Archive for July, 2012
Dressed To Impress, That’s A Santa Cruz Evening

Even with a night appointment to cover the Peroni Calendar catwalk I couldn’t resist cramming in a few favourite calls in Santa Cruz and it had saved some goodies for me. The early evening Titsa bus delivered me to the 30 degree heat of the capital with time to spare so a wander was definately called for starting with Parque Garcia Sanabria. Different times of day produce different moods, the park was bustling with families and children unleashed from the confines of the day, the central fountain was the focal point to relax on the grass, read, or just enjoy the fine cooling spray from the jets of water. The park seemed fresher and well pruned, the pond had definately benefitted with some weeding and glistened nicely in the late sun.

There’s always something going on in the park, down by the cafe and the mini train a large screen reminded me it was open air cinema season. I scanned the list and it was the usual safe family films at 9.30 each weekday night but a few days previously it had been La Dama de Hierro (The Iron Lady) fancy subjecting kids to Thatcher as their bedtime treat – even the cheap burger or hot dog wouldn’t have made up for that. Moving down into the heart of Santa Cruz I popped into CC Parque Bulevar, a nice shopping centre that never seems to have any customers – and they do try. For the last 2 months it has been home to Expo Carnaval, a look at the history of Carnaval complete with suspended models wearing the best of the costumes. On my last trip it wasn’t officially open, now they have added spotlights and a sporadic video show with smoke and music to animate the displays – worth a look.

Next stop had to be the port, that is a slightly longer route these days due to the long running road widening work on the Via Litoral, the latest stage is moving six of the huge laurel trees in Avenida de Anaga by 10 metres. A massive crane towers over the road to lift the trees – roots and all – into their new slots where they are weighted down until they bed in. This small part of the project should be finished by September giving Avenida de Anaga a new look thanks to the newly installed brighter street lights.

As for the port, I check the comings and going daily in the newspapers, the constant visit of cruise liners is having a lull but I did spot Africa Mercy, the world’s biggest hospital ship parked up. This Danish built former rail ferry is 500 foot long with 450 crew over eight decks, six operating theatres, and 126 cabins. The ships mission is to supply and treat the poorer, underdeveloped areas of Africa, I’m hoping to get on board for a closer look soon.

Final call and top of my nights bill was the Peroni calendar catwalk in Calle La Noria, my third year of covering this glamourous event. This year the initial event was more about picking a talented local designer to work on the exclusive calendar for 2013. What can I say, the lights, the costumes, the glamour, and oh those models. I’m going to have to be a bit of a tease, if you want to read and see more about how it went, follow this link to Tenerife Magazine. I’m off to slip into my own catwalk outfit of CD Tenerife shirt, shorts, and cheap as chips trainers.


Events That Pass ( Sometimes Unnoticed) In the Tenerife Night

Never let it be said that nothing happens in Tenerife, another hot Sunday evening and I found myself with two free events to squeeze in. Heading over to Playa de Las Americas I arrived in good time for the Ratha Yatra festival in Calle Siete Islas, organised by the Hindu Association of Tenerife South. Ratha Yatra is the festival of the chariots and celebrates the visit of Lord Jagannath to Gundicha Temple, in the full cerremony three of the large mobile temples are used in cart form but for this smaller version one chariot stood proud and colourful as curious holiday makers streamed by on their way to the party hot spots of Las Americas.

I have been to several other Hindu events over here like the Festival of Divine Light held on La Caleta beach and they have always been well attended but we seemed to be lacking people for the latest celebration. The Hindu association like to reach out to the wider community and pre publicity was good with posters up around the south for a couple of weeks but an hour after the advertised start there was no dancing on the stage and officials including Arona councillors shuffled around restlessly. With an 11 pm advertised finish it was going to be a bit rushed and sadly I couldn’t hang around as my next visit was beckoning.

The piano concert Sin Limite (no limits) with Rudolf Cicko and Miluse Cickova was a late and free addition to the programme at the Auditorio Infanta Leonor behind the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre and didn’t appear in the free monthly ACA (Agenda Cultural Arona)booklet. Some posters were put up around town so I hoped for a decent turnout at the 800 seat auditorium but there were barely 100 by the start. A nervous Rudlolf took to the stage and explained that the concert would be in two parts, first him solo on piano and then with a group, aah that explained the extra instruments.

Starting with some heavy classical works Rudolf moved through some lighter pieces such as Love Story, and Flight Of The Bumblebee before taking a brief bow and ushering three colleagues onto the stage. Rudolf moved to a small electric organ and two ladies grabbed the microphones from their stands, at the rear a chap who had been filming the performance from the seats slid onto the drum stool – so much for a break. Unchain My Heart, Thank You For The Music and Respect all followed as a lighter mood settled on the audience. It was a real whirlwind of a show as they rattled through the whole set in just over an hour, and an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday night. The Auditorium was opened in March 2011 and has a wide range of shows from music to theatre, many of them costing a mere 10 euros, I was wondering how they could support the basic costs of a free show but before and after the music, the cafe bar terrace outside picked up plenty of extra trade. Los Cristianos is lucky to have such a fine facillity, I’m going to make an effort to get to more shows.


Windsurfers Kiss The Sky In El Medano

It was not a day for hats, and wig wearers faced instant exposure, but it was a great day for the PWA Windsurf World Tour in El Medano. As I turned into the side street leading to Playa del Cabezo the wind and sand blew towards me in a frenzy but even that was no preparation for the open beach front, big foaming waves were rolling in and the wind was being recorded at 50 knots. Out in the sea the multi coloured masts of the windsurfers were playing hide and seek with waves and launching into the air and defying gravity – what a show.

Making my way to the start area it was clear that the organisation was even better than last year, sails and boards covered the sand in a special cordoned of padddock and on the other side people were defying nature by perching in good vantage points on the bank while photographers lined up along the top below the frantically flapping flags and banners. Down at the shore contestants wrestled with their equipment as they waded out into the sea, I don’t think I could have even stood up down there let alone soar out into the undulating blue and white battlefield.

A cabin at the front of the riders padddock housed the judges and the commentator who in Spanish and English guided the large crowd of spectators through the twists and turns on the water. Clearly it had been a lively first few days , a few plastered legs and arms were testament to the dangers of this sport even if the riders did make it look serene and effortless. At the back of the entry area there were bars and stalls selling food and surf gear and up above a large marquee was home to the presentations and part of the chill out zone for the evenings parties and live music.

Despite the wild wind it was still very hot, like being roasted by a Sir Alex Ferguson half time team talk. I found a nice spot at the shoreline just the other side of the riders enclosure, blimey I might have to fight to keep my camera from blowing away, on second thoughts I might have to dig my heels in to prevent me being blown away. Several snappers were hunkered down as best they could and many more were trying to hold protective waterproofs around their lenses as the spray whipped in.The riders were amazing, to the best of my feeble knowledge they had a short time zone to record the minimum of riding 2 waves and making a jump, many exceeded that with back flips, soaring leaps, and even a few bruising crashes.

During a food break I noticed that even in the normally calmer waters back by the fishing area there were enough rolling waves for people to practice surfing, and further along the kite surfers were reaching for the sky. The PWA is the Professional Windsurfers Association, the riders can win modest prize money as the tour moves around the world, Gran Canaria was the previous stop and Fuerteventura is the next port of call. For me it was an exhilerating day full of some great sporting treats, big respect to all the competitiors these are a talented and determined bunch of men and women.

Schools Out For The Red Hot Chili Peppers In Los Cristianos

A few tourists stopped in their tracks when they heard the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers wafting over the Los Cristianos promenade from the Plaza del Pescadora. They probably wondered who the mix of musicians were on stage but as there were no posters (more great non publicity) they were left in ignorance. The constantly rotating line up on the small stage came from the Candelaria school of modern music and this was their tribute concert to the American band.

As course work goes it can’t get much better than performing live and they certainly made sure that everyone got theirr moment in the spotlight, from young teens to the more mature teachers. Not only did the line up change after each number, several performers worked their way around the stage on vocals, drums, and guitar. But what of the music – it was a bit of an unsure start but once in their stride they relished their challenge. Tracks like Californication, Under The Bridge, and By The Way rubbed shoulders with covers like Stevie Wonders Higher Ground and a REM number thatt I vaguely recognised.

My personal musical ability barely stretches to a few basic tunes on a Rolf Harrris stylophone (ask your grandad) and a very short drum course at school because I had the hots for a young female student teacher with stunning bongos. You know your getting old when the drummers look younger and at this gig each song saw a younger and smaller drummer take up the sticks and peer over the symbols. At the other age of the scale one of the adults arrived to play saxaphone and strode onto the stage – sadly for him he tripped and smacked his knee on the makeshift wooden floor. A collective whince gripped the crowd but trying to look cool he hopped up and played his sax with all the composure he could muster, we noticed afterwards he was sat on a step with an ice pack on his leg – let’s hope none of his students found it amusing.

It was a pleasant evening, the latest of several unheralded performances in the Plaza del Pescadora, maybe they could have a regular slot of maybe every other Friday for a local band or group, then they could have a small information board showing the next event. Is that being too hopeful, well I do still believe in Father Christmas and the Loch Ness Monster.


Peeping Through Doors, Testing The Water, And A Blast From The Buzzcocks

Either my past was catching up with me and I was having a flash back to 1978 or I could hear the thrashing siren guitar opening of The Buzzcocks track Fast Cars. As I was heading down to Los Cristianos church plaza the punk answer seemed unlikely but this is Tenerife and anything can happen. The music got louder and I was just about to stick a safety pin through my nipple when the plaza unfolded in front of me with several large skateboard ramps, a band settting up on stage, an army of grunge like skater boys, and a DJ blasting out The Buzzcocks over a hastily assembled sound system.

It was a protest over the lack of local facilities for skateboard enthusiasts (Skateboarding Is Not A Crime proclaimed the banner) as the youngsters defied gravity on the ramps, the music moved on through Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, and Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself – great anthems to rebel to and a unexpected treat to finish an enjoyable afternoon. It started in Adeje with another tour, one of my latest surprise followers on Twitter is Tasca El Majao, just off Plaza de Venezuela so I thought I better check the place out. It looks small on the outside but is stylishly laid out inside with a wide ranging menu of tapas and main meals. It was early afternoon and they were empty after just opening so I just had a quiet coffee and a look around but I will return a bit later and a bit less casual to try the food.

There are always things to learn and unexpected extras on my trips, this was to be no exception. Passing the Ayuntamiento (council) building I noticed the old Franciscan Convent door was open (it’s normally locked) the handyman turned out to be a warden and gave me a quick guided tour of this ancient treasure trove. Built in 1679 it closed in 1835 but was lovingly restored by the council in 1991 and is now used as an assembly hall. Relics of old crafts line the walls including beautiful tapestries donated in 1745, the slatted wooden ceiling at one end caught my eye and a balcony high overview made the convent look even more attractive.

My trusty carrier bag was loaded with my swimming gear so a short hop down to Puerto Colon seemed in order, especially as the sun was blistering a trail through the few stray clouds. Before treating myself to a cooling swim I did a wide sweep of the marina including a wander along the harbour wall. It must be the busiest marina on the island, not just due to the range of majestic boats and yachts moored up but also the excursion trips for whale and dolphin watching, fishing, and water skiing. Playa La Pinta was busy, a good beach for families with its gently sloping sea bed and the inflaatable Iceberg area for the kids, my only dislike is the amount of beach sellers trying to push massage, fruit and even excursion bookings. The sea was lovely, just what I needed, swimming out to the mouth of the bay the views along the coast were inspiring and looking back beyond the beach to the hills of Adeje gave it a perfect setting.

Heading back to Los Cristianos was the end of my plans but a call from The General to meet up to see his etchings drew me down to the church square with the skateboards and The Buzzcocks – part of the soundtrack of my youth. Tenerife just keeeps on serving up surprises.


Armada Sur Cook Up A Tasty End Of Season Barbecue in Cho Pancho

Bears and little furry creatures ran for cover, birds of prey changed their flight paths, and Mother Nature got her pinny in a twist when they heard that the annual Armada Sur barbecue was coming to Cho Pancho. They had no need to worry, it was just our usual way to let off steam after another frustrating season following CD Tenerife.

Cho Pancho is a large hilly picnic and barbecue area high above San Miguel and the scene of a previous bash. Bob had raised funds during the season via the Golden Goal competition on the coaches and Juanma and Frank were the advance guard to fire up the barbecues and start cooking ahead of the main coach party. It seems that each year we get a heat wave just before our party and hope that any outdoor fire ban will be lifted in time – of course it was so the good people of Tenerife didn’t have to witness us draped over a local traffic roundabout.

Cho Pancho is looked after by the San Miguel council and they do a fantastic job, at the top of the hill at the end of a long access road there is a toilet and washing block – well bears might do but we don’t. Scattered around the clearings between the trees are collections of concrete cooking areas, just add your own food and charcoal and off you go. The General had sorted out food and drink so we had stacks of chops, burgers, salad, sausages (Frank’s big German sausage was very popular with the ladies) and industrial amounts of beer chilling nicely in a large bin of ice.

Our area had been decorated with a forest of CD Tenerife flags and banners and as always a stuffed Pio was supplied to cremate in the fire, weirdly the shop in Los Cristianos only had a choice of green or pink Pio, The General went for green and even though it was a tough little blighter we eventually managed to get it to burn with the help of bangers and much prodding.

A bonus at Cho Pancho is a small clearing just above the cooking areas, ideal for a quick game of cricket based loosely on the rules of England’s summer game. While the more energetic launched themselves into the action out in the blazing sun, I skulked around the edges taking a few photos and trying not to lose track of where I had lodged my beer can.

We had a good five hours before it was time to head off to the coach pick up point, we were all in good voice by then, I’m sure the families at other tables enjoyed our football based ditties. Like Wombles on speed we scurried around and cleared up all our rubbish to take up to the big bins, good planning meant we still had plenty of beer and wine to lubricate our uphill walk. Heading back down south the idea was to be back in good time for the Euro 2012 final, I think we all watched it in various degrees of blurring but it was another cracking day the new 20th anniversary season of the Armada Sur can’t come soon enough.