From what I’d heard on the calles of Sanlúcar, Carnaval in the small town of Chipiona (Andalusia) was to be on par with the bona fide Carnaval de Río in Brazil. Unlike Carnaval de Sanlúcar, the parade in Chipiona was to feature magnificent costumes that weren’t bought from the local Chino store ($2 shop) or assembled from whatever things you could find in the house that day such as TV remotes, feminine hygiene products – resumably unused – and mamá’s pretentious jewellery from the late 80s.
The parade was certainly a notch up in professionalism than the surreal boozy wonderment that marched through the town of Sanlúcar on Saturday evening. But the problem with the parade in Chipiona was that it was lost in a strange inebriated place in between. While many of the costumes were enviably impressive (reputedly some are borrowed from other events in southern Spain), the people wearing them looked bored, or, drunk. If they didn’t have two sticks in each hand to march on a drum, they had a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other. Many were on their mobile phones.
Carnaval in the province of Cadiz is renowned for capitalising on the opportunity to criticise the Spanish leaders and government through humour and irony. Of course, I am sure there is more of this in Cadiz the capital. In the end, I much preferred the cabalgada (parade) in Sanlúcar than the one in Chipiona. Maybe it’s my Sanlucan pride, but at least the parade here wasn’t pretending to be something it’s on. And the people in it were definitely having a much better time (sans the tractor drivers, they looked like they couldn’t wait to get to the closest bar to down a bottle of manzanilla to get through to Sunday morning).