Tenerife Carnaval 2009 – The Opening Parade

Posted: February 25, 2009 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
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With the rains affecting the election of the Carnaval Queen, the postponement of the opening parade till Sunday evening was a godsend, giving us time to regroup and re-energise slightly before going back into Puerto de la Cruz to battle for a prime spot to watch the opening parade. Every year we’ve tried different areas, but have never really quite got it right. The lighting is usually too dim – it’s commendable that street lighting is dim on Tenerife in an attempt to cut down on light pollution, but it does make photography, unless you’ve got super-dooper equipment, difficult. Then there’s the ubiquitous little Canarian woman who turns up at the last minute and we let her shuffle in front of us because she’s hobbit sized and not going to spoil the view; only to find that two minutes later she spots her Shrek sized family, overfed on gofio until they’re big enough to blot out the sun, and shouts them over to join her, completely blocking any view we had.

Youd never know it was a winters night

You'd never know it was a winter's night

So finding the perfect spot can take a bit of planning. On Sunday we decided to try the Ranilla district. The streets are narrow there which has two plus points. They’re not wide enough for any doe-eyed old Canarian woman to squeeze in front of you and it means that the dancers in the parade are right beside you – good for close ups with an ordinary flash.

Surprisingly, the streets in the Ranilla district weren’t that busy and we were able to find a good spot easily and sat on the pavement’s edge to await the parade (our legs not able to support us for too long after the demands of the previous night).

In what must have been a first for Carnaval, the parade actually started on time. Actually it was about twenty minutes late, but on Tenerife that’s akin to being seriously punctual. Maybe it was because the parade had been postponed and some of the groups had commitments at other Carnavals around the island, but there weren’t as many flamboyant dance groups as in previous years (See Photo of the Day #3). That’s not to say it wasn’t great fun. The Canarian abuela (granny) next to us howled with laughter at some of the costumes – the biggest shrieks came when someone carrying a huge inflatable penis and testicles passed. They might not like spice in their food here, but they don’t mind it served up in other ways.

It only took just over an hour for the exotically dressed troupes of dancers (the kids’ ones being escorted by proud beaming mums) and floats with the Carnaval Queens – infant, adult and third age – to pass by and despite the theme this year being ‘Africa – Land of Tribes’, and many groups having a tribal theme to their dress, there wasn’t much of the ‘blacked up’ black and white minstrel element that I’d been expecting. No doubt that’ll be saved for the High Heels Marathon on Friday (anyone offended by political incorrectness should maybe think about giving that one a miss – or at least putting away their principles for a night).

I’m glad we made the effort to go and see the parade, but I have to admit to being secretly pleased when it finished early and we were able to head for home and slob out on the sofa a couple of hours earlier than I’d expected.

Now we’ve got a rest until the Burial of the Sardine on Wednesday and a decision about whether to tranny up or not this year. Not that I’ve got any qualms about slipping into a little black number, but I was gutted when I saw how much like an old slapper I looked like last time I did it.


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