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Posts Tagged ‘Al Campo’

It was no surprise during yesterday’s weekly shopping trip to see the rows and rows of Carnaval costumes on sale. Every year Al Campo has a huge display of fancy dress costumes and essential carnival paraphernalia such as hats, wigs, theatrical make-up, plastic guns and swords and naturally, the obligatory false breasts.

Jack and I always think that we should really get something now while there’s still a decent choice but of course, we never do. We wait a couple more weeks until Carnaval is upon us and then we spend a desultory 20 minutes perusing the cheap and nasty hippie and naughty nun outfits which are the only ones left before reverting once more to old Halloween props and active imaginations. I digress.

But yesterday, Al Campo having extended its sales floor space by about a third before Christmas and now revelling in additional displays, we encountered a new Carnaval section – the essential party ingredients – laid out in the order in which they would be consumed.
Front of stage, naturally, was the alcohol.
Shelves stacked with six packs of countless brands of beer with the central block dedicated to the pride of Tenerife – Dorada – and including its snazzy carnival design cans in six, 12 and 24 packs. Flanking right came the spirits, Jack Daniels, Guajiro rum and Smirnoff taking the leading roles with a star studded cast of hundreds of other brands in supporting roles. Then came was the sea of Coca Cola, Pepsi, 7-Up and enough Red Bull to fill every heart attack ward on the island.


Next in the order of consumption came the obligatory munchies fodder – row upon row of crisps, Quavers, roasted peanuts, Pringles, snack foods, choccie biscuits and sweeties.

And filling the rear of the aisle was a huge display dedicated to the final lap in the Carnaval circle – breakfast. In true Spanish style the displays consisted predominantly of cakes of every description; lemon sponges, almond sponges, fruit cakes, madeleines, churros and doughnuts. In a vain attempt to balance the nutritional scales were pre-packed fruit trays containing an apple, a pear, an orange, a kiwi and a banana. Flanking the cakes were shelves stacked high with little cartons of fresh juices.

The only thing missing as far as I could see, was a display of paracetamol.

You’ve got to hand it to Al Campo – they know their market.

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This weekend Patricia Rodríguez, a girl from Granadilla de Abona in the south of Tenerife, won the Miss Spain 2008 title.
Like Pamela, once I get past the whole ‘women seen solely as articles of ornament and objects of sexual desire’ bit, I can confess to a politically incorrect twinge of pride on behalf of Tenerife.
Patricia Rodriguez, photo from ABC.esWhat struck me most about Patricia, apart from her obvious stunning beauty, was her height; a slightly-above-average-for-anywhere-else but bordering-on-giant-for-Tenerife, 5’10”.  Exactly my height in fact, although there the similarity unfortunately ends.

Before I moved to Tenerife I had never considered myself to be abnormally large. I may have gained a few excess inches around the midriff as middle age and I become far more closely acquainted than I would like but that’s nothing that a dozen weeks of fruit, boiled rice, water and intensive exercise won’t shift.
But since moving here, I’ve developed a certain affinity with Gulliver, which is useful for the inhabitants of this real life Lilliput when it comes to getting me to reach for their favourite brand of flour/biscuits/soap powder from the upper shelves in Al Campo supermarket in La Orotava.

The Tinerfeños are not what you’d describe as tall people. Today at the supermarket, an eight year old girl had her arm across her mum’s shoulders as they strolled back to their car and from the back, if it wasn’t for the school uniform, I wouldn’t have known the difference in their ages. And that’s the norm for both sexes here.
Even in flat shoes, I’m a good head and shoulders above the rest of the population and when the high heeled boots come out I’m apt to get the sort of second glances that I just know are of the ‘Dutch or Carnaval Trannie?’ variety.

So why then are the trousers here so ridiculously long? Jack (tall for a Tinerfeño, short for a Brit and average for a Scot) can’t get trousers here for love nor money. Every purchase results in either a trip to the dry cleaners to have a yard or so lopped off, or turn-ups to the knee. I on the other hand, who in the UK could only buy trousers that either had a large hem which I could take down, or, God help me, as a last resort had to buy from the M & S ‘tall’ range, bought a pair of trousers in the sales at Zara in La Villa last week that are actually slightly too long for me.
Someone should tell the manufacturers of clothing destined for the Canary Islands that their target market is ‘below average height’. I know that these things are taken into consideration in the world of clothing manufacture because large bosoms and protruding bottoms are both accommodated in the women’s department and Jack assures me that a lack of dance floor (ie no Ballroom) is evident in the gent’s department.

So congratulations, Patricia Rodríguez for your double achievement; for winning Miss Spain 2008 and for getting an entire island to stock long trousers just so you can shop anywhere you like!

P.S. Yes, I do know where M&S is in Santa Cruz and no, I am not going to give you directions, get a life and some better trousers!

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