After two…how can I say it…not-very-successful-outings, the Fiestas of San Juan on midsummer’s eve were sure to be a guaranteed hit.
We got to Playa Jardín around 5pm and claimed a prime spot at the base of a palm tree (this sort of planning is essential – choose poorly and by midnight you’ll have hordes of people trampling across you on the way to the sea).
We spread out our sarongs in a triangle and relaxed as the sun started to descend towards the horizon.

Tne beach at sunsetAs the beach turned golden in the dusky sunlight it was time to dig our hole; a well decorated hole is de rigueur for San Juan (it’s very difficult to talk about well decorated/pretty/impressive looking holes without sounding a bit Julian Clary).

We were particularly pleased with our efforts this year. Scarlet and yellow hibisicus flowers amidst red candles gave it an appropriately Spanish appearance in honour of Spain’s victory in the quarter finals of Euro 2008 (in truth the similarity to the Spanish flag was coincidence). After the hole was finished it was time to unpack some goodies from the coolbox (greek salad, paprika and lemon hummus, tofu salchichas, tabouleh, anchovy flavoured olives), crack open the cava and lie back to enjoy the fiesta as bemused tourists looked over a beach which was starting to look as though Glastonbury had decamped to the north of Tenerife (not a bad idea considering the disappointing weather that festival has every year).

This year, Puerto de la Cruz’ Ayuntamiento had organised a grand fiesta. Instead of the usual couple of hours of tedious backslapping favoured by the previous council, the current incumbents took a back seat and let the event speak for itself.

Our homage to Spain\'s football team in Euro 2008Folk group Aguasal got proceedings off to an environmentally aware start, followed by the lighting of the beach bonfire and a hypnotic and mesmerising mix of music and aerial theatre from VOALA. Zefrafolk turned the beach into a dance floor with their jaunty Celtic influenced rhythms before an unfortunate blackout (somebody probably tripped over a cable in the dark) cut their set short.

As the clock reached midnight, the ubiquitous firework display lit up the beach, the power came back on and Son21 (There are 21; which was accurate) took over on stage. The traditional Canarian band strayed from their usual path by playing sixties UK pop songs sung in a Canarian style. Personally I though it a bit bizarre, but as Andy and I stripped to our swimming togs and headed along with everybody else to the magical waters (the whole purpose of the fiesta is to bathe in the healing midsummer waters after midnight –the music et al is simply padding) to the sounds of Son21 singing Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ (the chorus for some reason was changed to ‘Chow Chow’) all the Canarios seemed to be lapping it up.
By 1 am the beach was a sea of smiling and dancing people of all ages; it was absolutely perfect and one of the best fiestas of the year.

The sea, by the way, was on the chilly side, but hey ho a small price to pay for guaranteed good health for a year.

  1. Pamela says:

    Petula Clark mate: that’s who sung Downtown, well, except the version at my junior school end of term concert, which was duly murdered by yours truly. 🙂

    ‘Spose you’re going to say you’re too young to have remembered accurately!

  2. dragojac says:

    DOH!! Thanks for the get out…she was a bit before my time, but I confess I did know it was Pet Clark. Do you know if Dusty had a hit with ‘Chow Chow’?! 🙂

    Error corrected, muchas gracias.

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