Carnaval on Tenerife: Old Trouts and Sardines

Posted: March 9, 2009 in Football, Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

After our encounter with the harridan of La Orotava, a bit of Carnaval time was needed to remind us that most Canarios are friendly, happy people. However, the feeling of annoyance at an antiquated system which stubbornly refuses to wake up to the fact that ‘customers’ actually have rights didn’t leave me in the best of moods for what should have been a fun night, i.e. the Burial of the Sardine.

I decided against dressing up as a widow this year on the grounds that I must be one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t look good in a little black number.
Even by the time we took up position to watch the parade I was still feeling a bit narky and the Canarian habit of waiting till the last minute before muscling in on your space, albeit good-naturedly, and blocking your view didn’t help.

A merry widow

A 'merry' widow

Some people here have the most incredible talent. A middle aged couple squeezed in to a tiny space behind me but within a few minutes, during which time they didn’t appear to move and I’m pretty sure my feet were firmly fixed to the ground, I found that I was behind them. It’s incredible – I’ve witnessed it time and time again and I’ve no idea how it happens. At first my British conditioning had me huffing and puffing, but after Andy pointed out that it didn’t really matter, we were all going to see the parade and I looked at the smiley happy faces around me, I realised that it was me who was out of step. I was looking for orderly when half the fun of Carnaval is that it’s chaotic and disorderly.

By the time that the first ‘widows’ appeared wailing, falling to the ground in grief and generally hamming it up to such an extent that had ‘Crossroads’ still been going, half of them would have been signed up for starring roles, I was feeling far more chilled.

The sardine when it arrived, looked as splendid as always –blond flowing locks, dangly earrings, scarlet lipstick (yes, this is the sardine I’m describing). However, there weren’t as many ‘widows’ as in previous years; something that was later attributed to the Real Madrid – Liverpool champion’s league match being screened on TV at the same time. Still it was all outrageous fun, and some of the widows’ accessories were in such serious bad taste that if I posted a photo (and I’m tempted), this blog would have to come with an ‘adult content’ warning.

Andy found us a great, if precarious, position to watch the sardine being ‘barbecued’ and from our vantage point on a wall beside the harbour we spotted another reason why there might have been a lack of grand dames at the parade; a group of glamorous widows were packed into one of the little fishermen’s bars knocking back the combinados.

No doubt drowning their sorrows.

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