Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fiestas of El Palmar Opening Night

Comparsa Las Chicharacas

The carnival-style opening of the Fiestas in El Palmar was a hoot, though, it's hard to understand why they put times on the program because they bear absolutely no relation to reality. It's worth bearing in mind that Canarian time does generally work like this. Not that it matters, except that the longer one spends waiting, the more acutely one becomes aware of the complete lack of public toilets! Events were slated to begin at 7.30 pm, but actually did some time well after 9 pm. Although the official opening speeches then were mercifully short, it still must have been getting on for 10, when the carnival opening procession even started off on it's rounds of the village streets. It was a little after midnight when it and the entourage of revelers - the Comparsa, the band and numerous carnivaleros: mostly men dressed up as women and one, inexplicably (although the lack of bathroom facilities might have been a clue), dressed in an adult diaper - finally returned.

Fanfarria del Puerto de la Cruz

Then the party started. Well, no the party had been going on in the streets of El Palmar (both of them) for all that time, but this was when I discovered what is really meant by "enjoying the good meat, wine and music." The meat - a whole open-backed truck load and probably several animals worth of it - and the wine was free. As much as you like: all you had to do was to raise your hand among the hundreds of others similarly begging.

The fiesta food truck

Chaotic? Just a tad, but I only saw one argument break out. On the back of this ancient camion (lorry), which apparently, was still being fixed at 6 pm, was an industrial-sized grill from which half a dozen people from the fiesta organising committee were handing out family-sized portions of barbecued meat, wrapped in half loaves and sloshing out the "good wine" into plastic cups, at speed of service that McDonalds can only dream about.

By the time everyone did get back to the plaza and the dance band got going, the wheels were certainly well oiled, so to speak. And, if the free food and wine wasn't enough for anyone, there was a stall in the square selling toys, snacks and sweets, plus two bars, one of which is also selling perros calientes (hot dogs) and papas locas (chips n sauce).

The essential fiesta sweets and tat stall.

Still no toilet though.