Trinidad & Tobago Disptach 4: Post Carnival

Somehow I can’t figure out which is worse, having the lyrics of an infectious Soca tune stuck in my head (i.e. I want a big bottom gyal fuh mi to wine up on, big bottom gyal, big bottom gyal / I want a nice sexy gyal fuh mi to wine up on, nice sexy gyal, nice sexy gyal…) or the throbbing, achy feeling running up and down my every limb from the last two days of Carnival. I managed to impress the locals with my stamina, dancing all day in 80 plus degree heat without complaint and storming across the stage at the end with the energy of a raging bull, but the behind the scenes aren’t as pretty. I’m wondering if I’m too old for this kind of play or if any of the other revelers are spending their Wednesday recouping the same way as myself. Anyhow I’ll try to relive the days as best as possible without mentioning my every gyrating move.

Monday morning started early, somewhere around 3 AM with a rum and coke in tow, body paint smeared across my flesh and the joining of other free-spirited individuals ready to play Jouvert (pronounced joo-vay). I’d be lying if I said I was coaxed, bamboozled and such into this wacky business by the likes of another Blogger, but the truth is I was enticed by the event long before we met. It took one mention and I was there. Our Jouvert band was small with 40 actual participants and those from the streets that decided to join us on the road. The cling-clang, ting-tang sound of the steel pan could be heard from the band on our truck as we followed along in fluid motion, marching, stomping, dancing and waking the town. We enjoyed ourselves immensely until the sun started to shine when we hurriedly planned our escape. Somehow the paint began to feel a little less glamorous with the dawn of day and I had to get back in time to shower and play half-mas with Poison. The others would be come out for Carnival Tuesday.

Two showers later and a couple hours passed before I tossed on my Monday attire for Carnival. Short jean shorts, shimmery costume top and streaks of paint that wouldn’t come off made for a complete wardrobe. Let the bacchanal begin! We hit the road around 10:30 AM this time taking advantage of the cooler morning temperatures, winin’ and ah winin’ to all the popular Soca songs. The day continued moving with people having good times. And while everyone was really surprised by my performance I must say I even impressed myself that Monday, but then there was Tuesday.

It was difficult getting up. My body was already feeling sore and the day would be longer and more grueling, but the show had to go on and did so at 7AM. Things were going well for my band, Poison (one of the largest mas bands in Trinidad) until we took a turn and went off normal course for parading. This soured several regular masqueraders’ attitudes and they danced little as our convoy made way through St. James. For my first time, I had no clue what was going on and was unaffected by this huge change except that it made the day longer. When all was said and done and we finally had the opportunity to cross the stage around 7 PM I felt as charged as ever and ready to do it all over again. Well almost…

(For more complete coverage of this festival stay tuned for links and more. This snippet does no justice to the affair.)