Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2010

When was the last time you walked away from a Tenerife bar, having just bought your round, with a grin on your face as wide as the crater?

For me, it was Sunday at the fiestas of San Antonio Abad in La Matanza where we took our friend Bob along for the ride.

We found a pavement to park on (not just acceptable at these affairs but positively de rigeur) and set off up a street that, were it ever to snow here, would prove a good practice ground for the down hill ski slalom; picking our way over evidence that much of the livestock had also used this route.

Why can't you just have a cat like everyone else?

We wondered through row upon row of horses from Shetlands to pure bred Arabs and Andalusians tethered alongside donkeys and mules that looked like they’d arrived at the party and no-one had told them it was formal wear.
Then it was over the road, past the pens of goats where tiny, fluffy kids were busy redefining the cute scale, to the stalls where mighty oxen were tethered, drooled over by butchers.

We lined the small street of San Antonio opposite the church and watched as the livestock paraded its way to the trophy table and locals wondered past with their various pets which they’d brought along for the San Antonio blessing. You have to hand it to these people, when it comes to choice of pets they’re not tied by convention. As we stood there we spotted pet iguanas, snakes, chinchilla rabbits (on leads) and a couple of eagles.
An hour or so into the proceedings it was time for some liquid refreshment and I fought my way through the farmers and musicians to the bar of a chiringuito and ordered three red wines. The barman asked if I wanted a quarter or half litre and as it was the first of the day I plumped for the quarter.
He reached into the large fridge and pulled out a chilled ¼ litre carafe into which he siphoned some home produced vino del país and, grabbing 3 small plastic glasses on the way back, he placed them on the bar and said “ €1.50 please”.

Standing room only at the bar and a distinct lack of women...

The grin remained on our faces as we sat on the wall in the sunshine and made very short work of the immensely quaffable ¼ litre. In fact, we made very short work of the next 2 carafes too – well, everyone has to get their round in, it’s only polite.

Feeling very mellow by this time we decided it was probably sensible to get something to eat and set off in search of some pinchos. Unfortunately, every bar we went to had run out of pinchos and was only offering carne fiesta (spicy pork chunks – come to think of it, not unlike pinchos). Eventually we were forced to declare at the final and largest of the chiringuitos that carne fiesta would suffice nicely, especially as this particular establishment was peppering the dishes liberally with home made chips.

Drink and ride

Squashed onto a narrow pavement bordering the main thoroughfare for the livestock, Jack ordered the food and the wine, which arrived in a Pepsi bottle – not as classy as the last place.
As we devoured the savoury pork chunks and drank our wine a steady procession of caballeros pranced and stamped their way to the spot right in front of us. One of the barmen was dispensing large glasses of wine to each rider, many of whom we recognised as fellow imbibers from the other chiringuito. Where they’d been positively unsteady on their feet, they now looked perfectly at home in the saddle and drained every glass in one.

There were one or two very nervous moments as horse buttocks backed close to Bob’s toes while he was trying to photograph a particularly attractive female rider – the words “serve” and “right” come to mind – bringing an exciting and dangerous finale to the afternoon’s proceedings.

If Guardia Civil had thought to get the breath tests out along the La Matanza to Puerto road on Sunday they’d have financed their next three fiestas – assuming they have jurisdiction over four legged vehicles.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Raise a glass to absinthe friends...

I’m not saying it’s been the sort of booze-fuelled haze that Christmas and New Year used to be in my youth, but there have been some particularly memorable evenings that have involved the partaking of a certain amount of alcohol; notably Christmas Eve and Jack’s birthday.

On the run up to Christmas I compiled a small feature for Tenerife Magazine on Tenerife’s Top Ten Cocktails which involved a deal of necessary research. So when it came time to get the final festive shopping underway, I added a few essential ingredients to the list so that I could test out some of my own recipes.

My very favourite cocktail is Mojito; Bacardi, fresh mint, sugar, crushed ice and soda water. Both we and friends of ours have, in the past, had several attempts at making Mojitos but with very limited success. To be honest, mine were poor but Martin’s were positively disgusting…if lethal. So having finally hunted down a good recipe, on Christmas Eve we decided to give it another go and guess what? It turns out that we can now make a pretty darn good Mojito. The first attempt was quaffably very acceptable. The second was bordering on delicious. The third was authentic, pass-me-a-Cuban-cigar-and-turn-up-that-Latino-music FABULOUS! After that it’s all pretty much a blur.

Jack’s birthday falls on 30th December (for which he’s never forgiven his mother – “if she’d just hung on another 16 minutes!”) and so he’s always very Victor Meldrew about it. This year, I was determined he’d have a good time so I bought him something he’s wanted to try ever since I took him to Barcelona for his birthday 8 years ago…a bottle of absinthe.
Getting the absinthe was easy as it’s readily available here on Tenerife, but it took four supermarkets before I could get sugar lumps (a necessary accoutrement for absinthe consumption). Alas, I couldn’t find a proper spoon anywhere so, in the absinthe of an absinthe spoon (allow me one bad pun) we had to make do with the kitchen slotted spoon. It took three attempts to get it right, by which time we wouldn’t have noticed the Green Fairy had she appeared, stripped naked and bounced on our noses. Unless of course she really is Kylie Minogue in which case I suspect Jack may have noticed.
I’ve awarded that particular hangover a massive 9.7 on the Richter scale.

So this week I decided it was detox time and looked forward to feeling 100% alcohol-free and fighting fit for the next week.
I awoke on Sunday morning with a throat that was lined with broken glass and as I drained my wine glass that evening I feared that I may have fallen prey to a cold virus which would interfere with my feelgood plans for the week.

On Monday and Tuesday I abstained from all alcohol and continued working but felt shit. By Wednesday I was bedridden with a headache that would have had to improve to qualify as the headache from hell and bouts of sneezing that barely subsided long enough for me to breathe. By Thursday the headache had turned into the migraine from hell and it was all I could do to hang onto the contents of my stomach.
On Friday I cracked a beer.
I feel much better today.

Read Full Post »