A Burning Desire To Go To The Beach

Blimey all those thousands of people on the beach just to celebrate England’s World Cup win over Slovenia? Actually it was for something much more traditionally Spanish than that, and anyway most of the England fans had peaked too early, this was a mainly Canarian gathering. The night of San Juan celebrates mid summer with many methods of cleansing the soul and looking forward to better times ahead. I knew it was going to be a good one this year from the amount of wooden pallets and sealed off areas on both Los Cristianos beaches in the afternoon.

I had intended to follow the statue of San Juan on its short journey down to the beach but having not had a beer for 10 days (my own cleansing between football seasons) I felt the urge to stop off for a couple of pints of Dorada just in case I lost the taste. With my thirst part quenched I headed down to the old beach and was greeted by one huge bonfire, many smaller intimate ones with groups of family and friends, and flocks of people all over the sand down to the shore. As always the younger revellers were well stocked up on bottles and families had brought picnic tables and enough food to feed an army. As I mingled and smoked myself like a big blond kipper I came across a few people already making wishes over candles or tearing strips of written desires into fire fodder. At the side of the beach on a small stage canarian singers had gathered a decent crowd of keen dancers of all ages.

I went through the tunnel to Las Vistas beach and it was a similar story but on a grander scale. Along the promenade most bars were open and doing a roaring trade, a useful boost in these times of low tourism. As I sipped a pint with midnight fasilt approaching I lost count of the amount of people walking by dragging cardboard boxes to top up the many flames. just before the magic hour I ventured down to the shore and watched as people waded out into the sea, many still fully dressed. Others were jumping over small fires three times as required by tradition and flowers were also being thrown into the sea as an extra blessing of nature. I left about 2am and the party showed little sign of stopping, another wonderful cultural treat.

This afternoon I returned to the beaches for my daily swim and as ever it was hard to see that there had been any parties or industrial quantities of glasses, bottles, bags and plastic cuttlery. Arona council cleaners had done a fantastic  job, all the bins were emptied and had new black bags lining them and the paths were spotless. Hows that for service.