I'm ready for J'ouvert people! Last night Tina and I went to the kickboxing class put on by the Mudsunami J'ouvert troupe. What is J'ouvert? Craziness. Various groups form huge troupes of revelers competing to see who's got the most team spirit (and loudest music). Sometimes you're in costume or sprayed in shiny paint; other times you're just wearing a team t-shirt. You attend pre-J'ouvert parties to keep your energy levels up and then head for the streets of Basseterre in one big gyrating (winding they call it here) mass, while surrounding huge speaker trucks blaring soca and calypso music. Here are some pictures of one year's J'ouvert if you need a visual. Wikipedia will give you the history.
Needless to say, you need a lot of energy to survive this activity, so the Mudsunami troupe organized this kickboxing class to whip us into shape. Are we going to join the troupe? Unlikely, but we'll look good cheering them on later in the day - much later...
In the spirit of exercising for all to see, like the yoga session I did a couple of weeks ago at the Beach House, this one was outside too. It got blissfully dark though, so no one could see us sweat.
We started with about 4 people, but ended up with 12 before it was all over. We jumped up and down, while kicking and punching each other for a full hour and a half to calypso/soca music to get us into the Carnival spirit. Pain!!! When it started pouring, we all ran under the stage shell. It's a fun class, so if you want to join in, just head to the Royal St. Kitts (not to be confused with the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino across the street). For $10EC (about $4US) you can't beat it. We might expand to Thursdays too - we had to wean ourselves in. I can tell you that if Elston is leading the troupe in December, no one is going to match his energy level. Nobody. Boot camp anybody?
So Carnival season starts 17 December and keeps on going all the way until 3 January. The Carnival committee has a website and is on Facebook.
It's hard to read the tiny poster, but SKNVibes lays it out nicely. Going to last year's Carnival website, will give you an idea of what the events were/are. There is something called "In the Spirit of Christmas" from 6 Dec to 10 Dec. A description of this from last year, says it's nightly entertainment in downtown's Circus (from 8pm).
Most of the other activities are contests (fashion shows, Soca or Calypso competitions, beauty contests, etc.).
J'ouvert parties will commence in the wee hours of 27 December, with things going into full swing down the streets of Basseterre by 4am. If anyone on-island wants to join a J'ouvert group there are few vying for your attendance.
Mudsunami is the one planning on partying so hard it has to prep you via kickboxing classes. A fee of $60EC (about $23) gets you into their insanity. According to their website, they'll set you up with costumes, body paint, food and drink. They'll start their pre-J'ouvert celebrations from 2am-4am.
Winners of last year's J'ourvert, Xtreme Bucchanal is launching on 27 November. For the J'ouvert they're going to provide everything you can possibly think of to keep your energy up from midnight until..until, well until you drop some time the next day pretty much. They have a Facebook page going should you want to join or follow along.
I have to laugh that these groups have to provide you with a "wet down" after the party. You're covered in oily paint and sweat, so I'm guessing the wet down is a nice little bonus at the end.
The main parade with all the costumes will be on 1 January, so if you happen to be on a cruise ship that day, you just might get to see it. You never know what time these things actually get going. Here are some great pictures from a prior year. We found that standing near the beginning of the parade worked best (near Springfield Cemetery), and will probably do that again this year.
I have no idea what the Beach Bash cool down on 2 January is. I'm guessing the Carnival's Facebook page will detail it as it comes closer.
It all ends on 3 January with a last lap for those that want to get one final use out of their costumes. More pictures.