Archive for March, 2017
Chrome Fur And Scales At Arona Carnaval

Quiet moments are few and far between during Carnaval season but in Los Cristianos Sunday morning was, if you’ll pardon me singing, Easy Like A Sunday Morning. It was a time to wallow in hangovers while taking a little air at the showground to catch the classic car show, and dog show that co existed nicely in the morning sunshine.

BMWs and Mercedes Benz jostled for attention but I was looking for motors that spoke to me, a VW camper van complete with a cross dressing hippie practically yelled at me. As an Oxford boy, a mini winked cheekily at me and a MG sports car purred gently as people worshipped every last nut and bolt. By now the dogs were getting preened, dressed, and ready for their big moment, they all seemed quite happy to be squeezed into all sorts of fancy dress get ups. Apart from the odd playful bark, they were fairly subdued, not even the prescence of a giant koala bear with yellow and purple balloons phased them. Some of the owners had cleverly inserted references to the Arona Carnaval theme of Las Vegas. A dog with a roulette wheel on his back brought a new meaning to mobile betting, and his owner looked very impressive decked out with a pack of cards skirt and a sign advising people to make their bets.

The main event for Sunday afternoon was the Coso parade, here´s a few of the groups that adorned the streets for a couple of hours, most of my shots are in a big spread in this weeks Canarian Weekly. The parade was advertised to start at 4pm but in true Tenerife fashion was almost an hour late, my attention was distracted not only by some of the skimpier outfits, but also the Cadiz v CD Tenerife game that was being relayed through my earhole. I always enjoy a mooch round while the participants are getting ready for the off, it´s nice to see the attention to detail, the excitement, and a little nervous tension. All the best floats and costumes include somewhere to stash plenty of liquid encouragement, for the first time in my memory there was no blazing sun for the procession, but the liquid was pre arranged so it would have been rude not to enjoy it.

After a hectic week, Monday night brought the sardine funeral, it gets ruder each year with men dressed as wailing widows following the giant sardine, exposing their fancy undergarments below the black outfits, and waving the odd exagerated manhood. It´s always great fun as the procession makes its slow progress around the streets and down to the beach. Past events have taught me that after a flurry of early photos I ca adjourn to The Devon Arms for a couple of pints of Dorada and still beat the sardine and friends to the sealed off enclosure near the shore. This years fish was a good burner, it took just the right amount of time to scorch off the multi coloured scales and cute make up job, and the fireworks put on a show worthy of New Years Eve.

Big Deal As Arona Carnaval Hits The Streets

Loud, brash, and fun. Three terms you could apply to Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas, and Las Vegas, the American gaming capital, which just happens to be the theme of the 2017 Arona Carnaval. I had the ZZ Top version of Viva Las Vegas buzzing in my head as I dived into the preparations for the Cabalgata opening parade in the slip road outside the Veronicas strip.

Often thought of as the Los Cristianos Carnaval, the Arona Carnaval always kicks off in Playa de Las Americas on a Saturday evening. A good mix of early evening revellers and afternoon sports watchers in the local bars, were spell bound by the frantic last minute adjustments to costumes as the music and dance groups assembled on their alloted starting grid. Coaches on the main road above arrived packed with feathers, sequins, drums, and high heels as year long plans came together in a blaze of colour.

So what´s the difference between the Cabalgata and Coso closing parade? The opening parade is less outrageous as it features many of the younger groups, everything is more accessable at ground level ( the big high floats come later with the Coso) and it has more of a family feel to it. The candidates for the showpiece events like Carnaval Queen, were there in more formal wear and free of the metal support cages that help them glide across the big stage when trying to win their crowns. The hopeful six for the main crown looked magnificent in their matching red and silver outfits.

There´s always at least a nod towards the theme of the year, playing cards were a safe bet this time. Lots of old characters were lurking, religious figures in particular, the church is the main butt of the jokes at Carnaval time. Lent was always strictly imposed on the poor people at this time of year, taking meat out of an already limited diet. In recent years there has been a big influx of cartoon and super heroe influenced costumes,call me old fashioned but I like to see the fairy tale figures out in force.

Cinderella was flashing her twinkling slipper, and the Queen of Hearts was shadowed by her little white rabbit. The parade is a long walk down through the golden mile to the Oasis shopping centre, so those with heavier outfits did their best to pace themselves.The royal candidates got chauffered in open top cars while others gave the illusion of getting a lift but still had to do the foot work. As an official opening, the Cabalgata throws down the gauntlet for the entertainment to come over the following week and a bit. Many of those taking part in the first parade will also pop up again in the Coso, along with lots of cheeky works in progress that will give the organisers a few grey hairs as they wait to see how far the jokers will go.

Prepare to dance, and prepare for late nights. The showground in Los Cristianos will be the focal point for the duration. There´s a fun fair a short stagger away, with a giant sized ferris wheel, listen out for the sound of beating drums, roll those dice, and off we go.

Arona Fighters Stage A Knock Out Night

The sad sight of David Haye shambling around the ring like a drunk did little for the public image of boxing but my first taste of live action showed me me why it´s called the noble art. Los Cristianos sports hall hosted nine amateur (three rounds) and two professional fights (six rounds) filled with skill, power, determination, and a refreshing respect for the sport and oppoments.


A dedicated team of referees, scorers, time keepers, and medical staff made sure it all clicked along professionally and with safety the over riding concern. That didn´t detract from the intensity of the contests, the gloves were pounding, the muscles pumping, and the tactics subtle and well drilled. First up was Pablo Luis, he survived an early tumble to grind down Joel over the three rounds and take victory. The second match up saw Raul narrowly defeat Adrian of the home club Real Boxing. Each winner got a trophy, and the runner up got a medal, as well as plenty of appreciative applause from the crowd up in the bleecher seats.

The next contest didn´t get beyond the first round, Chiky launched straight into his opponent, Sandro and with a fierce combination of punches put him down. Sandro was clearly dazed but got plenty of time and medical attention to ensure he could collect his medal, a consoling hug from Chiky, and then leave the ring. Head protectors were worn in the next fight as both fighters were under 18, Kilian, a late substitute, saw off Diego Medina after a close contest.

One of the closest and hardest fought bouts brought together home favourite Mihail of Real Boxing, and Alberto Arley. These two really slugged it out and either would have been a worthy winner. After the scoring forms were collected, Mihail just shaded it. The big tv fights aren´t the only ones to enjoy a touch of glamour, the girls from Chocolat paraded the round number cards in the rests and looked every bit as good as their Las Vegas contemporaries.

Back to the action. Saul and Cotu gave their all before Saul got the nod to lift his trophy after a little wobble from Cotu. Everyone loves a showman, Jerday played to the crowd when he entered the ring for the next fight. He showed he was made of stern stuff, surviving a small cut above the eye to clinch the contest. Womens boxing has had to battle hard to get equal billing, every boxing event poster I´ve seen around Tenerife seems to include at least one female bout, Melissa Tudge and Patri showed that they could match the men with their skill and all action style. It was a very even bout with Patri ending up the winner.

The two big professional fights of the night featured fighters in the heavier weight brackets and the contests were very different. First on was Jacobo (Caco) Barreto from Anaza against Siliviu Costea from Romania. It was a short contest as Caco floored Siliviu in the first round with a thunderous punch. The last clash went the six round distance as Adasat (Toro) Rojas took on a late replacement, Ullrich of Cameroon. Ulrich was a bit slower than Adasat but he was tough and solid and took everything that was thrown at him. Adasat wasn´t sure what to make of him at first and had to use all his ring craft to alternate tiring body punches with head shots that he hoped could bring a knockout. At the finish they both knew they had been pushed all the way but Adasat clinched it thanks to his higher work rate and more adventurous approach. Fight nights are pretty frequent in Tenerife and always great value, this latest was 15 euros on the door and here is the gallery of photos.

Getting Down In Isla Baja With Titsa And Teno

Just add a knotted hankie and I would have looked like a stereotype Brit abroad. I didn´t care though, I was so happy to finally get to Punta de Teno on the north west corner of Tenerife that I had to feel the sea gently lapping at my pigeon legs exposed by rolled up jeans. Adveristy had dealt me a kind blow, the old cliff road had crumbled away last year and the replacement needed protecting from too much traffic. The Titsa bus company introduced a new shuttle from Buenavista del Norte and that was just the encouragement I needed for a big day of adventure.

An early Saturday morning start got me to Icod on the 460 bus from Playa de Las Americas, just after 9.30 am, I had a few alternatives in mind in case the weather kept up its frisky mood of recent days but the emerging sun was kissing the corkscrew roads beyond Santiago del Teide. With time in hand I had a wander around Icod, their Pirate Carnaval was on and a big wedge of home made chocolate and almond cake from a street stall further lifted my mood.

The next leg was a 30 minute hop to Buenavista del Norte via Garachico,I filled my 30 minute wait there with a catch up around the main church plaza and a coffee at the lovely bus station bar, La Gran Parada. There´s something about bus stations in the Isla Baja region that atracts great mural artists, this bus station also had a pleasing offering. So the deal with the new Titsa 369 shuttle is it only runs on weekends and holidays, hourly from 10 am to 5 pm as that is when the access road to Teno is closed to pretty much all other motorised traffic. The fare is one euro each way (cash only) and includes a leaflet with basic info about Teno as well as a guided commentary on the 30 minute journey, those extras come in a range of languages.

What a fabulous journey it was as the road rose to reveal the coastline far below. A manned check point before the steepest climb added a few more passengers who had parked their cars or realised they couldn´t continue walking up the road, especially as it goes through a large tunnel hewn into the cliff. The steel mesh pinned to the towering cliff above us should prevent further rock falls and is a reminder of the mischief that nature can work. Arriving at our destination the views out to Masca and on to Los Gigantes were superb and the relative lack of people due to the restrictions was a big bonus. With nesting Ospreys, giant lizards, and a wealth of rare plants, the new protective plan is very important, a Guardia Civil van underlined this point.

I was surprised to see a mini fishing port, and it was on their launch slope that I twiddled my toes. There are a few modern additions like concrete driveways that serve the Teno lighthouse, and a couple of portaloos but there´s nothing on sale anywhere so if you bring water or a snack, make sure you take your rubbish home. There are a couple of enhanced low ledges to dangle a rod from but swimming is not a good idea as the currents in the area are notorious. A gate on the driveway prevents access to the lighthouse up on the rocks beside the entrance there is a clear view. Lighthouse spotters are known as farologists and apparently getting to see one is known as bagging it.

There are plenty of paths to explore and nice viewpoints along the coast, it was a pleasure to be at this amazing area, the small number of visitors made it feel very serene and untouched. After an hour the bus returned with another sparse cargo of people so I hopped on to begin retracing my route back to Los Cristianos. Low clouds were rolling in now but I still managed a brief stop off at an eerily deserted Los SilosThere was time of course for a few beers in Icod and the bus station bar had the Mallorca v CD Tenerife game on, the 1-4 away win completed a perfect day.