Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz 2010 – ¡Qué Desastre!

Posted: February 14, 2010 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Puerto de la Cruz' opening parade!!!

A little boy wearing a clown costume stood on the street corner looking hopefully along an ominously empty street. As the minutes ticked by his excitement drained away to be replaced with heavy-as-lead disappointment…I knew how he felt. We were both waiting for a carnaval parade that never came.

I mentioned in a previous blog about the ‘strange’ pre-carnaval atmosphere this year in Puerto de la Cruz, but as we squeezed through packed streets on the way to Plaza Charco last night it seemed as though the doom and gloom of the run-up had dissolved in the party atmosphere. However, even then there were signs that all was not as it should be. The plaza café was once again shut, just as it was during New Year, the ongoing industrial dispute causing the town to miss out on much needed revenue during the busiest periods of the year.

But as we plonked ourselves down on stools at the best food stall in the world and ordered two Desperate Dan-sized montaditos (catalanas), the sight of the deserted café was soon forgotten. Latino music blasted out across the square and the place buzzed with anticipation and I felt that addictive carnaval drug course through my veins. Then I noticed something odd. There were no rows of people lining the route of the opening parade.

We finished our catalanas and wandered over to a policeman who confirmed that the parade was following its normal route. But as we walked along the street towards Castillo San Felipe there was no-one. Admittedly we were a bit early, but things weren’t normal.

We walked to a little bar underneath El Peñon, hoping for signs of a parade, but there were none. We’d always fancied having a drink at El Bajio beside the car park entrance as it always seems to be buzzing, so we grabbed a table and ordered a couple of beers. It’s a great little bar; full of character. Next to us a Canarian family tucked into a plate with a whole fish and a couple of grilled cuttlefish on it; pulling strips from the fish in between watching a TV set up outside the bar and cheering as Christiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick in about as much time as it takes to say the phrase. But still there was no familiar sound of beating drums. Something was definitely wrong. We finished our drinks and headed back. This time as we walked along the road we heard the rhythmic drumbeat that normally accompanies the parade, but oddly there were still no people. We turned a corner and there it was…one group of dancers. They were doing the usual dance moves, but without energy or flair – they were simply going through the motions.

Unwilling to accept that this was it we moved on and that’s when we encountered the little clown boy and his mother. As we approached them, the mother stopped a passing policeman and asked him about the parade. We asked her what he’d said.

“He said it’s only a short parade this year – only a few groups.”
“What about the carnaval queens – aren’t they in it.” I asked her.
“No, only at the big parade next week it seems,” she replied.

“Maybe the crisis,” she shrugged before adding. “Este año carnaval es fatal.” (Basically – carnaval is going to be crap this year).

We knew exactly what she was saying and why. The portuenses (people of Puerto) aren’t happy.

“Do you think he’s punishing the town for not voting for him,” Andy murmured.

It might seem ridiculous, but that’s exactly what it felt like. That Puerto’s mayor had stopped a tradition that was loved by the townspeople and visitors to punish them. But if there’s one big mistake you can make in Tenerife it’s to mess with the people’s fiestas.

I wonder if Mayor Marcos Brito woke today to find that he had developed tinnitus. But instead of ringing in his ears, he might have been hearing a tap, tap, tapping noise – the sound of nails being hammered into his political coffin.

I reckon that los portuenses no van a olvidar este.

An essential stall for accessories during carnaval

  1. […] suddenly hits you, a broad grin fixes itself onto your face and the adrenalin starts to pump. The Opening Parade turns out to be a complete non-event but it doesn’t matter. In a few hours the opening party will get into swing, thousands of people […]

  2. Oh no! I hope that it isn’t a wash out. We have friends coming over especially for the Carnaval and we will be there on Friday and Saturday. Haven’t got the frocks ready yet though!

    • dragojac says:

      They’re still blaming everything on the previous mayor, Pamela but this one aint going to wash. You know what it’s like – people will put up with all sorts of nonsense, but cock-up carnaval…

      I wouldn’t worry, Stephen, Carnaval will be great…as long as the weather doesn’t let us down. Despite the lack of a parade, it was good fun last night and the temp was around 20 degrees. All the other events should be the same as always.

  3. Pamela says:

    Well, look on the bright side, if he has done that and people react as expected, it should hopefully put paid to him forever. Or at least we can wish.

  4. Leslie says:

    The Crisis is the political excuse here for everything and anything.

  5. […] to be on orange alert status, no-one was really too surprised. Thankfully Opening Night Parades (where they actually happened…) passed off without weather incident but Sunday night was a bit of a wash out here in Puerto de […]

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