Take me to John Connor“Buenas Tardes,” the voice stopped me in my tracks. Not because a stranger had just greeted me in the street, but because this stranger was over 6 foot tall and was a robot.
At any other time this would have caused me some concern and thoughts like, ‘this is it; this is exactly what the Terminator movies tried to warn us about,’ would have raced through my brain. But as I happened to be in the middle of MUECA 2008, Puerto de la Cruz’ street theatre festival, I merely smiled, mumbled a ‘buenas tardes’ back and moved on.

Although the Spanish Met Office had issued an ‘orange’ level weather warning for the western Canary Islands, and winds of up to 120 kph had been predicted for areas above 2000 metres. Puerto de la Cruz remained a blue sky’d oasis for the duration of the festival. We’d only managed to get a glimpse of the fun on Saturday night as two friends were in town which we used as an excuse to go to one of our favourite local restaurants, Cha Paula. As usual the food was first class; the best chipirones (small squid) in town, glistening pimientos de padron of which one on ten really did kick you in the head; cheese from El Hierro drizzled with spicy sauces and country wine which was far too quaffable to be good for you. It was so good that we lingered too long and the waiter started moving tables from around us.
“Sorry,” Andy apologised to him. “We were too busy talking, we didn’t realise you were shutting.”
“No, señora,” he held up his hands. “It’s not a problem. Sit as long as you like. It’s just that the bar upstairs is opening and they have darts. Some people are not very good.”
He shrugged his shoulders and looked up toward the open wooden balcony above. It was a surprise to hear that darts were popular with young Canarios, but we got the point, or rather as we didn’t want to get the point, we supped up, paid the ridiculously low bill and left.

By then we’d missed most of the street performances so Andy and I headed back down the following day. The town was even busier than the previous night. It was full of Domingeros, dressed in their Sunday finest. The street festival had attracted lots of young bohemians as well and the old town was filled with fireaters, jugglers and people playing all sorts of weird instruments. One man was playing what looked like a wok; quite melodic it was too.
Ready for Lift Off, Circo en el AireMost of the action was taking place around the harbour. On one side lithe young lads spinned and twirled in front of a group of adoring chicas (and I thought break-dancing was way out of date). The bottom end of Plaza Charco had been turned into a faerie grotto of sorts and whilst most faeries entertained groups of bewitched toddlers, a couple of quite vain faeries preened, fussed, fiddled with their hair and pouted to the delight of the older kids and, as they were a particularly attractive pair, some captivated dads as well.
Whilst steel bands drummed and actors played out grim tales, the highlight was the Circo en el Aire; a troupe of acrobats who flamenco’d, twirled and swirled on, and above the harbour’s cobbled streets. At one point two of them enacted a dance routine suspended in the air by silk ribbons that was borderline erotic and incredibly sensual; not what you expect on a Sunday afternoon. It raised the already hot temperature a few notches I can tell you.

It was a wonderful, magical festival with a warm atmosphere which had more to do with the fact that the town was full of people with beaming smiles than the hot sunshine. It was simply Puerto doing what Puerto does best. It was one of those special days when the thought hit us head on like a juggernaut – this wonderful place is where we live.

  1. The festival you watched is Festival de Mueca, here is their website, it list all the acts and artist: http://www.festivalmueca.com/

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