Archive for the 'Life' Category
Ships That Pass Tenerife In Their Might

By no stretch of the imagination  was it Antarctic weather in Santa Cruz. The 51.3 metre (168 feett) four masts of the Kruzenshtern clawed at the clear blue sky as 24 degrees of sunshine decorated the dockside with shadows of flags, rigging, and cross beams.

Built as the Padua in 1926 in Bremerhaven, the 114.4 metre (375 feet) long vessel joined the Soviet fleet after being surrendered to the USSR in 1946. Now proudly playing its part in the 200th anniversary of the first Russian exploration of Antarctica, the 66 senior crew and 120 cadets in the 17 to 21 age range were passing through Tenerife from a Kaliningrad departure and had eyes set on the next port of call Rio de Janeiro, on a Ships Of Peace tour. The cadets included six ladies, with another 10 as part of the senior crew. There was a nice mix of equipment and fixtures with original parts preserved next to more modern additions, helping the cadets to work, watch, and learn.

It was open house with the gang planks receiving an eager stream of members of the public with many varied nationalities. A small donated church and prayer area catered for the crew´s spiritual well being, and a Christmas tree on deck provided a focus for seasonal celebrations. Mutual respect filled the busy port air, six luxury cruise liners dwarfed the inter island ferries on the far side of the harbour. Names like Queen Victoria, Balmoral, and Artania brought a festive boom to Santa Cruz with 12,000 passengers swarming through the capital city.

It´s always good to see so much marine traffic using Tenerife, historically Santa Cruz has always been a popular stopping off point for the world´s shipping.  Looking around there were more recent additions to the waves such as the oil tankers and platforms, and pleasure boats also skipped across the horizon. Safe journeys to them all.

Daddy Finders Bring Families Together With Science And Sensitivity

Tracing adoptees birth parents has always been an emotional and difficult journey that requires a special dedication and compassion. Barbara Mason and Mick McNulty have those qualities and using DNA and genealogy, they have brought answers and comfort to 70 families in four years, with another 30 searches continuing in several countries. I became aware of their work after being introduced to Mick on one of his regular visits to Tenerife.

Everyone is familiar with family trees but mention Deoxyribonucleicacid, even by its more user friendly name of DNA, and you might start thinking of huge labs and banks of computers. Mick from Edinburgh is much more down to earth. “I was interested in genealogy, after being asked to trace someone’s father I learnt how useful DNA could be. It’s a bit like basic electronics and binary arithmetic and once you get into it, it’s like learning to read music. Barbara asked me to trace her dad, and we also found the father of a third cousin who was seeking her dad, and that started us off. When I went to the Mitchell Library on that first case, I used to joke I was off on a Daddy Hunt, so that led to the name of our group.”

The non profit making Daddy Finders operate through a Facebook page so they can offer self help, a forum for members, and private groups and messaging. “We have over 300 members and they can talk openly about their feelings and expectations. Barbara runs the organisational side of things and is exceptionally good at dealing with enquiries as she knows when they first make contact they may have had to pluck up courage, and she puts her own experience to good use. We don’t charge for our work as we think it is wrong to put a financial barrier on someone trying to find their parent or child. Everything costs money, so we welcome donations to pay for overheads.”

On to the method. “They need to buy a DNA testing kit online, about 80 pounds including post, there are several versions out there but we prefer Ancestry DNA for our methods, often we are working on 30 cases at a time so having the same system helps, and about half of the people on Ancestry DNA have added their DNA to their family tree. Invite us to the home testing and we can start by building a clients family tree and then attaching DNA values to it from the kit chart. Its a process of elimination, once we match values to people on the tree. We have solved cases with no known parent but it is much harder.” The time scale varies from case to case. “I started one case on a Tuesday and found the father on a Thursday, but I´ve been chasing one case for two years. Our cases have touched all corners of the globe such as America, Canada, Greece, Jamaica, Australia, and Spain.”

Most people would have symbols, numbers, and dates constantly spinning in their heads but Mick has a knack of treating it like a puzzle to be methodically solved, and Barbara makes sure that they always smooth the path for the anxious searchers, before, during, and after the trail has been illuminated. You can start your journey here.

Sun Sea Sand And Santa At The Tenerife Swallows Christmas Party

You could hardly move for lords A leaping, French hens, or calling birds. Maybe it wasn’t as clear and sunny as the previous sweltering days but Los Cristianos beach still pulled on the crowds for the annual Tenerife swallows Christmas day party.

It was a bit blowy and the sand was stirring but it was nothing compared to the lively antics of the swallows *the affectionate name for the mainly mature visitors who head to the sun every winter. Not that age was a barrier or qualification, everyone was invited provided they had a hearty singing voice, nibbles and drinks were also on parade in abundance, much to the amusement of the locals.

Strange hats dotted the skyline, as young and old embraced the big day, even a few pets were wrapped up in festive coatings. It was raining back in the UK but it was pouring on the beach – cava, wine, and beer. You couldn´t fault the main players for organisation, carol lyrics were handed around, signs were dished out to head up the groups depicting the 12 days of Christmas in a frenzied dance.

 

Many of the hats and other garments had been brought over in visitors cases, what on earth would the airport security scanners make of the odd sights coming through their terminals. Anyway back at the beach it was all bubbling along nicely, strangers were becoming firm friends and appetites were being built up for the plates full of dinner to come. Ho ho ho was never felt so deeply as the chuckles rang out across the beach. Tenerife knows how to stage a good celebration, local fiestas are always dazzling and the big Spanish celebration of Reyes (the arrival of The Three Kings) was yet to come.

The swallows certainly made their mark, it was a  fabulous morning and the perfect cure for the hangovers from the previous night. Roll on New Year, there´s plenty of party spirit left to go around.

 

Pink Strides Of Walk For Life Tenerife Are Bigger Than Ever

Great friends, great vibes, great costumes, and above all a truly great cause. Walk For Life lit up the south of Tenerife again, for the 15th year, and the 2019 vintage was as bubbly and joyful as ever. Hope is always the driving force, education, research, and early treatment are the tools but it is the people who embrace the Walk For Life and all its hard work throughout the year that have made it one of the biggest spectacles on the island.

 

As I caught the bus in from Los Cristianos to Siam Mall, I could see pink groups gathering for coffee, breakfast, and last minute costume adjustments before they headed to the Adeje start point. The main stage was bouncing, faces were being painted, t shirts, wings, and hats were being fine tuned. Everyone wants to get involved, the Adeje bomberos (fire fighters) and a local ambulance crew stood by bedecked in pink ribbons. Children and pets swelled the family numbers, and water, bananas, and cookies were stocked up ready for the 3.5 km route ahead.

Mayor Fraga of Adeje and Mayor Mena of Arona were joined this year at the head of the procession by the President of the Tenerife Cabildo (government) Pedro Martin. The drum band rapped out their rallying call and the pink ribbon started to thread its way out of the car park and flooded over the motorway bridge and towards the coastal promenade. There are always a few tears, many walk in memory of family and friends they have lost, but there is a defiant intent to ensure prevention and better treatments can spare other from the same suffering.

Founder, visionary, and driving force Brigitte Gypen always has a glowing smile of pleasure and pride. Backed by a dedicated team of helpers and so much goodwill, she has seen real progress in attitudes and support for the cause. The looks on the faces of unsuspecting tourists are always rewarding, they peel themselves of their beach sunbeds and appear on balconies and roof tops trying to take in the sheer scale and spread of the pink procession. Each year the route is tweaked a little for variety, this time the end point was the Golden Mile just over the border into Arona and near Los Cristianos.

Entertainment is always a key part to the celebration as walkers reach the end of their journey, a large stage made a focal point and Los Banditos were ready with some nostalgic rock and roll to kick people up an dancing. The walk has moved with the times, no more stacks of balloons to float away and damage the environment, ticka tape was cannoned into the air above the finish zone and would be much easier to tidy away afterwards. As collection money was paid in the amazing total of 36,600 euros emerged, some of it made up from fund raising that goes on in the preceding year. Walk For Life is the chosen charity of my CD Tenerife family, Armada Sur, and I was immensely proud of the 1,364 euros they contributed.

My admiration for all those who make Walk For Life such a success, grows every year. Already plans are being drawn up for next year, and the foundation works all through the year to offer support and advice to those who need it. The website gives practical advice and links in several languages.

My First…

Pocket Calculator
After grappling with the bizarre and cumbersome slide rule, the pocket calculator was a joy to behold. The originals had big clunky keypads, and even the most basic models had functions that might as well have been a Martian code. Those who had them, would always ask those who hadn´t, to give them some figures to add or subtract before quickly stunning them with the correct answer. The obvious flaw in this operation was, the person without the calculator couldn´t check the accuracy, they just had to applaud the amazing speed and clear bold figures that appeared in the display screen
Meant as a helpful tool for school pupils, shoppers, and aspiring mad scientists, it soon found other uses. There were a few books produced to show how to play maths games which sometimes involved a pack of cards. Of course the neat trick to win friends and influence people was entering numbers and showing the calculator upside down as it miraculously displayed words like “hello” “shell oil” or the outrageous “boobs”.

Walkman
What kind of witchcraft was this box? Just flip the front compartment open and slide your cassette within the guiding raised lines, snap it shut, and press the play button to instantly depress all within a 300 mile radius with an annoying tinny rattling as you sang an out of tune version of a pop song.
They had notoriously difficult volume adjustment slides with no half way between silent and ear wax blasting ferocity. Battery life got consumed at an alarming rate, especially if you used fast forward or rewind. Never mind you could be well prepared if you had a bag the size of Santa´s sack to take extra batteries, and a choice of other cassettes. Oh don´t forget that cassette cases didn´t click closed, they slipped open very easily, providing you with hours of amusement fishing around for the correct case for each free roaming cassette.
At least they looked cool,well sort of. The earphone halo would never push together with ease, they either slipped down your face or squeezed your brain into submission. When someone motioned to you to remove the headphones, they soon got all tangled, another chore to delay you inside your front door before you could stride down the street.

Compilation LP
Maybe the mildly erotic young lady on the LP cover could tempt you to buy the Top Of The Pops compilation. The downside was the cover versions of recent hits that sounded like the performances in the musical romp at the end of Crackerjack.
20 Fantastic Hits heralded a new age. What a great band “Original Artists” were, they sounded just like the real singers. Someone always jumps on the band wagon, soon 20 Dynamic Hits muscled in, and even Ronco joined the compilation club. We were further amazed that this company could also solve domestic problems with gadgets like a combined onion chopper and belly button fluff remover. I always had an image of the 20 bands and singers on each LP meeting up in a car park to share out the proceeds from giant bags of loose change. The advent of these collections tolled the bell on many budding music producers who had spent Sunday afternoons illegally recording the Top 40 radio run down whilst shouting shush at anyone in a 5 mile radius.

Bicycle
Cow horns, monkey hangers, or short, sharp, trendy steering controls, how I longed for them. My elderly aunt bought me my first bike and it was sensible, safe, and a dull bottle green colour. As my mates stood up and swagger peddled to get up the steep hill to school, I was rooted to my wide saddle, red in the face as I tried to force the pedals to move with a gear choice of stiff or steadfast refusal.
I didn´t know what a wheel looked like, the long mud guards covered the black, chunky tyres. Sometimes roque tufts of grass would jam in the metal and David Attenborough yearned to investigate the insect life forms wedged between the grip of my sturdy forks. Not for me the cheeky shrill ping of a bicycle bell, I had a horn with a deep baritone that sounded like a demented seal. Schoolboy swag like football cards and marbles didn´t frequent my saddlebag, the tyre repair kit took pride of place, complete with a small spanner and an instruction leaflet.
Despite all this, I loved my bike, after a couple of years it gained its own grudging admiration as a retro model. It didn´t get coveted by thieves like my friends steeds, and it wasn´t squeamish about powering through a small stream, or over chunky stones.

Mobile Phone
I gave her my heart, she gave me my first mobile. The size of a half pound slab of Cadburys finest, it wouldn´t fit any of my pockets, and cost a fortune to run. Popping in the pub on the way home, I always stood at the far end of the bar where there was no signal, to save an ear bashing. It was a bad omen about the relationship.
Jumping forward several years and a couple of oceans, I bought a chunky but smaller mobile that had a habit of working when it felt like it, at least it kept me linked to Blighty. Problems started when it wouldn´t charge when resting in its cradle. The salesman kept insisting I must have got it wet, my assurance that it always wore its cover and lived in my pocket made him tighten his get out clause. Any moisture would upset it he insisted as we sat in the shop just across from a large beach with sea spray filling the air.
I have never recovered from those setbacks, phones tolerate me at best. Funny, Captain Kirk and his mates never had signal problems with that powder compact they spoke into, and they never got constant PPI pitches or viagra offers. Beam me up Busby!

Camera
Take a bow the Kodak 110 Pocket Instamatic. What a piece of kit that was, it made me feel like Russian spy Ilyia Kuriakin, well he was the blonde one in UNCLE. Very angular, with no obvious lens, you could almost play it as a mouth organ. The dinky clip in double spool film cartridge had to be liberated from a box and a tight fitting sachet. In later years condom packets made me think of loading that first camera – except this time I was hoping that nothing would develop.
The four flash cube was a very odd thing, it ruined the whole look of the camera and almost exploded when it went off. The standard film had 12 shots, so three of the cubes in my pocket ruined the smooth look of my brushed denim Oxford bags. Future cameras paled in comparison, those awful flat disc cameras had no style and didn´t even have the nice plastic storage box of my instamatic friend.

15 Years Of Hope And Help From Walk For Life

Once an idea but now a flourishing support network and one of the biggest events in the Tenerife calendar. The Walk For Life, Carrera Por La Vida, was founded, by their President Brigitte Gypen who has been the driving force as it has grown to be a pink beacon in the fight against breast cancer.


Something special was called for to mark the 15th year so nearly two months ahead of the Sunday 15 December walk, a large crowd gathered at the CC El Mirador on the seafront in Costa Adeje. I knew it was going to be a grand night as a lady dressed as a huge illuminated peacock directed us up onto the terrace. Over the years the multi national nature of the charity has grown, and that was reflected in the guests. Cancer has no respect for nationality, language, or culture, that’s why the walk always attracts such a mixture of supporters. In 2018, there were 5,000 walkers on the route through Arona and Adeje, raising 35,500 euros for help and to raise awareness, particularly of the importance of early diagnosis.

There was plenty of pride and emotion as Brigitte thanked all who had contributed to the last 15 years. It was a time to reflect on milestones like the opening of the Pink Room (Sala Rosa) in Las Nieves, Adeje, a place where people can come for advice and support. The Swim For Life has become a regular curtain raiser for the walk, and new initiatives like Art For Life, help to push the cause forward. A cascade of photos and videos from across the years played out on two large screens, and Chago Melian captured the mood with his haunting but uplifting singing. From a personal point of view, the Armada Sur (CD Tenerife fan group) are always looking for ways to support the cause, the pink t shirts have always been popular with our members, this year the our football calendar will lead our contribution.

There was a very upbeat mood, Walk For Life is a celebration of life, a cherishing of memories of those who have died, and a determination to keep on reducing the shadow that breast cancer throws across so many families. The wine and beer flowed, the paellas went down a treat, and the pink cakes were delicious. It´s going to be another cracker of a walk, everyone is very welcome,wear a little pink if possible or go all the way with one of the amazing outfits that always catch the eye. Here´s to the next 15 years.

Ex Pats Briefed For Brexit, Deal Or No Deal

Alarmist headlines, resignations, and rumours had further stirred the Brexit pot since the last Tenerife presentation from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 11 months ago. On Thursday 12th September 2019, around 130 people packed into the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre to her the latest news and advice from Tim Hemmings, Deputy Head of Mission to Spain.

An opening 15 minute update, included a reinstatement of the “unwavering” intent of Spain and the UK to uphold the citizens rights of both countries, and further assurances in the most recent Spanish Royal Decree. Tim Hemmings underlined the fact that both countries had made plans in the cases of a Deal or No Deal departure, and these would preserve the rights of those legally registered in Spain on the Padron as residents. A show of hands revealed that pretty much the whole audience was legally registered, some fairly recently.
No Deal would still leave a 21 month grace period for people to register and become fully legal, for documents such as driving licences to be changed to non EU status. We were also told that the newer certificate form of residencia would most likely revert to the popular card format with a holders photo. Health cover was another key issue with the aim still being that British and Spanish would continue to be treated if living in the other country, but confirmation is still awaited.
Passports would not undergo any instant changes, but it was stressed that checking the expiry date is a good idea to see yours has between 9 years and 6 months coverage. Deputy Hemmings also insisted there would be no need to cover, alter, or remove the EU heading on a current passport. The format of further replacement passports is still to be confirmed.

UK driving licnces would still need to be changed to Spanish licences but could be changed back in the holder then returned to the UK. The recent announcement that UK state pensions for those resident in Spain would be increased up to 2023, was just a short term admin guide, further increases beyond that date would still be approved for a few years at a time. That dealt with the main big areas of concern so at that point questions were invited from the floor, with British Vice Consulate Helen Diaz de Arcaya Keating, Charmaine Arbouin (British Consul for Andalucia and the Canary Islands) , and the Consul´s Brexit Officer Deepika Harjani adding their points of experience and advice to the answers. It’s worth stressing at this point that many answers and links to online forms needed are on the social media sites that the British Consulate host. I’ve included as many direct links as possible but you can find many others, and more detailed information at the websites.
A recent caller at the Playa de Las Americas police station to sort out residencia was told there are no appointments available for now. The team pointed out that there should be under the 21 months grace period, but there is an online appointment booking service. If this still doesn’t work it’s worth contacting the British Consulate to ensure these channels are working in all municipalities.
Swallows (mainly pension age winter visitors) time limits to stay in Spain were queried. The answer was they can stay for 90 days in each 180 day period and it will remain that way under a No Deal withdrawal.
Also the continuation of the S9 health form for free treatment in Spain was queried. No change on this.
Onward free movement within the EU once a Spanish resident is back in the UK. Another area that has yet to be agreed for when we become “third country nationals” after Brexit.
There seemed to be less queries than at previous consulate road shows, it was pointed out the the Swallows don’t tend to start arriving for another month or so. But hopefully the hour length of the meeting was a sign that the many avenues of information publicised by the British Consulate team are working well. They answered several one on one queries after the main meeting broke up, a big thanks to Tim Hemmings and the British Consulate team.

Here are some useful links for more information. The British Consulate site for Tenerife. includes special Brexit area. You can also stay in touch with updates from the British Consolate at Facebook  Check Passport ,Healthcare .

 

Arona En Colores Puts Las Galletas Streets Ahead

They really cast their nets wide in Las Galletas. The fishing village on the other side of Guaza mountain from Los Cristianos played host to tradition and technology, spectacle and sport, and music and monsters as they welcomed the annual Arona En Colores fiesta to the south of Tenerife.

Stages were popping up where the narrow street corners met, and by the large, modern, urban park, and all ages were catered for. Break dancing was the focal point of La Rambla, just behind the pebble beach promenade, just one part of youth expression that also included judo, art, and electronic sports in other streets. Tradition was looked after with a photo exhibition of the fishing history of the area, 21 bronze plaques embedded in the floor of Paseo de los Pescadores ensure the leading families of the trade are forever honoured.

For a rather uncomfortable view of the world there was a 180 degree tumble in a car, great to encourage traffic safety awareness and in car safety features, but best not tried after generous portions of tapas and beer. Live theatre stirred the emotions in a different way as The Lion King roared onto the biggest stage in town. Young children, and young at heart parents, were entranced by the familiar songs, but the nippers could have done with a slightly lower stage surround to see the action without a lift up from the adults. There was more musical influenced muscle stretching in the sports hall for a roller dancing competition. My last venture into the Pabellon Deportes was for a roller hockey match, this was more serene and attracted full tiered seating down the whole of one side of the hall.

Back in the criss cross hub of the pedestrian shopping area, my eye was caught by Lilies Garden Tearoom. There was an Alice In Wonderland theme going on, the famous book was written by an Oxford academic, and it took my mind back to my childhood. There was no need to gaze Through The Looking Glass to get the full effect of the scaley monster towering over me around the next corner. As the street wide inflatable bar football pitch, and bouncy castles pressed against the walls of another side turn, bigger boys were admiring rows of powerful motor bikes from classic names like Porsche, BMW, Harley, and many more.


Even seated outside the Marazul for a meal, there was plenty to watch. A magician, and a strong man couldn’t erase the smiles from their female partners, even when perpetrating dastardly deeds on them. And size really didn’t matter for a stunning performance. A petite young lady placed a pink rose at the edge of a coffee table sized stage she was stood on and then doubled up backwards to pick up the flower in her mouth. Puppets, and wheels of fortune were also enticing people to stop and interact with street performers.

As darkness crept in, music wafted through the air from all corners. The crowds were getting bigger as the night time crowd poured in to swell the walkways and the tills. No Tenerife fiesta would be complete without a carnaval troup of dancers, the white clad ladies obliged, sweeping through all the streets with an eager following of disciples. It was another big winner, and a great sampler for those who had not made the short trip to this vibrant and diverse area.

Parades Swishy And Fishy As Arona Closes The Book On Jungle

Wriggling into tight costumes as AC/DC gave the passing seagulls a full rock blast. It wasn´t a Highway To Hell, just the back road between the beach and Guaza Mountain, and it was filling up with feathers and sequins as the floats loaded up for the Coso Parade up into the centre of Los Cristianos. The 2019 Arona Carnaval was into the final stages but was going out in Tenerife style.

Pride of place went to the candidates and winners in the Queen categories, their huge designs stood like colourful monuments on flat back trucks, awaiting the insertion of their wearers in the centre. Rebeca Gonzalez Cabrera milked the adoration in her pink and silver explosion that scooped the main Carnaval Queen award. Candelaria Perez Dominguez glowed in a cool white dress surrounded by roses, she was number one in the Third Age category.

The starting grid might have looked colourful but chaotic, the stewards had it all sorted and ticked down their clipboards, slowly adding everyone to the mix. It is always a hot, sunny afternoon for the Coso, planning is essential, a good ice box for beer and wine helped the mood along, and an extra lick of make up ensured plenty of happy photos. In keeping with tradition, the parade started an hour later than advertised and snaked its way along the route in bright sunshine.

Official figures said 15,000 people lined the course but it looked less than other years, the tell tale sign was areas of bare rope on each side of the street. Normally it’s almost impossible to squeeze between people all the way along. The revellers, floats, and groups were certainly as plentiful as ever, and the operation was slick, loud, and proud. Even the clean up behind the rear of the parade had a new zest, Arona’s new fleet of Italian, electric, road sweeping buggies ploughed through the rubbish generated by the event.

Alas the final act arrived with the sardine funeral, and what a cutie it looked, but this fish had a sting in the tail. The mourners gathered in their black, widows veils and the procession set off round the streets with much weeping and wailing from the mourners. As tradition demands, I adjourned to The Devon Arms for a couple of Dorada’s as the sardine made its slow progress, emerging just in time to see the fish loom into view at the old beach. As people poured down onto the sand for the cremation, the heavens opened and the rain poured down – the sardines revenge? Slightly soggy, the fish still burst into flames as fireworks ripped through the sky. The monsoon continued, I managed to wade up through town and sought refuge in The Buccaneer as I raised a few glasses to another fabulous Arona Carnaval.

Putting On Their Saturday Best For Arona Carnaval

No school, no college, and no work, Saturday is a great time to throw off any inhibitions you have, and the two daytime Carnaval specials in Los Cristianos were a real family treat. The first week it was the Wig Party, and the second was a music and dance bonanza, both kicking off at noon.

The devotion, humour, and wow factor were evident throughout. The Arona Carnaval theme was Jungle but it was mixed with lots of old favourites, and recycling. There was an element of competition at both the Wig Party and the fancy dress competition at the Plaza del Pescadora, near the beach, on the second week. Prize money was given but in my eyes everyone was a winner, some deserved a prize for being able to dance whilst wearing high heels, heavy cloaks and jackets, and make up that must have made the world look like a blur.

Security gets a bit higher each year as organisers try to stem the flow of over enthusiastic young drinkers, but they try to be discreet and not squash the fun out of the revellers. Another welcome addition this year was a small violet coloured kiosk that ladies could head for if they felt vulnerable.Hopefully they didn’t have many takers, the mood of the Carnaval party is always friendly, and the crowd is a mix of locals, ex pats, and holiday makers. It’s quite an eye opener for newcomers, especially some of the cheekier outfits.

The main stage in the show ground was booming out dance music into the wee hours, and two smaller stages near the cultural centre featured DJ’s and more specialist grooves. A large fun fair offered thrills just across the road, and a large variety of food and drink stalls catered for every need. Walking along the beach promenade late on the Saturday evening, the celebrations were overflowing to surrounding bars and the sand. Parking is always challenging but at least the old spare land behind the Valdes Centre was back in free use this year.

The weather teased this year with sudden localised downpours nearby but the heart of the Carnaval led a charmed life and was bathed in sunshine. One of my highlights was seeing two large orange dinosaurs waddling in time to the music – and that was before I had started on the Dorada!