There’s only one place to be if you’re in a traditional town on Tenerife on New Year’s Eve and that’s the main plaza.
Our French neighbour had suggested we go out for a meal on New Year’s Eve, which sounded good…as long as we could be in Plaza del Charco in Puerto de la Cruz and beside the harbour by midnight.
We had initially planned to ask Jesús to come to the square with us, but his sprained ankle took him completely out of the picture; there was no way he could have made the walk into town. So a meal with Nicole and Jean Louis it was.
As we wandered around to Nicole’s house, we passed Jesús. He was sitting beside a little fire he’d built. Although I felt a wee bit sorry for him, sitting there on his own, he seemed happy enough…anyway he wasn’t exactly on his own, he had his adoring fans with him – AKA the Disney gang.
Jean Louis had chosen the restaurant Los Gemelos. They’d eaten there many times and recommended the food. If a French person, especially one who was involved with the catering industry in France, recommends a place, you can be pretty sure it’ll be hunky dory. Jean Louis also liked Los Gemelos because they didn’t take advantage of the fact that it was New Year’s Eve and hike up the prices.
Another good sign when we arrived at the restaurant was that it was full of Canarians. Although probably every restaurant was full of Canarians as everybody heads into town in their finest gear to celebrate Nochevieja (quite the opposite from the family orientated Nochebuena).
Despite being packed to the gunwales, the staff were very efficient and meals were cooked perfectly to order. It was simple Canarian cuisine, but beautifully cooked and the portions were Desperate Dan sized. Andy and Jean Louis had steaks, Nicole a salmon fillet and I had pork chops. I rarely order pork chops in a restaurant. I’ve got this daft thing about it being a bit naff – a bit Sun reader on holiday, even though I think pork is one of the tastiest of meats.
Everything was going well until there was a slight misunderstanding as midnight drew closer. Jean Louis had been under the impression that we were going to spend New Year in the restaurant, so wasn’t keen to leave especially as the waiter had brought us a 4 little bags of ‘lucky grapes’ to be downed at midnight and a bottle of sidra. By this time the restaurant was near empty and the idea of spending New Year in a quiet restaurant as opposed to amongst the buzzing crowd at the firework display on the harbour didn’t appeal.
Andy suggested that Nicole and Jean Louis stay and have the sidra and that we’d meet them in the square later.
However, Nicole wanted to see the fireworks as well, so after a brief and slightly heated debate between the two of them we all left for the harbour.
I hope that they both felt it was the right decision. Despite the recession, there seemed to be more people than usual around the harbour and plaza and the usual Latino band were belting it out for all they were worth. At midnight we swallowed our grapes and then watched the firework display. This year’s was shorter than previous years because of the ‘crisis’ or ‘creeesees’ as they say here, but it still elicited plenty of delighted ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’. Jean Louis and Nicole stayed for a few dances and then headed for home, leaving us to wander with our couple of bottles of cava from the live stage to the DJ dance area checking out the music and also what stylish creations revellers were wearing this year.
At about 03.30 (an early one for us) we decided it was time to set off on the long trek back home away from the partying crowds, through La Paz and onto the quiet dark secluded roads through the banana plantation.
Incidentally, we stopped briefly in Plaza Iglesia where there’s always an alternative New Year gathering by some of the town’s younger scene (all in gowns and DJs of course) and as I was taking some photographs a young Tinerfeño tapped me on the arm and asked me to take a photo of him and his friends. The young Tinerfeños are always asking to have their photos taken at fiestas which really amuses me, cause it’s unlikely that they’ll ever see the picture. So just in case my unknown young friends in Plaza Iglesia stumble across this blog – here’s your photo.