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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008

Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008

And the winner is ... Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo in a Santi Castro designed costume entitled, "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age), representing the (French owned) supermarket chain, Carrefour. It was a truly international affair.

If the Gala to select the Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, last year was "Amargo" (bitter), then this year's was surreal and, I'm not just talking about one of the candidates costumes, which included one of Salvador Dali's "melting" clocks and a picture of the mustachio'd artist on the flounce of her dress. Actually, that was my favourite.

The televised gala in general was school end of term concert quality and there were the endless performances by all the carnaval groups and dancers. But, that's exactly what carnaval is all about, so it was good, despite all the technical hitches. They just added to the entertainment. The worst of those hiccups might have been that there was no sound to her mike all through Xiomara Laugart's first number, but it was surpassed because the sound did work through her second one.

The Orishas were good, even if they were miming (as you'd expect.)

The surreal part for me was seeing such an ostensibly English design, chosen by a panel of mostly Spanish judges - of course - that also included, French actor, Gérard Depardieu and Italian actress, Sophia Loren. It was reported that Loren said she would "probably" dress up in costume. If she did, she came disguised as actress, Sophia Loren.

When this year's queen came out onto the stage originally as a candidate, she was introduced as Queen Elizabeth I (you know, of England) and the music that was played while she paraded was "Rule Britannia". You certainly can't accuse the Spanish of being bad losers, endorsing Queen Elizabeth I and Rule Britannia, given the history of the Armada! Nor indeed of any remaining animosity over the part she played in local history. Elizabeth I is known to have backed English pirate, John Hawkins, who was slave trading partner of Pedro de Ponte (son of Cristóbal de Ponte, the man who financed the conquest of Tenerife). Hawkins once lived in Ponte Jr's house, the Casa Fuerte, in Tenerife, in Adeje. Last night's "Queen Elizabeth I" is from next door in Arona.

Britannia Rules Tenerife

The upshot is what Nelson (and a few others before him) failed to do by force, it seems we've finally managed with a Carnaval Queen (if only for a year) and, more surprisingly, we've achieved this Révolution surréaliste with French, Italian and Spanish help.

PS: The slated Harry Potter and David Copperfield were magically made to disappear. That is, they were conspicuous by their complete absence at the gala and turned out to be mere Tenerife myth and rumour, as we'd suspected in the end.