Archive for March, 2013
More Passion Than Ever In Adeje

The greatest story ever told just got greater. The annual street performance of The Passion in Adeje has run on a familiar format for at least the last decade but a new expanded programme saw the last days of Christ played out from the top of Calle Grande and then back up again ending in Plaza de España. It was an inspired move that nearly doubled the time to two hours and made the most of the award winning main plaza that overlooks Barranco del Invierno.

I arrived about 20 minutes before the noon start and mingled with the horses, chariot, Roman soldiers, hawk, and around 100 extras waiting just around the turn from the church at the top of the street. It was a hot one in the south of Tenerife, the digital readouts on the way up from Los Cristianos were sweltering at 26 degrees, just one more factor to add to pre show nerves after a years planning and rehearsals.

One of the things that makes The Passion so enthralling is the total dedication to the cause, straw and palm leaves are spread on the road, the stage areas for the set pieces of the drama are lovingly crafted, the television crews filming for the live feed all dress in the costume of the period, even the phone kiosks along the route are covered with crimson drapes so as not to distract from the images.

With a roll of drums and a clip clop of horses hooves the procession started slowly down the road as an estimated 23,000 people jostled gently for the best vantage points. Many had arrived very early and had taken root at the tables and chairs outside the bars and cafes that were experiencing a much needed boom in takings. The new elongated route allowed the Roman soldiers and their horses to milk the full pomp and power from their presence. Once at the bottom of the hill Jesus and his disciples took over and performed The Last Supper around a large table on the Plaza Cruz de Llano.

With the action shown on a giant screen at each end of the street, Jesus moved back up the road via some soul searching in the Garden of Gethsemane, arrest and trial at the Roman high council and court, and the brutal seizing, whipping, and forcing of Jesus to carry his cross up to the scene of his execution at Plaza de España. During all this the dialogue was broadcast in Spanish over speakers via state of the art head sets for the principal players – only Jesus is portrayed by a professional actor.

The wide open space of Plaza de España was a perfect setting with people banked up the stone steps outside the church and a stage at the back of the plaza set against natures own stunning scenery from Roque del Conde and the Barranco del Invierno. Possibly for future years it might be good to have another giant screen in this plaza ass many packed in their earlier on and missed a lot of the build up as the story unfolded on the way up the road.

The climax wrung out every last drop of emotion as Jesus was nailed down onto the cross and it was hoisted into position. The cries of his mother and Mary Magdalene and the cutting down of the body before wrapping it in cloth and carrying it slowly away had the crowd spellbound. There were a lot of different nationalities, religious beliefs, and cynics like myself in the crowd but the emotion and power were as always amazing. Updating a classic tour de force can be a bit risky but this was a huge success and a fitting opening to the Easter weekend.

Let’s Get Physical…

…sang Olivia Newton John, and who are we to argue. With that sentiment in mind I put on my Fame leg warmers and popped along to the Arona Maximo Deportes next the Metropolis Centre half way between Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas.

This year the open air fitness and sport extravaganza had retreated back from the sea front to the street behind and was setting up as I arrived a little early for the 11 am start. My promptness was due to a deadline, if I could get photos and a report done quick sticks I could get it in this weeks copy of TheTenerife Weekly. There was a lot of frantic last minute setting up being done but shortly past the appointed hour music blasted forth from the stage and the fuse was lit.

It was a mix of mini courts for basketball and tennis, an inflatable goal and surround football pitch (ideal for today’s breed of constantly falling over superstars) and stalls promoting sailing, motocross, jet skiing, and health drinks and supplements. Those powdered protein meal drinks always remind me of the old Marvel dry milk – what’s wrong with chewing on a side of cow or pig?

My camera has a dirty old man chip and sure enough once the fit and flexible ladies took to the stage to lead the aerobic dancing my camera pulled me towards the mosh pit of eager stretchers and clappers. It made me tired just watching but it did have the desired effect of motivating the crowd and luring more passers by inward to see what was going on.

Lots of young children were having a bash at tennis, basketball, and football, and that can’t be a bad thing. There was a strong commercial element to the event as various gyms and health studios pushed their products but with the council cupboard almost bare these sort of promotions wouldn’t be possible if not for the backing of relevant business’s.

My all too brief stay was an enjoyable one, it was just a pity the event couldn’t be held near the coastal path as last year that drew in lots of passing curious holiday makers and locals. Top marks to the tireless instructors on a very hot day, you can’t beat a bit of bump and grind on a Thursday.

CD Marino Love That Winning Feeling

With a spring in their step and their tails up CD Marino made it three straight wins with a convincing 2-1 home victory over Real Aviles. Still smarting from a 0-3 home spanking by CD Tenerife last week Aviles must have been dreading a visit to resurgent Marino, and they had good cause to be wary. Even with Noah, Poncho, and Sean Wilkins on the sick list Marino were by far the better side and only a late penalty stirred the visitors into life.

It was nearly a false start for Marino when a loose back pass left them scrambling but goalie Alberto was on the case quickly. Then it was down to business with Balduino leading the charge at Aviles, their defence buckled and when the ball broke loose to Iker just outside the penalty area his shot was strong and true for a sixth minute lead. Rafa Hernandez made a well timed block at right back for Marino, he has settled well into that role and overlaps with speed to link with the attack.

Sandro is in a rich vein of form and he thundered down the right wing before delivering a teasing invite that none of his team mates could quite accept. Balduino is not always my cup of tea but he had an outstanding game working hard for his team mates, at time he had two defenders trying to shackle him. It was all Marino as the half went on, Airam put a shot wide and Aviles keeper Rebello was grateful that Balduino scuffed a clear shot allowing him to take the ball as it dawdled towards him.

The second half opened with more home pressure and a tasty move for the second goal. Chema chipped the ball over the defence, Balduino squared it across to Sandro and he tapped it in from close range. There was only one team in it, Aviles only answer to the runs of Chema and Sandro was to cut them down, the amount of hacking would have shocked Lord Leveson.

Aviles pushed forward and got a gift when Alberto pulled Geni down for a penalty that the midfielder converted. Suddenly the visitors found some urgency with 12 minutes left and put some pressure on Marino, Ayoze was his usual calm self in the centre of defence and alongside him Amado had probably his best game since being loaned from CD Tenerife. Confidence is a recently discovered ally for Marino, Balduino did some great interplay with Sandro to nearly repeat the second goal and then he beat two defenders down the right before shooting the wrong side of the post.

Aviles tackles were getting cruder than a box set of Frankie Boyle gigs and it was no surprise when Jeffrey got a second booking and was sent off. As time ran down Marino swapped Raul Barcos for Sandro and Ramses for Balduino and went all out for a third goal. Four minutes of injury time saw Aviles under siege before the whistle blew. On the way off the pitch Salva tried to vent his frustration on Raul Barcos but wasn’t even any good at that. Bottom by only five points now Marino know the big test comes with a return to away action next week, but at least there is hope.

CD Tenerife kept their five point lead at the top after a 0-0 draw at Getafe B, another clean sheet and four points from two successive away games will do very nicely.







Life In The Slow And Fast Lanes

Money, or the lack of it, is on many minds at the moment but as some long term Tenerife projects never seem to end, other big money dreams are still hoping for a green light to start.

The ring road linking Adeje to Santiago del Teide is a long running sage dating back to the first digging in 2006. Since then the only motor action it has seen is the demolition derby of the film crew of Fast And Furious 6. Now comes the news that work has stopped, nine sub contractors have been told to pick up their gear and take a break and 200 workers have been advised to sign on the paro. It seems the money isn’t around to finish this short cut, I thought it was near to completion, the tunnels have long since emerged at the Santiago end and late last year when I was walking that way the site was buzzing like Bob the Builders depot.

Meanwhile at the other side of the island the proposed motor racing track is back on the agenda. The site is Atogo in Granadilla and the land has been identified but now comes the tricky matter of funding. The next step is a big presentation in Santa Cruz on 30 April to outline more details of the project, then there is a four month window for financial backers to put in their bids. You may wonder why Tenerife needs a motor racing circuit, so do I, but the government and supporters are keen to show that it will create building jobs and then admin and running costs as well as pulling in more specialist visitors to the island.

Another huge project nearing completion (the tunnel should be open early April) is the Via Litoral in Santa Cruz, that’s the new layout from the port across to Plaza de España. Now into the fourth year it started with a 40 million euro budget that increased to 48 million and should have been ready by this February.

The big improvement wont be seen until the finish, so far the road has been widened and taken down under tunnels going past the ferry port and coming up in Avenida Anaga. Six laurel trees were uprooted by a giant crane and moved back a few feet as well, once it is all done, traffic will be taken down and out of sight while the area above will become a 50,000 square metre pedestrian zone spreading across from Plaza de España to the port with extra cafes and leisure parks. The slogan is Uniting The City With The Sea and it will certainly make the capital more attractive to visiting cruise traffic. We should see if it was all worth it before the end of the year

To be fair many of these big projects were drawn up before the crisis kicked in but now we are stuck deep in its grip it’s proving hard to top and tail them as the money runs out. The race track, like the proposed north to south rail link, is very dependent on new money being poured in, maybe we should savour these grand designs, if things don’t buck up in the global economy the next wave of development in Tenerife may be whether or not to replace light bulbs or dab a new coat of paint on public buildings.

CD Marino Win Is Best Of The Bunch

What a great performance from CD Marino, this 2-0 home win over Salamanca only told part of the story as they played with passion, determination and bags of skill. Some of the 40 or so visiting fans were dressed as bananas (having a pop at us I think) but by the end of the game they were left looking very green and past their sell by date.

After last weeks away win Marino came out fired up, Sandro was tearing into Salamanca, swapping wings and cutting inside to take on anyone in his path, and Iker was further forward than usual to give support to Balduino. Salamanca arrived with outside hopes of crashing the promotion play off party but they were given a torrid time, Chema crunched Fuster to a halt and captain Airam showed a similar no way through attitude to Piojo. Former Tenerife flop Igor led the Salamanca attack but he is still just a big waste of space.

Airam tested Piojo down the left and won a free kick, Salamanca were giving them away like confetti. Balduino looked sprightly up front and the service was good from all quarters, Chema skinned Salamanca down the right but they scrambled the danger away. Alberto had few worries in the home goal, big centre back Angel had the best chance close in and found Alberto alert as he blocked the effort. Balduino grabbed a deserved Marino lead on the half hour with a delicate lob off the instep of his boot to the right of the keeper – dead classy.

From the kick off Salamanca broke forward and fired a ball across the home goal, it needed a helping hand from Alberto to ensure it passed by the target. Captain Airam got a nasty bang on the head after an accidental clash with De Lucas, he wasn’t out of action long, returning stitched up and bandaged and looking like an out patient from the Green Clinic next door. Marino had the scent of victory and five minutes from half time Sandro won the ball through sheer grit and passed to Chema, he made a nice lay off into the path of Iker who unleashed a long shot into the top corner of the goal, 2-0 and cruising. Airam came close to adding another, chesting down the ball and shooting, the keeper did well to hold on to it.

Marino relaxed a little in the second half, Alberto had to make a strong diving save and down the other end Chema was agonizingly close as his shot went wide. Raul Barcos came on as Chema departed to warm applause, Balduino was looking for another goal and had a couple of half chances before he gave way to Ramses. Sandro had a near miss after Pol had lost the ball in front of goal and Alberto had to make a couple of routine saves but Salamanca knew they were beaten, even the bananas looked limp. The final whistle brought an outbreak of shared hugs and hand shakes, it was a job well done and with Real Aviles at home next week the race is on to close the seven point gap and avoid ending in bottom position.

Could the day get better, of course it could, CD Tenerife were overdue a convincing performance but their 0-3 win at Real Aviles surpassed all expectations. The starting line up had another strange look with Alberto in midfield ( no Suso or Cristo) and Ayoze Perez playing to the left of Aridane. Both surprise choices worked well, Alberto gifted Loro a perfect pass after 22 minutes and he beat his defender to score. Ayoze showed he is much more than a goal scorer by sending a magnificent ball in for Aridane to double the lead with a header after 50 minutes. In the final ten minutes sub Chechu came up with a swinging corner to Alberto who struck the ball like an experienced forward to wrap up a 0-3 victory. The only bad point was a booking that keeps Llorente out for next weeks game at Getafe B, but Alvaro Cervera will have that one covered.




Arona Carnaval Signs Off With Smiles And Buckets Of Tears

As Drag Queen Orgasmica climbed down off her high heels and the sardine spat and spluttered in a wall of flames at the beach, most people looked back and agreed it had been a cracking Carnaval in Arona.

The weather teased but came good for the key events and the showground clocked up some of the latest, or should that be earliest, finishes in recent years. The Coso parade was advertised as an hour earlier than usual but started an hour late so that pleased me as those nice police sent our Santa Cruz football coach from the edge of Los Cristianos back out of town on a big circuit back in via Guaza roundabout.

It was a scorching Sunday and as usual the best vantage points along the route started filling up hours before the event. The gathering point down by Paloma Beach Apartments was throbbing with a posing, pulsating, cast of dancers and novelty floats baking in the afternoon sun. The Pope made an appearance on his farewell tour, the mobile BBQ trio looked highly suspicious but very topical, and Carnaval Queen Vanessa Ventura looked ace at the centre of her Rumbo A Rio costume creation.

The pace of the procession seemed a little quicker this year, maybe it was better organized or maybe the heat was driving them on towards the relief of shedding their Carnaval skins. I always like to spot the different reactions of the participants, some are nervous, some are polished, and some have found the stage they always craved for. I always worry how many barely covered bottoms will end up sunburnt by the end of the meander up the long stretch towards the town centre. The other extreme is to be buried under a cascade of glitter, baggy pants, and high rise hats – but they all coped well and entertained the estimated 30,000 people lined along the route.

Monday was a duller day but with the sardine funeral in the evening it allowed a few hangovers to subside. The more open plan setting outside the Cultural Centre this year allowed crowds to gather around the shiny scales of the sardine but the two Civil Protection minders stuck so close constantly twitching on their radios – were they expecting a fishy kidnap? The usual wailing widows appeared in their extravagant black dresses, only the stubbled chins and bulging biceps betrayed their true gender.

The beer was flowing from the stalls but most mourners had come well prepared with their own top ups, even the Brazil flag on the stage was at half mast. Mock bishops and priests appeared and led the parade the parade in a wild dance of defiance and celebration up behind the church and then down to the beach to be engulfed in flames as fireworks tore through the sky. That wake was only just beginning as the last drops of Carnaval fun were squeezed out at the showground – there would be no sleep till dawn.



Oh Mother, What A Shambles From CD Tenerife

Two defeats on the trot doesn’t make a crisis for CD Tenerife but it’s a warning to sort themselves out before they throwaway their healthy lead at the top of the table. Self inflicted mistakes proved costly in this 1-2 defeat and Aridane enhanced his reputation as out main striker by not even playing. The suspended forward was missed for his physical presence and sheer nuisance value to opposition defences – and his 14 goals have been a bit handy too.

It was a similar story with right back Javi Moyano also forced to sit out the game, his replacement Sergio Rodriguez had a mare, he kept backing off when he should have been putting in the telling tackles. Guijuelo are in the relegation zone and Manu Moreira was the only player that looked to have any attacking threat, striker German and midfielder Abel both had to sit the game out as part of their loan agreement from CD Tenerife.

It was a very shaky start from Tenerife Moreira made a half chance and from the corner Aragoneses had to punch the ball away with Yeray mopping up after him. Alberto made a silly slip and was thankful to Llorente for coming to his rescue before Guijuelo could think of exploiting it. The visitors goalie Calvo looked strong and commanding in the air – maybe battering ram Aridane could have tested him. Tenerife wasted a free kick on the edge of the box, Suso chipped over and coach Alvaro Cervera called a couple of his players over during a break in play to presumably ask them what the hell their problem was.

Just before the half hour Guillem Marti put pressure on the Guijuelo defence after a cross from Llorente, Manolo got a touch to it and everyone froze as the ball sneaked in to the net with slippers on for an own goal. Time to take control, or maybe not, bad concentration just before the break proved costly as Rodriguez again dithered leaving Jaime Moreno to flight in a quality goal at the near post that Aragoneses flapped at instead of pushing it away. Cristo Martin raised hopes early in the second half with a decent free kick but Calvo was down on it. A neat back heel from Cristo set Llorente away but he flashed the ball wide, changes were needed. A double substitution saw Ayoze Perez and Chechu replace Guillem and Yeray and Tenerife showed some renewed urgency.

Chechu sprinted down the left and got close with his shot and followed up with a cross that carried on past the post and out of play. The killer blow came after 70 minutes, Llorente was caught out this time and Volero scored with from one of the few real efforts his side had on goal. Nico took over for Rodriguez but couldn’t make the difference, Alberto managed a header that the Guijuelo keeper took low down and in injury time Alberto had another fruitless attempt that went wide as Ayoze called for the ball. I was so angry by the end of the game that I almost had a Justin Beiber hissy fit but the soccer Gods bailed us out again as Leganes and Oviedo both drew leaving us five points clear and they go head to head next week.

Arona Carnaval By Night And By Day

Women in skimpy costumes, bizarre fancy dress, industrial quantities of alcohol, and ear splittingly loud music into the small hours. Arona Carnaval serves all these ingredients up on my own doorstep, well a short walk down the hill, but as it has a duty to delight all the municipality the opening Cabalgata parade started in Playa de Las Americas just outside Veronicas.

The threat of heavy storms hung over the big launch but that didn’t stop the party people from squeezing into their dresses, tunics, and high heels. Parents passed on their Carnaval make up skills to the next generation as they preened and polished the young guns ready to set off down Avenida Rafael Puig Lluvina. Brazil was the theme vaguely kept in mind but basically it was a dressing up box free for all driven along by the usual strident drum rhythms. Crowds were big all along the route and the rain held off, the smiles and kisses radiated out from the dancers and tipsy holiday makers came out from bars and restaurants to do their dad or mum at a wedding routine with the sort of dance moves that would make Bruce Forsyth’s wig spin.

Gloomy stall holders around the showground in Los Cristianos had a few lean days as the rain lashed down and gales rattled the stage but it all held together and the sun was back in time for the main stage events. The following Saturday was the all day Carnaval and on a scorching hot afternoon I started at the showground mingling among the music fans enjoying a string of dance and pop acts. The Espacio 40 Principales show brought a younger mix of acts rather than the usual old favourites and had people up and bopping as they clinked and clanked endless bottles and glasses of happy juice.

The all dayer brings out families with cute photogenic kids, and yummy mummies distracting me at every turn. The smell of the food stalls adds to the atmosphere and the mojitos were proving to be the favoured form of refreshment. There was more action to be found at the Plaza del Pescadora down near the old beach so I wandered off there to check it out. A couple of free face painting stalls has been set up along the way and young singers and dance groups were gathering ready for their turn on the plaza stage.

The party mood was infectious and older holiday makers were shimmying in their sandals and shaking surplus sun cream off their gyrating bodies. As well as the performers there were contestants lurking around for the later fancy dress competition, all very ingenious but a bit hot in the full blaze of the sun. Ice cream and cold drinks were flying off the shelves of nearby shops, and restaurants and cafes where the views were good had full tables. The sea was calm and twinkling and the sand soft and sizzling, all that and free music wafting across – we really do spoil our holiday makers.

Heading back towards the showground there was a bonus attraction as more drum based groups performed outside the Cultural Centre. With the election of the drag queen set for the evening it was shaping up for another late night and the previous night had only finished at 5 am. Deep breath, the Coso Parade and Sardine Funeral were still to come.


Waiting For The Storm That Never Came

In a season of more dark clouds than sunshine CD Marino played some bright football in the first half but although I braced myself to be soaked and whipped by heavy winds the storm heading for Tenerife didn’t arrive and neither did the home win that was there for the taking. A 1-1 draw reflected two teams with little to play for and not enough desire to force a victory.

Suspensions and injuries again forced changes onto Marino but after a couple of early openings for SS Reyes the home side took control with Rafa Hernandez making some good runs from the left back position. Balduino was the lone Marino striker but Aaron pushed up to support him and Sandro was nippy as ever. Gomez had a simple chance for Reyes but scuffed his shot before the referee awarded a harsh spot kick to Javi for a handball by Rayco – it actually hit his chest, thankfully Alberto repeated his penalty save of the previous home game to deny the visitors.

Sandro neatly unlocked the Reyes defence with a neat back flick and passed to Balduino who slipped on the greasy surface. After 20 minutes Marino fell behind to a fortunate goal, the ball fell to Ismael after a team mate had missed a swing at the ball and Ismael drilled his effort through a bunch of defenders to score. At the other end there was a hopeful appeal for a Marino penalty when Amaya clashed with Iker but the ref wasn’t keen. Just after a corner from Sandro was met by the head of Ayoze forcing Eladio to make a smart one handed save.

Marino got their reward a few minutes later when Pablo cut in from the right and picked out Sandro who finished with a crisp shot (below). Reyes came back, Alberto made another strong close stop and Amado cleared danger with a decisive header. Barcos had a half chance but the visiting keeper Eladio raced out of his goal to cut him off. Balduino needed more help up front but still skinned Amaya only to screw his shot wide of the target. The half ended with a crude foul on Sandro by Ramon which brought him a deserved yellow card.

All it needed now was a concerted charge by Marino in the second half, sadly the game slumped into a dour midfield slog. Poncho and Chema came off the home bench but added little to the struggle. Reyes were lucky when a poor clearance by the goalie wasn’t pounced on by the home players and Diego missed a soft chance for Reyes. Balduino was finding it increasingly hard to lead the line without much support, he powered through and put the ball across the goal mouth and his frustration was clear when the ball went begging. Alberto was having a quiet half, it was only in the final minutes that Reyes put any pressure on him, he of course responded with a safe pair of hands to ensure a point.



Books, Beaches, And Hotels In West Tenerife

Just give me an excuse for a wander and I’m off with my bono bus ticket clutched in my sweaty little palm. With a good sized tick list the west coast was calling, first stop was Playa de la Arena and a writer friend of mine Tony Thorne MBE, he always puts me to shame because at 87 years old he is turning out stories and now novels at a prolific rate. A lot of his speculative and macabre sci fi stories are set in Tenerife and hopefully some of the movie interest around his Tenerife Tall Tales and novel Points Of View will develop into full blown cinema epics, in thee meantime check his work out at his website.


I don’t just chuck these excursions together, I try to line up several research stops while I am out enjoying the wonders of Tenerife. Brewing an article about Playa de la Arena meant I could have a good old poke around at one of my swimming haunts from when I lived in Puerto Santiago. The day was hot and sunny but the sea was a bit wild as I ventured along the shore, when I first arrived here my Sunday routine often involved a short bar crawl along to the black beach, a few hours sunning and swimming, and then a longer bar crawl back.

The Hotel Playa La Arena (above) has great views over the sea front from the balcony that wraps around the conference rooms so I went inside to refresh my memory and grab some snaps. It’s quite lavish inside with a large spread of pools and a cascading waterfall near the main road. I have noticed lately that the modern trend is to call the area Playa La Arena, dropping the “de” from many notices and signs, the hotel reflected this subtle change. A friend used to run the gym and if any interesting visitors were working out there she would invite me down to do a nice story for The Western Sun newspaper.

Another former hotel was calling me at the end of my west coast rainbow, Royal Sun Resort as it’s now known had invited me back for a meal after my recent review to mark their re-opening. Heading for Los Gigantes via the Fishermens Museum ( above) in Puerto Santiago I stopped off for a coffee and changed into something a little smarter – well the clothes if not the person. It was quiet in thee village as the previous night had been the sardine funeral and last night of their Carnaval. My friend Jo met me at the church plaza and our luxury limo (ok it was just a taxi) whisked us up to the lofty perch where the Royal Sun shines down on the village.

We got a little lost on the way up to the Café Royale but it gave me a chance to tickle the water of the swimming pool on the top tier, it was lovely and warm. Just below we took a table on the outside terrace with views of the sparkling carpet of lights from Los Gigantes. The Regency Restaurant one floor down was closed but there was still just nine of us at the Café Royale, four inside and a family of three near us.

The food was lovely, my Dorada fish of the day and Jo’s Carbonari, I even managed a dessert of hot chocolate cake with nuts and ice cream. It was pretty informal but I was glad I had scrubbed up a little, strangely some lady wandered through in a white toweling dressing gown – or was it a ghost? Anyway it was a great way to round off a busy day and I felt content and relaxed as my Titsa bus ferried me back down south.