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Posts Tagged ‘Plaza del Charco’

There’s a wonderful little photography exhibition in our local shopping centre of La Cúpula in La Paz entitled ‘Tenerife Ayer y Hoy’.
It consists of 100 or so location shoots around the north of Tenerife with one photo taken between 50 and 80 years ago and the exact same shot repeated today.

The locations are mainly in and around Santa Cruz, La Laguna, La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz but with some around El Sauzal, Tacoronte, Los Realejos and Santa Úrsula. The photographs are interesting in their own right in terms of presenting an image of the ‘real Tenerife’ but they’re also surprising in terms of how little change there has actually been.

Particularly around La Orotava and La Laguna, some of the locations have barely changed at all except that today the buildings are looking smarter as a result of renovation and where once only dusty trails prevailed, tarmac now follows the original lines. The guard of honour of Canarian Palm Trees that run alongside Parque de la Constitución in La Laguna are actually more spectacular today as they’ve grown and produced rich foliage but now rows of housing border them where 50 years ago only fields existed.

Rambla de Castro, exactly the same today as it was 80 years ago

Rambla de Castro in Los Realejos, one of the images that's exactly the same today as it was 80 years ago

It’s funny to see the tramlines criss-crossing Santa Cruz in the ‘ayer’ photo just as they are today, although the trams themselves are space-age compared to the old style trolley buses. And funnily enough, Plaza España has almost come full circle (if you ignore the lake!) with wide open space and the replica gateway to the gardens of La Alameda del Duque de Santa Elena in clear view.

Puerto de la Cruz is much more built up than it was. The area around Playa Martiánez is barely recognisable and some of the lovely old balconied buildings around the harbour and Casa Aduana are sadly no longer there. But the area around the Hotels Marquesa and Monopole are relatively unchanged and of course Plaza del Charco is still the bustling heart of the town.

It’s just a small exhibition in the space outside the supermarket and I have no idea how long it will be there but if you get the chance, go along and have a look.

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It’s a hot day. At the pharmacy the neon green sign is alternating between 11.20am and 28 °. Down at the harbour a small stage is in full sun. Stacks of speakers are vibrating to the rhythms of R & B and hip-hop that resonate around the little plaza, setting the heat haze to sound.
At the front of the stage a teenage lad in gravity-defying trousers and a crash helmet starts to spin on his head, his legs acting as balance, steering and acceleration all in one. He forward flips to his feet, sweat glistening on his neck as his body jerks to the rhythm.

Aerial eroticism at Mueca 2008 in Puerto de la CruzHigh above the harbour a man is sitting on the arm of a crane playing the flute. His oversized trousers and waistcoat give him away as a clown and his Pied Piper flute is calling the Sunday strollers to follow its melody to the exotic dance that is about to take place above their heads.
From the high wire two broad black cloths unfurl to the ground. She starts to climb one of the cloths gracefully and effortlessly, her left foot wraps and unwraps to form a stepped stirrup as she pulls herself higher. Once in position, she coils a cloth around each leg, hangs upside down, her legs wide to keep the cloths apart on the ground, and waits for her lover.
He furls the cloth around his waist and she begins to reel him in, slowly, provocatively, her arms weaving him ever closer until his body draws level with hers and the lovemaking can begin.
In an erotic, aerial ballet, the lovers twist and turn; his hands always on her body, her hair on fire in the sun. Below them we are transfixed; like voyeurs, our eyes cannot leave them.

On Calle Quintana a metal pirate stands with his back to the wall. His eyes are green bulbs, his cutlass is glinting in the sunlight, his chest heaves in and out with metronomic regularity. Beyond the robot, a man sits on a cardboard horse frozen in time, his white face and broad smile set, his black eyes fixed. A small boy drops fifty cents in the basket on the ground in front of him and suddenly the jockey resumes his race, his whip hand raising and falling on the horse’s flank, the reins looping and tightening as he urges his steed forward on the spot.

Fairy antics at Mueca 2008 in Puerto de la CruzIn Plaza del Charco two fairies sit side by side on a settee playing a silent game of Simon Says. The small one is plying her hair idly into plaits. The tall one mimics her but only twists the strands, unable to follow where Simon has led. Contemptuously, the small one opts for an easier mimic and placing her closed hands beneath the side of her head she lies down and closes her eyes. The tall one mirrors her but keeps one eye open. The wide eyed little girls watching the show giggle at the antics of the inept fairy.
Under the laurel tree, a wood elf is dancing and beneath the canopy, children’s faces are being transformed into tigers, daisies and butterflies.

This is Puerto de la Cruz and this is Mueca.

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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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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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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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