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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last Lap - The wrap up to my first Trini carnival

Well gentle folks, needless to say I am still coming down from my carnival high. I think I left a part of me on the streets of Trinidad and probably on someone's costume as I whined mi waistline wid no behavior on them. It has taken me this long to finish jotting my thoughts down as I was slowly recovering and feeling totally WOTLESS. A week a go this Monday I was recovering from J'ouvert, buzzing form the high I felt then. It was magical for me...I must return to the scene of the scintilating madness, where the the crime of insanity played itself out as I and my fellow revellers rolled behind the "Big" truck where we whned, gyrated, jumped, imbibed on brown liquor concoctions - Rum, Hennessy, Johnny Walker Black etc. etc. - pranced and chipped our way to carnival Nirvana.  But Alas there is still one day left. I wana kno if you playing MAS..Did you? Well I didn't really play mas, but like a lot of people I was able to cross over. Yep, this J'ouvert rebel crossed the stage even though I wasn't with a band..get to that in a second.
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is the big MAS - Masquerade if you're wondering - and the day will start quite early for most especially if you have to meet your band someplace to begin the street procession and eventually crossing over the stage to be judged hoping to take the title of best carnival band. Unfortunately for me my ass did not roll out of bed till 9.30 only to find out that two of the bands that I wanted to see in full regalia had already crossed stage and was heading to some park to have breakfast, can you believe that..pissed I was. Carnival and fun waits for no one here in Trinidad. Oh well, after getting dressed it was off to the Savanah to see the rest of the bands and enjoy myself some more. I believe this is one of the few times if any other exists where at 11am I am downing a cold beer - Stag or Carib mi deh barkeep (beers from Trinidad) - this is insane even for me but when in Rome bra. .Bright colors and feathery plumage can be seen all round. Short tings, tall tings, big tings, small tings all kinda tings and gents in impy skimpy costumes carrying on wid no behavior, being just plain WOTLESS. And you know I am right there on the sidelines getting on just as bad..Si ya, not a soul out deh know mi so it's di perfect place and time fi let loose cause I an I jumping pon a plane di next day. Bands are rolling through, DJ's are killing the carnival songs, old and new and hyping the masqueraders as they chip their way to the stage. Large floats, individual pieces and individuals are getting last minute checks to make sure nothing is falling off after being on the road all day. The noise is deafening as big trucks - I counted 50 speakers on one truck powered by a huge generator - pass by.You just can't help yourself, you are whining like a lego beast. Time for another beer, may I just say it's 2pm and I still haven't eaten a bite yet..hmmmhm, pacing myself I
So as I am here watching the madness, The All Stars Steel Pan band - Winners of this year's Steel pan Panaorama at carnival - is on it's way through accompanying one of the bands and I get totally lost in the music and my video taping that I realized I was behind the security check point. Well, no one stopped me to check for wrist bands and funny thing was I was dressed in similar colors as part of the band and I found myself getting powdered and readied. Who would have thought, and I said to myself we crossing di dam stage here come what will. Just then, Kwame, cousin of Marcia, Nicole and Gigi comes up and taps me on the shoulder. Turns out he's jumping in this band with his dad. I borrow a sneak from his hat to complete my blendage and I continue to render myself boi, the things we do away from home. The Stage is in front of us time to get advantageous (song by Machel Montano-this was played mostly as bands got ready to cross the stage). Time to roll, we are about to cross over. This is so exhilarating, I feel like a nerdy and naughty school boy about to bruk his ducks (lose virginity, if you wanted to know). Yep, out come my flags, all six of them representing: Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis. Haiti and Antigua. What the hell we all kindred spirits..this was amazing, I found Kwame my hype man and danced together as we did at the Fete on Saturday night like brothers in arms, all in front of the stage's cameras recording for all to see. I was having a ball. We crossed over and I received I guess what would be a celebratory drink from Kwame's dad, Johnny Walker no doubt poured from a flask. Alas, this was not to be the end of the procession for the band now continued to link up with other bands that were in route to cross the stage later..Madness I tell ya..Real quickly, we stopped to get some boiled corn. God a Lawd, what a sumptin sweet. I haven't had boiled corn like that since I left Jamaica. I lament on this because of the type of corn I'm eating. A far superior variety if you ask me found here in the Caribbean than the softy we get in the States. Nice firm kernels on the cobb cooked in a flavorful broth. So tasty that after sucking the juice from the cobb one must proceed to Powda (chew) the cobb to shreds. Damn it's soooo good.
Okay, back to Carnival. Well after burrowing our way through ram jam packed streets, witnessing the line security (guys with ropes for the bands keeping people like me out :-)) trying to maintain order, seeing a thief trying to snatch a girl's chain from her neck, seeing a masquerader trying to fight with his own band's security...Guess what? I am back where I started several hours ago. By this time I had several beers and drinks along the way. It was time to feed this hungry beast and I could think of nothing else to have myself but a Shark & Bake. I couldn't leave here and not tear one up. I found a stall and ordered me up one and a bake and fried chicken for Kwame...Lawd Jesus dis sanguige ya is di bomb. Fried shark meat, with crispy cole slaw, lettuce, tomato, chadon benin, hot sauce..sclaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!! I tink I need bout dozen a dem..I may have to get a purge when I get back to the States...just saying..
I spent the rest of the evening watching and dancing, dancing and watching..and drinking some more beer of course, camera snapping away capturing my experience..God mi poor bladders (I feel like I have two now), liver and kidneys must all be crying bloody murder. I have seen what I came here to see, indulged like a midnight robber, had the time of my life. Time to head back to the hotel and chill. This has been a WICKED experience, you should check it out next year..See you in Trinidad next year perhaps..or Rio, or Jamaica :-).

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