Archive for March, 2016
Pascua Florida Brings Flowers And The Glory To Easter In Guia De Isora

As the instrument of Jesus’s death, what beauty can there possibly be in the cross? The answer in Tenerife is a whole world of beauty, as The Passion was being played out down in Adeje, I joined a stream of fascinated visitors on a stroll through the back streets of Guia de Isora on the west coast to see the 17 Pascua Florida flower sculptures.

Now in it’s eighth year it’s an eagerly anticipated visual treat as creative artists from all over Spain pool their talents to depict the unfolding of the Easter story. It was a dull, cloudy, and slightly chilly Good Friday as I arrived in Guia de Isora but as I turned off the main road towards the church I could see plenty of people milling around the three crosses of Cavalry by Carlos Curbelo, a local artist and one of the driving forces behind the exhibition. To the right of Jesus’s cross was that of the good thief, and to the left, that of the bad thief, quite a gentle introduction but once near the church plaza the full scale of the work started to be revealed.

Thursday was a preparation day as the works were installed, each with multi language posters of work and artist name, and a little background, plus a map of all the numbered works in their various streets. Voices floated through the air as people discussed the creations whilst enjoying the bars and cafes around the church. It wasn’t long since the Good Friday service had ended and I took advantage of the open doors to the Church of Our Lady of the Light, it was magnificent inside. The outside tower was shrouded in scaffolding for essential repairs but the collection boxes inside were not for that cause, they were for Caritas, the catholic charity that helps the poor and unfortunate with food and clothing needs.

Back outside I was faced with the circular Creator Of The Universe, as with the majority of works it was another Carlos Curbelo offering. Taking a right turn I picked up the trail, The Spear by Jordi Abello stopped most people in their tracks in time to admire the thorn lined windows of local houses. Angela Batista contributed St Mary’s Pain, an outpouring “waterfall of tears from a broken heart”. The tight back streets included plenty of occupied homes, they must have found it quite a squeeze to get by without disturbing the works. The Trial by Teresa Henriquez Arbelo took over a narrow alley with three question marks representing the three judges that presided over Jesus. Not everyone showed total reverence to the art works, a cheeky little pet dog from the bottom of the alley trotted up and down the steps loving the extra attention. Pilato drew me in for a close up look to check that the water pouring from the jug was indeed made of a very realistic flow of flowers

Just around another corner The Falls featured an overturned cross (top photo) with flowers sprouting along it. Pascua Florida gives a great excuse, as if you needed one, to explore the sedate but delightful town of Guia de Isora, small gaps in the streets give clear views down to the coast of Playa San Juan and outer stretches of Costa Adeje. Back on the trail The Last Supper from Jordi Abello led on to Judas by Cristina de Leon, the noose representing the suicide of Judas after his betrayal.

Feast Of The Cross from Zona Verde towered in front of another house as the route wound back into a more commercial area and pointed me back towards the church square. Agnus Dei provided a striking finish with its huge spider like hands. It was an amazing and satisfying tour, something unique in Spain, it seems cruel that the hard work will be removed after Easter Sunday but it will return bolder than ever next year.



Everything But The Goals In CD Tenerife Draw

Even with an early morning start CD Tenerife could have played until midnight and not scored, it just wasn’t happening in front of goal. Choco Lozano was missed, he’s at very least an impact player for part of a game, and with eight goals he would have been another possible key to unlock a stubborn Real Zaragoza defence in a 0-0 home draw.

CD Tenerife’s back four is the rock that the current seam of good form is built on, German had another stand out game but Javi Lara again outshine all around him, he picks his passes to perfection and is always a danger with free kicks and corners. Angel was back in town and the 10,895 crowd made sure he felt the love, a hail of boos when his name was announced had hardly died down before he took a hopeful dive that further endeared him to the Santa Cruz faithful.

Dani Hernandez denied Angel when he hit a low shot from a team mates head down and Javi Ros cleared the home bar with a shot but that was the best that Zaragoza could offer in the opening exchanges. Tenerife continued to create opening, Omar fired past the post, Javi saw his effort rebound out off the woodwork, and Suso ended the half with another rising shot.

Moutinho was missing with a late injury but that let Omar back into the side, he was frustrated by the Zaragoza keeper after the restart following a soft Nano finish after good work from Suso.There was certainly no shortage of industry and intent from the home side but they just lacked that little extra spark to break the deadlock. The defence pushed up and tried their luck, German rose well to get his head to a corner ball, and Carlos Ruiz dived in among the flying boots but both saw their shots miss the target.

Coach Pep Marti tried to freshen things up, Cristo Gonzalez took over from Nano and got into some promising positions, and Jairo got a run out in place of Suso as the game ticked away. Zaragoza will have been reasonably happy with their away point, for Tenerife it was frustrating but a point keeps the promotion play offs within touching distance.

There are plenty of good things coming from this squad, promotion may be a distant dream but the hard work and improvements of this season should pay dividends next campaign. Upbeat is the mood at the Heliodoro, a little shooting practice may be lined up for the players but as the Armada Sur headed back to the south there was an afternoon of Dorada practice to look forward to.



Motors Mutts And Mourning As Los Cristianos Carnaval Bids Farewell

The mormons who tried to convert me on my way to the sardine funeral wouldn’t have seen the irony of their timing but it made me chuckle. The closing act of the 2016 Los Cristianos Carnaval is a time to mock the hypocrisy of religion and the mourners were dressed in a mix of black widows weeds and some very saucy under garments.

The previous morning had shown that Sunday is no day of rest for the carnaval organizers, the showground was spilling over with classic cars from all over Tenerife and dogs were being poured into their Sunday best for a pet competition. The odd dog bark struggled to be heard as the motors purred and the bodywork sang a nostalgic tune. The car show was bigger than ever with wheels occupying tarmac outside the cultural centre as well as in the main arena.

I’m no petrol head but proud names demanded my attention, Riley, Mini, Cadillac, Bedford, and even a little red Corvette caught my eye, there was even a small pang of home sickness at seeing a Morris truck, well I am a Cowley boy. I was waiting for an enterprising salesman to jump on a soap box and try a cheeky auction, I was also hoping for a few seductive young ladies to drape themselves over a bonnet or two – dream on. At the sidelines owners were brushing their dogs, dressing them, and posing them for passing cameras.

Fast forward to Monday night and the giant sardine was putting on a brave and cheeky face but it knew it had to perish in the flames to satisfy time honoured ritual. The history comes from lent when the catholic church told the poor people to fast while the clergy and their rich friends wined and dined in fine style. Sardines dredged from the sea were many peoples only illicit supplement to their enforced diet so it became a sign of rebellion and discontent. The sardine funeral always ridicules the church leaders, there was a shortage of popes and cardinals this year and the mourners were less wild than usual – heaven forbid we lose the subversive undercurrent.

The sardine drew a large crowd to the cultural centre and the Cuban influenced music encouraged feet to dance as final preparations were made for the long journey through the back streets and down to the beach. There are always a few holiday makers taken by surprise at the bizarre spectacle of the giant fish being trundled along with a large following of cheering, drinking, and singing enthusiasts. Avenida Suecia squeezed the parade slowly along, a few mourners wrung out their emotions but they weren’t throwing themselves to the floor like Premier League footballers so much this year.

It’s quite a logistical challenge threading the sardine through the car park at the bottom of the port road, imagine having to make an insurance claim for scratches to your car – hit by a giant fish! Eventually the crowds parted and the sardine was ushered into its enclosure on the beach, fireworks were inserted into its body and a flame started the crackling and popping as it dissolved into a ball of fire as fireworks tore through the sky. It was a fitting farewell for a big, brash, and visually stunning carnaval.



Coso Parade Sews A Seam Of Jollity And Colour Through The Heart Of Los Cristianos

Noses were pressed against the ropes dividing the Coso parade route from the pavements and bars for hours before the off. It’s the big showpiece spectacle that everyone flocks to on the final Sunday afternoon of carnaval celebrations and it always excels beyond expectations.

The back road below Guaza Mountain was throbbing with activity as all the groups and vehicles assembled. The infant and senior Carnaval Queen had been elected and the dance groups had strutted their stuff in the week so an end of term exuberance replaced the competitive edge. Vianney Casiana Garcia Chinea burnt brightly in her orange and black winning fantasy, and Nayara Plasencia Gonzalez was magnificent in her pink and gray Infant Queen winning design. All the runners up also got to shine, they may have been high up on lorries but they were all floating on the adulation of the 25,000 crowd.

Some of the parade entrants had already revealed the glories of their outfits during the weeks events but many had saved their big wow outfits for the Coso, others were making their first appearance, and plenty of the crowd that packed the route joined in with their own home made fancy dress contributions. Hotel and apartment roofs and balconies were well subscribed, bars and restaurants along the road side were run off their feet, and mums and dads dutifully lifted their offspring to new heights.

It’s a thirsty old business having fun on this scale, volunteer organizers made sure bottled water was plentiful but for those wanting something a bit more uplifting the floats and multi layered costumes became instant drinks cabinets. There’s always a lot of interaction along the route, everyone wants their photo taken with the joyous characters and they were always ready to oblige. The pulling power of Tenerife is never clearer than at these big set piece festivals, the mix of languages and home countries was as diverse as those taking part. Schools, youth, and dance groups are the driving force for much of the Carnaval celebrations, some of the youngest entrants had a bit of stage shyness but there’s always a helping hand and a few encouraging word.

Working its way up from Paloma Beach to the city centre and showground was the usual stop start affair, well who wants to hurry on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The brow of the hill is one of the popular vantage points, from there I could see the procession stretching back like a huge multi coloured serpent. Full marks to the drummers for keeping up the driving rhythm, and I’m sure there will be a few sore feet and legs after all that dancing. That wont stop the showground from rocking into the wee hours of the morning!


Los Cristianos Is Dressed To Thrill For Day Carnaval

A sizzling hot dog was thrust into one hand and a cold beer into the other and I was still just outside the showground in Los Cristianos, Tenerife, for the daytime carnaval celebrations. The parking area next to the Valdes Centre had been hosting the late night shows all week but now there was a youthful feel with a noon start and top acts from Spain’s top 40 pumping out infectious dance tunes.

Local supermarket shelves had been depleted as a multi coloured fancy dress army swept through like thirsty locusts and small groups gathered around clinking bags on the upper walkways of the commercial hub. The BBQ greeting was a tasty welcome and I even managed to eat and drink while clicking away at the sea of wonderful costumes that awaited me.

The previous weeks cabalgata opening parade was a bit more regimented, this afternoon revealed the hard work that had been going on in many homes to deck out entire families in original and amusing outfits. The bank of speakers ensured the music was heard and felt and the bars and food stalls inside the showground were also doing a roaring trade as inhibitions were loosened. Traffic was diverted from a couple of the main roads into the city centre and the crowd ebbed and flowed down towards the seafront as police and the fire brigade kept a discreet and watchful eye on the fun.

There was another focus for the party, Plaza del Pescadora near the old beach had it’s own smaller stage and was featuring zumba and dance. I felt quite exhausted just watching the energetic exertions of the dance groups but plenty of holiday makes were drawn in to shake a leg. A fancy dress competition was lined up for late in the afternoon and each new batch that arrived brought more admiring glances, the Ghostbusters, and The Bee Gees complete with a mass of chew sets, were among my favourites. They were all winners in my book and more music and dance followed their spell in the spotlight.

I headed back up through the showground and the crowd still had plenty of energy. The big stage featured late night into early morning music and dance each night of carnaval and the fun fair next door was enticing screams of enjoyment as super heroes and cartoon characters crammed into gravity defying seats. The day carnaval is a fairly recent addition for Arona but it has proved to be a roaring success, and there’s still plenty more to be squeezed out.



Raul Red Leaves CD Tenerife Deflated

Another game that got away will be blamed on the dismissal of Raul Camara after 57 minutes for a wild kick at the Almeria keeper but CD Tenerife were lacking in front of goal before and after the incident. A 0-0 home draw was a let down for the 9,398 crowd hoping to see a third straight win.

It was easy to see why Almeria are flirting with relegation rather than trying to regain their Primera status, they were poor and gave Tenerife goalie Dani Hernandez a quiet afternoon. Pre match debate was over who would stand in for suspended Jorge in the centre of defence, German got the nod and had an assured game. Choco had the first decent shout of the match after 11 minutes, Casto snuffed him out by taking the ball at his feet. At the other end German mopped up nicely from Quique but an early booking for Choco ensured his absence from next weeks visit to table topping Leganes.

Suso is back in favour these days and he unlocked the Almeria defence to slip a ball across to incoming Raul Camara but they were on different timetables. Could Nano keep up his hot scoring streak? The young forwards fifth goal in three games was tantalizingly close as his shot whizzed by the post just before the half hour mark. Choco joined in with his own near miss, this one from a header. Almeria could offer little in reply, a long shot from Jose Angel was well wide of the target but at the break there was already a feeling that Tenerife should have been ahead.

Nano is more than a goal scorer, he does a lot of creative work, just into the second half he made a great opening but the support wasn’t there for his cross. Raul Camara is a little tiger and when he clashed with Lolo Reyes as he raced in, keeper Casto was in close attendance, as Raul went over his foot came up and the ref gave him a second booking and sent him off. The goalie flashing his injured thigh at the ref was a touch theatrical and a week late for the Oscars but it may have helped to sway the official. Coach Pep Marti juggled his depleted pack replacing the ineffective Moutinho with natural defender Cristian Garcia.

Almeria had brief thoughts of chasing a win but after Dani made a smart stop from former Tenerife player Durbarbier, they went back into their defensive shells. Even with ten men Tenerife should have gone for the win, Nano made some good runs down the right but continually found himself without any support. Javi Lara replaced Choco and took on set piece duty, Suso set up a good chance for Nano that went begging, and then made way for Omar. The wide player added some urgency and managed a header and a tight angled shot before the ref signaled the end of the game.

Cabalgata Parade Welcomes Cuba To Los Cristianos Carnaval

Feathers, glitter, high heels, face paint, and hours of dedication are the basic recipes for a good carnaval parade but it’s the people who make it come to life. The 2016 theme for Los Cristianos Carnaval was Old Havana so there were plenty of Cuban influences as the opening cabalgata parade assembled outside Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas.

The carnaval is the pride of Arona and the big introduction linked the two big resorts in the municipality. As afternoon beach time merged into evening food time a stream of enthusiasts of all ages slipped into their costumes, and found their chalked off areas outside the nightclub capital of Tenerife south. Many holiday makers, including a couple of large stag parties soon caught the bug and memorable poses were struck with dancing girls, drummers, and famous characters such as Popeye, and Harpo Marx.

Crisp, loud drum beats brought everyone to attention and off the parade set in a cacophony of noise and colour as it worked its way past hotels with bulging balconies. Even on a slightly cool march evening the performers must have felt very hot under all their trimmings but the energy levels never dropped as the long stretch of revelers moved slowly towards Los Cristianos. Husbands and wives found themselves being snatched and enveloped into the heart of the parade much to the amusement of their camera totting other half’s.

Maybe it was a response to the surge in Tenerife visitors or maybe the ever more resourceful creations of the entrants but it seemed to attract even bigger crowds than in recent years. Vantage points were as always at a premium and even delicious dinners and intoxicating cocktails were temporarily ignored as cafe and restaurant guests rose to enjoy the spectacle. By the time the leaders had disrobed at the CC Oasis shopping centre a good two hours had passed and people were slowly melting away to enjoy the further temptations of the showground set up next to the Valdes Centre.

After adjourning for a cheeky beer I popped into the showground to see how the new addition of a wig party was being received. Despite combing the area I found the headgear a little thin on top but there were plenty of dancers up and swaying as music belted out from the main stage. It had all the makings of a classic carnaval, I will have further reports and photos, there’s always plenty of fun to go around.