December 5, 2004
The grand procession was due to start at 6pm, so we set off promptly to ensure a good view. Hundreds of others had the same idea, and we maneuvered our way through the crowds to stand right on the edge of the main road.
We heard the music start up just after 6pm, but it was a good half hour before the first of the procession reached us. Leading the way were a fleet of vintage cars, highly polished motorbikes, and well-groomed horses, all greeted with cheers from the assembled throng. Wibbly-wobbly cycles were next, adeptly ridden by clowns, and then unicyclists weaved their way precariously down the centre of the road. Woops-one of the cyclists is down, but in the blink of a gnat’s eyelid, the young lad has re-mounted and is in hot pursuit of his mates.
There’s a pause in the proceedings, the sun begins to go down, and then the noise of disco music erupts into our consciousness. The serious floats are now lining up to create their impression on the proceedings. Pubs, ocean liners, barns, volcanoes, and fishermen all passed our eyes while scantily clad women in traditional Carnival costumes gyrated in front of us. We saw groups dancing on 18-inch platform shoes and were gob-smacked by the truly marvellous sequined dresses.
There were pantomime dames with heavy make-up, camping it up to the beats of Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb. And then the real thing–the drag queen paraded on the most elaborate of floats. Strutting themselves around were his fellow competitors, some in skimpier costumes than their female counterparts. There were gasps of admiration from the crowd, and the "queen" himself waved royally to his minions. They all gave a great performance. African tribal dancers followed, dancers supporting huge ornate structures (I just don’t how they managed to stay upright) appeared, and then there were the strains of YMCA.
We took a break for a meal and watched the procession from the restaurant window. It’s still going on past midnight, and we watch the good-natured banter between tourists and local merrymakers. Think of a float theme and I can guarantee that we saw it!
We weaved our weary way home, when the procession is in its final stages, and heared party music as we approached the dual carriage way. The revelry continued, as a couple of floats had stopped to party. Yes, they were dancing in the streets, or to be more precise, in the middle of the outside lane of the carriageway. This seems to be recognized, as cars slowed down and cheerily waved to the partygoers. We continued to hear their music, from our hotel room, for another hour or so. What a night!
From journal Carnival in Gran Canaria