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.