Let’s NOT do the Timewarp again – The last day of Carnaval part 2

Posted: February 14, 2008 in Food, Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Although the theme of Carnaval had been fear, we’d already done the ‘monster’ bit and decided to forego any mask or wig which turned trying to eat, or drink, into a logistics nightmare. So for the final party I dressed up as a traditional cowboy (I know, not very imaginative – but it was practical) whilst Andy opted for a Doc Holliday look (Val Kilmer style).

The first sight that greeted us as we arrived in Plaza del Charco was quite enchanting. A shocking pink 50s style convertible with a sound system much, much younger than the car was blasting out some Buena Vista Social Club sounds and a lone couple were salsa-ing sexily next to the car. It was a cinematic image and I felt for a second that I could’ve been on the streets of downtown Havana. Then the music changed to the Bee Gees and the spell was shattered.

Where fancy dress is the norm - is that a real nun having a sly puff?One of the wonderful things about Carnaval is that it’s a party where everyone’s welcome, whatever their age. The Plaza, with nightly live bands, tends to be favoured by older Carnaval goers. Calle Perdomo’s beer and spirit kiosks and sound systems attract a twenty-something age group while thirty-somethings congregate in the area around the Pandora bar. A square enclosure beside the harbour is the preferred domain of the teenagers – within easy access of the burger and churros stalls. Even the town’s car park gets in on the act with an alternative Carnaval thing going on; car boots are converted into makeshift bars and sound systems piled high on the back of pick-up trucks turn the tarmac into an open air rave. However, each area isn’t exclusive. Like many people, we flitted from one to the other depending on where the best music was being played.

The odd thing though is that the music doesn’t vary greatly between any of the different venues. It’s all a variation of Latino/salsa; even the Hip Hop has Latino rhythms; it doesn’t matter whether its Billo’s Caracas Boys, Daddee Yankee or David Bisbal, they’ve all got that salsa beat.
Now, I hate dancing…no, that’s not right. I would love to be able to dance, I just can’t. I’m too self conscious and have absolutely no rhythm. I just know that I’m going to look like an embarrassing forty-something year old doing the ‘Dad’ dance. So I avoid even trying. However, the thumping salsa beat even got to me and I found myself shuffling my feet thinking of what someone had told me about salsa’s roots; that the short, sharp steps were as a result of restricted manoeuvrability caused by chains around slaves’ legs.

If only the DJ’s hadn’t changed tack and switched their Latino music for American and British sounds.
Don’t ask me why, but the influx of non-Spanish music here seems to have stopped somewhere around 1979. Suddenly the sexy sultry sound of Carnaval changed to the dated sounds of a British 40th birthday bash as salsa gave way to a ‘Grease’ medley, followed by a bit of Queen and then Saturday Night Fever and then, worst of all, a Spanish version of ‘Follow Da Leader’ (Sigue El Líder, I think). And amazingly, the thousands of Carnaval goers in Calle Perdomo all seemed to lap it up. In front of me a girl gestured for me to join in with the actions.
“ARRIBA…ABAJO…A LA IZQUIERDA…A LA DERECHA…”
She screamed at me as I kept a fixed grin on my face while thinking. ‘I’m of the baby boomer generation. We listen to Amy, Green Day, The Kaisers, Faithless; not this.’

Just when I thought the music couldn’t get any worse, ‘Sigue El Líder’ was replaced by ‘Let’s do the Timewarp again”.
Andy and I looked at each other. At that point we knew that it was time to leave. For us, Carnaval 2008 was over.
And anyway, it was the Manchester derby the next day and we wanted to have some energy left to watch that – What a big mistake that turned out; we really should have stayed at Carnaval.

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