Monday, March 19, 2012

El entierro de la sardina (The Burial of the sardine)

I saw carnival processions before, but I never saw the El entierro de la sardina (The Burial of the sardine) up till yesterday. I looked it up and apparently other ceremonies like this - burning of an effigy, accompanied by a procession/ritual - exist in Spanish tradition in various places. The burning symbolizes cleansing, passing of old and new beginnings. In this case, it marks the end of the carnival. In "normal" circumstances, burial falls on Ash Wednesday, but, it being Fuerteventura, it's not really linked to anything, and feels like a way to end the carnival with a proper bang.

I didn't take any pictures, because it was dark and crowded, but below are some videos of the event. It all happened on the small main town beach in Corralejo.

First, we could hear the sound of samba drums and a small torch-bearing procession of people dressed in black appeared. They were carrying the large figure of sardine with them. It was placed on a podium. If you look to the right of the sardine in the second half of the video, you could see some people dressed as priests, and just about see a crucifix in someone's hand. The whole thing is meant to look like a funeral; priests and lamenting women ("adios! adioooos!"), the works.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Corralejo Carnival Parade 2012

Yesterday there was a carnival parade in Corralejo, the biggest of the several. I heard that it was going to be a big event, but didn't expect it to be on the same scale as one in Puerto del Rosario. I think it was bigger though, and more on the show side. Kirill is telling me that there were at least seven samba bands there (I didn't count myself), and when we leaving, the tail of the procession haven't started yet, so there might have been more. It lasted for two and a half hours, but we didn't stay for all of it - kids were getting tired.
We figure that the samba group above is not from Fuerteventura, although we could be mistaken. They were, deservedly, at the very beginning of the procession, had some simple, but effective dance routines, and their costumes were beautiful, too - check out these lace trousers in the facebook album.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Too much of a good thing. Or maybe not

Last Sunday and Monday worked out as pretty busy two days for me, wellness and fitness-wise.
On Sunday, there was a four hours "introduction seminar" to Chi kung and Tai Chi Chuan in Antigua sports center. I go to Chi kung lessons with Annalisa Paloschi (below) and I used to go to Daniele Scilingo's (above) lessons, and it's the same center that organized this seminar. So it was not exactly all new for me, but let me tell you, four hours is a killer. In a good way of course, but it still is. I don't know about other students, but for me personally the pain was mostly in the back of the legs and the shoulders.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Big carnival parade in Puerto del Rosario

The parade was a week ago already, but somehow there was no time to write it up before.

After extremely photogenic Achipencos I was looking forward to this parade. (Though, unlike Achipencos, carnival parade is not something specific to Fuerteventura, obviously).

I am certainly no connoisseur, but I've watched and photographed some carnivals in the UK, and so far Luton remains my firm favorite, what with all the feather-clad samba dancers and majorettes. Puerto del Rosario grand procession is somewhat short on dancers in feathers - there were three ladies dressed as the one above, but that was all, I think. It reminded me of very tame Saffron Walden take on the same event - dressed up people enjoying themselves on the floats (I saw a few floats with on-board BBQ), amateur samba bands of all ages and so on.

But it can boast an amazing level of participation - the procession was very long for such a small town, and it looked like at least half of the viewers were dressed up somehow. It was like one half of the inhabitants are in the procession and another standing along the route.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Oasis Park Fuerteventura - birds of prey and Botanic garden

A bit more about oasis park. As I said, there are three daily shows on, out of which we only saw only the sea lions, the first one. We missed birds of prey and reptiles; but of birds of prey we did catch one interesting bit, which came after the show was over.
The birds of prey are kept in a distinct bit of park , the botanic garden, which is separated by a row of eroded hills from the main territory. To get there you need to walk about 1.5 km (according to their pointers), or catch a "jungle bus" - converted van, with rows of wooden seats. It keep shuffling to and fro between the main bit and the botanical garden, turning up at both "terminals" every ten minutes or so, so there shouldn't be a problem. Definitely wasn't a problem for us - we rode three of us both ways in a vehicle meant for at least ten times as many people. The Botanic garden is on a steeper slope than the rest of the territory and mostly contains cacti and succulents (makes sense really). There is also a lake with crocodiles (search me) and the bit where they demonstrate the birds of prey, more or less on the top of the garden. When we get there, there were very few people still sitting around, and a member of staff standing in the middle, looking at the sky and holding up something raw-looking (a piece of chicken meat, as I saw later from the photos)