The Observatory

Twinkling stars are pretty, but astronomers would much rather they didn’t. The twinkle is caused by movement in the air above you (the same as a mirage on very hot days) and it stops the astronomers getting a clear view. The Hubble Telescope gets such wonderfully clear images because it’s out of the atmosphere altogether. But there’s only one Hyubble, and it cost a fortune. So they build ground-based telescopes…

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Snow

So here we are in this lovely sub-tropical island, land of eternal spring. And the top of the mountain is covered with snow. Last night’s rain turned into a storm, with far too much thunder and lightning to sleep through. It went on for hours. And this morning, I could see snow on the mountain. Not just the peak (the Roque de los Muchachos at 2426 m or 7,959 ft),…

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The Sardine’s Funeral

Tonight was supposed to be the sardine’s funeral in Santa Cruz de la Palma. This is actually a bizarre finale to Carnival, and as such was traditionally held on Ash Wednesday. (They still do so in Tenerife. See http://www.secret-tenerife.com/2008/02/ash-wednesday-burial-of-sardine.htmlBut some years ago, Santa Cruz de La Palma started to hold their Sardine’s Funeral on the Friday of Carnival week. Presumably they felt it would be more popular if most people…

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Mojitos

Mojitos are a popular drink during Carnival: sugar, lemon juice, rum and mint. This bar is famous for them all year round, so during Carnival they prepare them in batches. This was one of the smaller batches! One of the things I like about La Palma, is that people often have a few drinks, but it’s rare to see anyone downright drunk. There’s an article about this at http://sheilacrosby.com/articles/drunks.php

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Los Indianos

The biggest night of Carnival on the island is Los Indianos parade. In the 19th century the island was very poor, and many people emigrated to Cuba – the Indies. Some of them came back rich, so that the arrival of a boat from Cuba was quite an event, even though there were more boats to Latin America than to mainland Spain. So we have a pretend boatload of nouveau-riche…

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The Ambassador’s Parade

Last night we had a diplomatic procession through Santa Cruz, where the representatives of any nation you care to mention graced us with their presence. And I missed it. (We had a family birthday party at midday, and I still couldn’t drive that evening.) So here are some photos from 2006.

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