I’m used to seeing all sorts of weird and wonderful things happening on the streets of Puerto de la Cruz from avante-garde street theatre to traditional Canarian folk dancing but today, even I had to do a double take.
When you glance over at the car park from alongside the harbour, there are some things that you simply do not expect to see.
“There are elephants in the car park” I said to Jack, not something you hear yourself say very often.
Naturally, that got his attention and before I knew it he was off, like a latter day Alice, camera in hand in pursuit of a somewhat larger, but equally swift quarry.
The elephants were merely strolling, but nevertheless managed to cover the ground at such a speed that I could see Jack’s little legs having to run to keep up. I followed in the wake of grinning faces, exchanged glances at mobile phone photos and wide eyed children. It was easy to follow their trail.
I lost sight of the elephants as they rounded windy corner and headed down towards Plaza Europa but even if I hadn’t gotten to the corner just in time to see them head into the Plaza itself, I would have been left in no doubt as to which way they’d gone.
A pandemonium of screams greeted the gentle giants from a large group of schoolchildren who were sitting in the Plaza under the supervision of their teachers. The noise brought a smile to everyone’s faces and a contagious buzz of excitement that took me instantly back to my childhood and the thrill of seeing the circus arrive in town for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The elephants stood side by side in front of the children, gently swaying to and fro until a plastic shopping bag of apples was placed in front of each of them. They proceeded to lift the apples one at a time and devour them using their trunks with more dexterity than the average human wielding a knife and fork. When the larger of the two had finished his bucket full, his trunk wound over to the bag of apples in front of Junior, which elicited a squeal of collective delight from the children.
When their snack was finished, the elephants gracefully left the Plaza, the smaller one walking on its hind legs with its front feet firmly planted on the backside of the one in front and to the frantic applause and shouts of ‘adios’ of the kids.
I’m sure I can’t have been the only one there to wipe an eye whilst grinning like a fool.
With the elephants gone, the clowns took over and after them, acrobats on a trampoline and then more clowns, all introduced by the ringmaster in his splendid crimson tailcoat.
Tickets were given out to everyone offering discounted seat prices at the Gran Circo Mundial (World Circus) which would be performing in Santa Cruz all over the coming weekend and advising of location and the times of every show.
I know we’re in the digital age now and social media sites are fast becoming the mainstay of effective marketing and I subscribe to that wholeheartedly. But as far as old fashioned promotion of an upcoming event goes, I simply can’t think of anything that would have been more effective.
I’ll be going. And I bet everyone else in that Plaza will be too.