapes were prematurely consumed.

Last year we sussed the start and confidently popped the de-seeded 12 with every pyrotechnic chime despite a fit of the giggles which resulted in several snorts and teary eyes. When the last stroke finished, so did the grapes.

Now, I wouldn’t exactly say that if it wasn’t for bad luck in 2007 we wouldn’t have had any luck at all, on the other hand, neither would I say that things couldn’t possibly have gone better for us and a large dose of good luck was most decidedly conspicuous by its absence.

So what went wrong?

Well apparently, as I’ve since learned, in order to ensure Good Luck for the forthcoming twelve months, one should wear new red underwear, preferably purchased by someone else as a gift.

So, this afternoon we scoured La Villa shopping complex for a suitable addition to my undies drawer and after a few dodgy moments when it looked like all that was left was a couple of G-strings with Minnie Mouse in a glittery frock on the crotch or granny-sized bloomers, we finally settled on a pair of Brazilian fit, plain red knickers in Women’s Secret and Jack parted with the cash.

New Year's Eve in Puerto de la Cruz5! 4! 3! 2! 1! And off we go! Grapes successfully consumed in perfectly synchronised chomp to chime! Cava cork is popped and sails over the heads of the crowds, plopping into the harbour water where it bobs happily amongst legions of its mates.

The sky fills with colour and my ear drums vibrate to the cracks and bangs of the gunpowder explosions which bounce around the windows of the apartments that front the harbour. When the pyrotechnics subside, we finish the Cava and head to Calle Perdomo. The bass beat sends electric currents through our bodies and we dance until 4.15 am when, with all the booze consumed and our legs and feet aching, we begin the 40 minute walk home.

So welcome, 2008, and any time you’re ready to bestow a little good fortune this way, I’m ready and waiting…

¡Feliz Año Nuevo”!

Read Full Post »