A night of magic in Santa Cruz

I have never seen so many suspender clad legs, skimpy dresses and lavish hair do’s-and that was just the men! It could only be Carnaval night in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, where celebrations were in full swing, with this years theme of Magic, vaguely kept in mind.
I went up with 2 mates and the first hurdle was catching the Gua Gua, the public service Titsa bus, extra buses were put on through the night for the hours drive up north. The scrum down of bodies at Los Cristianos, all dressed to thrill and loaded up with clinking carrier bags and glasses to mix their drinks, started to pour onto the bus but disaster struck, the machine reading Bono tickets (advance multi journey savers) packed up leaving the driver to pull his hair out and try to coax cash only clients on board. After half an hour of heaving bodies and a quick repair from another driver, we lurched off into the night and the party cranked up a gear.Bus
Anything goes at Carnaval time, and the bus was stuffed to the rafters, with singing, drinking and dancing in the aisle, at one point I had a scantily dressed cat woman pressed up against me – but I was the one purring. Just past the Las Galletas turning on the motorway, another bus swung out in front, equally packed and with bodies writhing in the back window. At various remote stops up the motorway, the bus shelters were full of fancy dressed party goers and we even managed to squeeze a few more on but those left behind seemed happy to party in the dark.
Pulling in to Santa Cruz, the sea of bodies became a tidal wave and we were happy to be swept along grabbing a few beers on the way and admiring the weird and wonderful costumes being worn, there was even a pair of fancy dress doorman cheekily minding the doors on one of the hotels.Doormen

 Carnaval is well organised chaos, with a make shift hospital, police units at little huts scattered along the streets and an army of cleaners on standby to restore normality in the morning.
WheelThe fair along the harbour road was doing a roaring trade but we resisted the lure of the gut churning, fling em here, fling em there rides. The floats from the big parade were parked up past the ferry terminal so after a quick look round there we cut into the main shopping area of the city.
Plaza de España is still partly closed for renovation so the crowds streamed around it and up the main shoppinfg street towards Plaza de Weyler – then it got seriously crowded. It’s easy to get confused at Carnaval as nuns, angels, schoolgirls and queens squeeze by, some with hairy legs and arms – eat, drink and be Mary is the order of the night. There were plenty of “amateur” nurses, doctors and police, in uniforms that reveal much more than you get on the NHS. Side streets are transformed into a mass of dancing bodies as sexual barriers are pushed to the limits – some sights would make Russell Brand blush. Local neighbours have complained in recent years about excessive street noise, but this is one beast you can’t muzzle, I can see that they might be a little upset at the rivers of urine running from their doors and shop fronts but the clean up squad will squirt, brush and tidy everything in the morning.
GirlsFuelled by more beer, we pushed on through the throng, and several thongs, stopping for some tasty white bait at one of the stalls and a whizz round on the dodgems. We eventually made our way back to the bus station at 5am but the crowds were as packed as ever, only daylight would stop this party. The queues were long and wobbly for the bus and some strugglers had to be practically carried past the security guards and onto the bus for the slightly more subdued trip back south. A great night of fun, music and spectacle, many will return to do it all again over the next week or so but for me, sleep was calling.