By Friday night when I expected my enthusiasm for Tenerife carnaval to be very much on the wane it completely surprised me by heading in the opposite direction and soaring into the carnaval spirit stratosphere. There were a couple of reasons for this.

The first was thanks to a humongous chorizo and grilled green pepper catalana at Mesón California (basically a sausage butty Spanish style). I know I rabbit on about this stall, but the eating experience here is more akin to enjoying a culinary theatre performance than simply eating at a carnaval kiosk. The doorstep-thick chunk of bread that the chorizos and peppers rest on is too bready for Andy and she opted for the spicy pinchos (pork kebabs) which she declared to be the best tasting pinchos ever… and she’s tested quite a few. As I exercised my jaw and snapped a few shots, ignoring the warning by the camarero to not photograph the chef as his ugliness would break the camera lens, I also nosied at what others were eating. A plate of calamari on one side of me, a mountain of gueldes (fried whitebait) on the other and opposite was the king of carbs – a catalana consisting of a slab of tortilla as chunky as the bread it was resting on topped by what can only be described as an erect gherkin. Fantastic…and perfect as a carnaval alcohol sponge.

The second reason my carnaval spirit was soaring was that we were in Puerto de la Cruz to see the best carnaval event on Tenerife; the Mascarita Ponte Tacón (high heels marathon). The outrageous drag queen race has become so popular over the last few years that around 50,000 spectators turn up to see the 250+ contestants and their over the top costumes.

There are two ways to enjoy the Mascarita Ponte Tacón; either camp out along the route for hours until the ‘ladies’ stop parading and decide to run – or get close to the contestants’ free beer pump. We opt for the latter as the beer pump is a magnet to every stiletto-wearing giant chicken, Chilean miner and…err high heel shoe itself. The Mascarita Ponte Tacón goes against everything connected with sense and sensibility. Contestants have to tackle an assault course on vertigo-inducing heels after being plied with gallons of alcohol. Not only that, the more outrageous and politically incorrect the costume is, the more the crowd lap it up…oh, and brandishing a penis (fake clearly- I think) seems to be obligatory.

Add a charismatic and very funny compere; the best carnival music in Puerto de la Cruz, blasted out at such a volume that contestants sway on their heel as they pass the speakers, and an atmosphere bordering on pure elation and you’ve got an anarchic spectacle that blasts away any carnival fatigue. By the time the free beer ran out and the now staggering drag queens inelegantly headed for the race’s starting line (way, way, way behind schedule) I was relishing the prospect of donning a fancy dress costume and getting into the thick of the action for the final end of carnaval bash the following night.

  1. ZephyrLiving says:

    I’m so glad we came round to the food again too. Yummm. And your next post seems quite promising because you say you’re going to dress up. Pictures! Pictures of you and Andy.

    I wonder how many rolled ankles and other injuries there are after this affair? Sounds dangerous, but outrageously spectacular!

    Thanks again for the armchair travel!

    Peace, T.

    • dragojac says:

      The camera stayed mainly in its bag for the last party…so no pics of Andy or me. The brown robes didn´t really do it for me but then, thinking about The Name of the Rose, it´s not the most flattering look. Some years we really just don´t get it right. A couple of years ago we dressed up as cowboys and Andy looked a bit too man-ish whilst I looked like Slim Pickens! Horrible.

      The High Heels Marathon is an H&S officer´s nightmare. Some of these guys couldn´t walk across the road without falling off their heels…but the lashings of free beer deadens the pain I suppose. But just in case of accidents there are Red Cross people at every obstacle.

      It´s my ambition to run in the race but I need another fool to join me.

  2. Richard says:

    The bloke dressed as Astrix looks like he’s been training for it and runs proper marathons (check out his legs Andy 🙂 Did he win ?

    yeah do it next year Jack, then we’ll definitely come and cheer you on (I’m far too old and boring to be the ‘other fool’ though).

    • dragojac says:

      He looks pretty seriously fit. Still the real idea is not to win but to look as good as possible stumbling along the route. So no worries Ricardo, we could stroll the course holding on to each other’s arms for support 🙂 Just imagine being able to say you’d competed in the famous high heels marathon.

      • Richard says:

        ” … we could stroll the course holding on to each other’s arms for support Just imagine being able to say you’d competed in the famous high heels marathon.”

        well maybe if I can get enough ceveza down me I could be persuaded … yes, I get your drift – this could be one of the high points (;-)) of 2012

  3. Sandra Scott says:

    I saw the high heel race,what great good natured fun.Amazing costumes,The Tenerife mail s of all ages seem to be happy to drag up at every oppertunity.Great night!
    Health and safety in boring Britain would have put a stop to this.

    • dragojac says:

      Absolutely Sandra, it would never be allowed to take place. It’s a great event.

      • ZephyrLiving says:

        Are you going to work on Richard so that you two can participate next year? Bribe him with food and good company all year long and look for exactly the right pair of heels and I think Andy will be the one taking pics of you! T.

      • dragojac says:

        LOL – good plan T. Get him out of his windsurfer’s gear and into a little black number and stilettos; he’d look great. Although the last time I ‘dragged up’ for carnaval with a friend they looked fantastic and I looked like a cheap slut (I was even told so by a wee Canarian woman). I can see the same happening if Richard agrees to cross(dress) over to the dark side next year.

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