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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rebanadas de Carnaval (French Toast)


In much the same way that the British traditionally eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up items in the kitchen before Lent begins tomorrow, this is the Canarian equivalent, Rebanadas de Carnaval also known as Torrijas.


1 'yesterday's' Canarian loaf (pan normal) - any crusty white bread like a French stick or baguette will do just as well, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk approx., Sugar, Sprinkle of ground cinnamon.


Slice the bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices and discard the ends. Beat the egg, milk and cinnamon together in a bowl then soak the bread slices briefly in the mixture. Lift them carefully and fry gently in oil in a shallow frying pan, turning once. Remove when golden, arrange on a plate and sprinkle with sugar.

This a great way to use up stale bread at any time.

Santa Cruz Carnaval Parade Suspended by the Bad Weather in Tenerife

Keeping an eye on search terms that visitors use to reach this site, leads me to believe that the top items of interest are the Carnaval in Santa Cruz and the weather in Tenerife.

With the Coso Apoteosis del Carnaval (main parade), supposed to have been happening this afternoon in Santa Cruz, I can tell you that the same God who decides the weather for August bank holidays in Britain has been at work here in Tenerife today.

It is generally the case that it will rain at least once during carnival week, but this is the first time in my 14 years on the island that I have known the weather to be so uncooperative as to cause the suspension of events.

The islands continue on alert because of high winds again - currently reported to be around 80 kmph. Waves have reached heights of three to five meters in Tenerife, whilst on the north coast of El Hierro, reached a record height of eight meters.

In Santa Cruz de La Palma, 24 inter-island flights had to be cancelled. Over here on the north west of Tenerife it has been tipping it down with buckets of rain this afternoon and, by my standards, it is freezing at around 12 degrees centigrade. Reports in the local media confirmed that the main parade of Carnaval has been suspended today and it is hoped that the parade will now be held on Saturday, March 4th, instead.

Video: Carnaval en Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2006

Carnival Queen in 2006, Neólida Hernández Martín

Carnival Queen in 2006, Neólida Hernández Martín in a costume entitled El Carro de la Gloria (The Chariot of Glory), designed by Juan Carlos Armas and representing Grupo AC Bingo Colombófilo.

Coronación Reina del Carnaval S/C de Tenerife 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Santa Cruz Carnaval 2006 Events

Carnival 2006 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

This is, by no means, a complete list of all Carnaval events, but those which, I believe, to be of most interest to an English speaking visitor and generally casual onlooker.

  • Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 21:30 - Gala for the Selection of the Carnaval Queen 2006. This colorful event, to be held tonight in the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife will be televised internationally. It is probably best seen on TV too, to see close ups of the costumes. This gala is really the last in a long line of selection processes that have already taken place to choose the best dance troops and musical groups, etc. These also set the order they should participate in the forthcoming parades.
  • Friday, February 24, 2006 - 20:00 - The "Announcing" Parade of Carnaval. Now that all the participants and winners have been chosen, this parade announces the start of Carnival celebrations proper. There is a firework display at the end of the parade.
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 16:00 - "Coso" Apoteosis del Carnaval. This is THE main parade of Carnaval along the Avenida de Anaga and Avenida Marítima alongside the seafront and port in Santa Cruz. Fireworks again follow, scheduled for 21:00. This parade will also be televised internationally.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2006 - 21:00 - Burial of the Sardine. How does one explain this? It is a sacrilegious, surreal and sarcastic parade where you are likely to find men and women dressed up as Catholic clergy and men dressed up in drag as "wailing widows". Just in case you think that you've run into a cross-dressers' convention or a Gay Pride march, it is not. They all follow the funeral procession of the poor unfortunate effigy of a huge sardine, which symbolizes the "death" or end of Carnaval (well, sort of) and start of Lent.
  • Saturday, March 4, 2006 - 18:00 - Coso Infantil. This is a separate parade for all the junior Carnaval participants, the Kid's Parade, in which the place of honour will be held by the Reina Infantil (Junior Queen). 
  • Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 10:00 - XXXVI Concourse of Classic Cars. Look for the old crocks, in the Plaza de la Iglesia (Church Square) and Calle La Noria. After assembling, they will make a very noisy circuit of the city streets.

There is also a Gran Fin de Fiesta del Carnaval 2006 party at 17:00 and, of course, a farewell firework display, which is slated to begin at 22:00. If the Burial of the Sardine didn't really mark the end of Carnaval, does this? Well, to repeat myself yet again, only sort of! All it really means is the end, for this year, of the Carnaval celebrations in Santa Cruz. It all just moves along to Puerto de La Cruz, Los Cristianos and just about every other town on the island for at least another couple of weeks. And, since there is always next year's Carnaval to plan, dances and songs to rehearse, costumes to have 1000's of sequins and feathers sewn on ... I really doubt that Carnaval ever ends.

Times, of course, in the Canary Islands, are always very approximate, however, with the advent of televising most of the main events, they are getting more precise.

If you are planning ahead to come to Santa Cruz Carnaval in a future year, you can always count on the "Coso", main parade, being on the Shrove Tuesday. Once you have the calendar for the year in question, this should be easy to find or work out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Carnaval On The Busses

Titsa Bus Interchange Tenerife South https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasile23/, CC BY 2.0

Going to the Santa Cruz Carnaval in person? 

Apart from the fact that parking is a joke in Santa Cruz at the best of times and it is obviously safer to leave the wheels at home if you intend to imbibe a beverage or two, actually, half the fun of an outing to Carnaval can be had on the bus. 

Oh yes, I can cast my mind back to the year that, dressed as a musketeer, complete with high boots, cape and big hat with a feather, I passed a few enjoyable minutes engaged in a plastic sword fight on the bus with a complete stranger. :) 

Every year, Tenerife bus company TITSA (no, that is NOT the Spanish branch of Trotters Independent Trading) lay on extra busses for Carnaval dates, including the famous 111 Playa de las Americas route, running right through until 4.30 a.m. 

Monday, February 20, 2006

Worlds Biggest Mountains

Mount Teide

Mauna Loa, Earth's largest volcano on the Hawaiian Islands, measured from its base some 5,000 m (over 16,000 ft) below the ocean surface to the highest point at 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level, totalling over 9,000 m (> 30,000 ft). Mauna Loa is about 36 m (120 ft) lower than its neighbor, Mauna Kea.

Earth's third largest volcano is, of course, our own Mount Teide here on Tenerife, which stands 3,718 m (12,195 ft) above sea level and approximately 7000 m above the adjacent sea bed.

The "curiosity" is that since Mount Everest is situated on top of the Tibetan plateau, already at 3,600 meters, then measuring from there, Everest is "only" 5,230 meters high.

All three big volcanos are taller mountains on this basis.

Source: Hawai: la montaña más alta

Imagen de corpol_8 en Pixabay

Friday, February 17, 2006

Canarian Delegation to join the San Antonio Birthday Celebrations

Celebrations for the 275th Anniversary of San Antonio in Texas will culminate with a performance by tenor Plácido Domingo.

Meanwhile, a delegation, including government representatives, artists and academics from the archipelago will also be present in the city, an historical symbol of Canarian emigration.

Texas can look forward to seeing the area around the San Fernando cathedral covered in sand and flower carpets, in the style of those made here for Corpus Cristi and La Orotava.

San Antonio se prepara para celebrar sus 275 años con nutrida visita canaria
Carpet of flowers set to bloom near San Fernando Cathedral

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sculpture in Honour of Las Libreas

The town hall of Buenavista del Norte is to erect a statue in honour of the dance of Las Libreas del Palmar, a dance which has survived thanks to the efforts of the local residents and which is part of the main annual fiesta in the village.

In this manner, the corporation wishes to pay homage to the whole of the valley of El Palmar. The sculpture, the design is still to be determined, will be located in an historical area to provide a permanent symbol of this jewel of island folklore.

The origins of the dance of Las Libreas del Palmar are very confused, but according to oral tradition, symbolize the struggle between good - represented by the dancers - and evil, presented in the form of a figure of the devil. Three pairs of dancers perform the ritual, three of whom dress as women, who with accentuated jumps and gyrations and hands aloft, dance to the son rhythm of the traditional tajaraste drum.

Lucen ya las esculturas homenaje a las Libreas de El Palmar

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Santa Cruz Carnaval Goes Ahead

Good news for the Carnaval in Tenerfe's capital as Santa Cruz' Mayor, Miguel Zerolo, expressed his satisfaction yesterday at the judge's decision to find against the recent claim brought by a group of residents, asserting that the Carnaval is illegal.

No details given as to what grounds the judge, Jaime Guilarte Martín-Calero, used to throw out the case, however in a press conference, Zerolo said that the judge had acted wisely against the "hot potato" that should never have reached court and, that residents can celebrate Carnaval "as our parents and grandparents did, with no problems whatsoever."

El juez desestima el recurso que pedía la suspensión cautelar del Carnaval la capital tinerfeña

Canary Island Palms Under Threat

Canary Islands Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)

Something particularly worrying to the valley of El Palmar, where many of the last few remaining, native, Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix Canariensis) exist in the Canary Islands, would be any potential threat to their health.

It has been reported that on January 27, a ship, which originated from Valencia, unloaded ten containers in the port of Santa Cruz, loaded with palm trees. Two days later, as a precaution, the government prohibited the importation of palms into the insular community, as a result of a plague of red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) that was detected. Port authorities wanted to return the ship to it's port of origin, however the ministry of agriculture estimated that "no impediment exists" to the entry of the plants.

La palmera canaria, gravemente amenazada Un escarabajo colorado y mortal

Photo: Michael Rivera [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dodgy Translations

Hedgehog with snorkel and flippers

A XXX rated salad, a submarine hedgehog and a herd of 5,000 bison rampaging across England's New Forest ... What are these? The latest Sun headlines? Monty Python story lines? No, just the world bent out of shape by linguistic error.

By popular demand, well, OK, one request, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite moments from my linguistic clanger collection. Actually, I don't believe the list is that enviable, but these have caused the odd giggle.

Is that a chicken in your salad, or are you just pleased to see me?

As you may (or may not) know, MOST of the time you can safely change a masculine word in Spanish (one that ends in an O) into it's feminine equivalent, simply by changing the last letter to an A. Of course, there are exceptions to this.

So there was the time that a friend of a friend once asked her future mother-in-law for "ensalada de polla". Ensalada (salad) is OK. Pollo is chicken. Unfortunately, polla is not hen, that's gallina. Polla is a part of the male anatomy that one does not normally eat as part of a light summer lunch. At least not in company of one's future mother-in-law. :)

Screwing with the natural habitat ...

One of my favourite linguistic clangers comes from my days at the newspapers.

What animal is spiky and does a lot of damage to the seabed?

A scuba diving hedgehog, maybe? Well, only maybe. The story, which originally ran in the local Spanish press, talked about the plague of erizo that were damaging the seabed around the south of the island, and indeed erizo is the Spanish word for hedgehog.

But, I had never seen a hedgehog in the south of Tenerife anywhere, much less in the sea (we do have 'em, on land, in the north), so out came the dictionary. Ah, erizo is also the translation of sea urchin, so that would be our plague. Logical really, both being spiky.

(In English, sea urchins are called sea urchins because hedgehogs used to be called urchins until the 15th Century. So sea urchins are basically ocean hedgehogs!)

This isn't a problem, in context, but it does mean that you have to read the entire context to get the right animal. The funny part is that one of the other English language newspapers obviously didn't read the entire context, because, a couple of weeks after this, their translation of the story appeared, complete with a picture of a hedgehog.

Theirs didn't have a snorkel though!

But, to be fair, even the professionals have off days.

Spanish national news agency EFE used to provide the newspaper I worked for with stories translated into English. One alarming report claimed that a herd of some 5,000 BISON were laying waste to the New Forest in the south of England. This caused us a laugh, but we knew what the problem was. In Spanish, B's are pronounced a bit like V's and vice versa.

What was really running around the south of England in its thousands were VISÓN, which when translated into English are MINK, let out of a fur farm by animal activists. Still damaging pests, but I think you'd notice the difference if you met one.

As luck would have it on this occasion, we had "our man on the spot", no more than a few hundred yards from a cattle grid into the forest, in New Milton. My late father; always a man capable of maturely assessing a situation and acting accordingly. He did indeed report the sighting of one bison in the vicinity. In the bathroom: a wash hand bison (basin).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sweets of Canary

Wild Canary? He was probably livid! ImageJuan Emilio

In the Canary Islands there definitely is a policy to give jobs to locals before foreigners. Understandable, you might say. Legally, particularly in the case of fellow EU member citizens, this isn't allowed, but the fact is that as a foreigner, even if you have perfect Spanish and submit a job application to a Canarian owned company, you mostly just get ignored. This avoids companies from making any open admission to their policy, in writing, and thus suffering its legal consequences. But, whilst I am sure there are many people who do not know about this going on, or deny it, otherwise it's an "open secret".

And there is one area where this policy backfires big-style.

That of translating into English.

My Spanish is sometimes better than the locals, but I am not daft enough to write or translate into Spanish, except for my own personal correspondence, because Spanish is not my native tongue and the result will inevitably come out awkward.

(Well, I don't claim my English is perfect either, but that is a whole other story.)

I'm all up for trying to use Spanish on a day-to-day basis, because this is the right thing to do to fit in (in fact, it's all I speak these days and I keep losing English words as a result), but if I ever had to produce something vitally important in writing, in Spanish, I'd have it double-checked by a native Spanish speaker. This seems the logical thing to do.

The official diplomatic and business rule is that one should only translate into one's native tongue. One should speak or write in one's native language, then, if there is going to be any misinterpretation, it can only be at the receiving end.

This doesn't seem to bother the Canarians, as anyone who has ever tried to read the results of many a non-native English speaker's efforts of translating into English will attest.

The example of one Canarian produced English language (using the term very very loosely indeed) newspaper springs to mind. If you understand Spanish and thus the errors that are most commonly made, then you may understand what was trying to be said. Otherwise it's pure entertainment. In that particular case, I just could not help but phone up to offer my services to edit it and, in verbal response, was told very bluntly that they have to employ Canarians for the job. Seems short-sighted, but it's futile to argue with this "wisdom".

Another howler was an advertising billboard on the side of the road that joins the south motorway to the north, which proffered the enticing delicacy, "Sweets of Canary".

My weird imagination wondered if these were little birds on a stick, maybe with a toffee coating, or very very small sweets indeed i.e. sweetbreads from said unfortunate songbird.

Bet that would take his pitch up a couple of octaves! :)

The company in question probably paid pots of money to have that stuck up there in huge letters to advertise, what I presume are their traditional "Canary Islands' Sweets". As advertising goes, I suppose that at least it was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't caused road accidents from laughter.

Menus everywhere contain similar examples of non-edible things to the point that I have given up on trying to translate their English and, the phenomenon is now carried on at many a Canarian website that offers a clumsy English version. It is sort of English, probably automatically and therefore literally translated. You can understand it, but it is long-winded, clumsy and very very dry. We would not write English like that, especially not to SELL the attractions of something. Oh, if only they would ask a native English speaker to check. It's not like there is any shortage of us capable of assisting. Of course, you could say, leave things as they are, or we will lose a valuable source of entertainment.