If there’s one thing you can guarantee at Carnaval, it’s that at some time it’s going to rain. Some may see this as a heavenly judgement on the hedonistic nature of the beast. On the other hand it just happens that Carnaval generally takes place during the rainiest month of the year, February.
This year it looked as though we’d been lucky and the rain stayed away…that is until the final day and Carnaval’s big closing parade, the Gran Coso.
By Saturday morning the outlook looked gloomy. The sky was filled with heavy swollen clouds, literally ready to rain on our parade, which would clearly put a dampener on proceedings.
For most of the day the rain drizzled down, more Manchester than Tenerife, but then just before 4 pm, the parade’s official start time, a miracle no less. The angry clouds parted like the Red Sea to be replaced by blue skies and bright sunshine. For once the weather gods smiled on Carnaval.
In typical Tenerife fashion, the parade started late, but the sunshine brought out beaming smiles and sparkling costumes all round as fairies, Egyptians, native American Indians, Geisha girls, belly dancers et al swirled, spun and salsa’d their way along Puerto’s seafront. A delegation from Düsseldorf were seated in a stand opposite us. I only mention them because a couple of the delegates nearly got into a fight with each other just before the parade began. One was trying to manoeuvre his way through the packed stand to get some beer, the other wasn’t in the mood for budging, leading to a ‘handbags at dawn’ scenario. It was something and nothing, but it was the only aggressive scene that we witnessed throughout Carnaval. Shame on them that these supposedly honoured guests nearly cast a black cloud, albeit a small one, over what is a happy, friendly and trouble free event.
The infectious nature of a parade soon lightened the atmosphere amongst the Düsseldorf delegates and for three hours men, women, girls and boys danced their way through Puerto’s streets.
The general rule of thumb for many participants at Carnaval is to wear as little as possible, both during parades and at the parties afterwards, which is maybe one of the reasons that Red Cross volunteers accompanied the parade handing out free condoms to the crowd. I was taken by surprise and, given my age, slightly flattered when one volunteer leaned toward me. Then reality bit as he gestured for me to move before he thrust a handful of condoms into the hands of a bemused and clearly embarrassed young German lad who was standing behind me.
At around 7pm, the arrival of the Carnaval Dames and Queen signalled that the parade was almost at an end and the glitzy showbizzy aspect of Carnaval was over for another year…now it was just the final night’s party to survive and then we could catch up on some rest.