Saturday, January 1, 2011

Must be Carnival!

Parades, costumes, loud music. Yep, definitely Carnival. I had planned on going to the Last Lap on Monday and had my bathing suit on yesterday to go to what I had hoped would be a quiet pool when one of Michael's guys wondered why he wasn't down at the parade. Ok - fine! So I threw on a cover-up, grabbed my camera, and hoped that my poor head could handle it (no I was wasn't hung over, still feeling under the weather and very sensitive to sound and smells). I sucked it up, we sped into town, parked ourselves near the cemetery (a lesson we learned last year), and settled in. Luckily, we've learned to travel with our camping chairs, so had them handy. Get ready for lots of pictures!

Here it comes!!





There are always weirdos in the parade, so here were a couple. Why did the chicken cross the road to hand out USA hats? I dunno. Why did two men dress in drag (the other one is discussed later) and a shiny guy bring along his snorkeling gear? Shrug.




The parade started with the kids/teenagers. Of course, it wouldn't be carnival without a few "clown" troupes. There is a story behind these folklore characters with bulls charging, sticks thrown, whips whipped, etc. and each troupe has slightly different costumes (e.g., masks).



There's usually a band including drums and a flute (although by the time the adults skipped through we were "treated" to the usual speaker trucks).



Here, the bull ran into the audience. I've got him on video getting a bit too familiar with a bystander.



A few cuties.



Here's an inkling of what they were like in person.



It was quite a colorful affair. The munchkins theme was a fit and healthy nation.



A few close-ups.



Once the kids passed through - the dreaded speaker truck led the adults. Whaaaa!



Their theme was beauty beneath the sea, so there were starfish, coral, angel fish, sting rays, that sort of thing (and maybe a couple of other themes).







A few close-ups of the adults having a good time. Check out the heels on some of these women. They would be marching for hours - were they nuts?!





The Mock Jumbys!



Now the best way to see these guys is via video - so here ya go.



This truck went by making nothing but noise. They were banging on drums, wheel rims, whatever. This wouldn't have been so bad except that they sat in front of us for-eeeev-er.

We actually had a lot of fun up until the very end when several booming trucks merged together and caused blood to come from my ears. Well, Michael said there wasn't, but it felt like it (must bring ear plugs next time). Here's the thing, one Calypso monarch won the Carnival song so they played it...a lot. But then along came the latest and greatest soca/Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" mix and then that was all we heard. ALL we heard. Sure the trucks were playing the same thing, but they were at different places within the song. Oy! Troupes were definitely a little more animated and better themed this year, but they kept getting bottled up. So after staying in one spot for so long (some for as long as 10 minutes), they looked bored, we zoned out, and then all of a sudden we'd realize everyone was moving again. Fire up the cameras!

There was one negative to the whole affair (the previous paragraph was more of an observation than a negative) when this very drunk guy (right - no comment on his outfit) slipped, fell, and hit his head hard on the pavement. Most thought he'd get up in his own time, he was really drunk, but when he didn't, and it was obvious that the guards standing around weren't going to do anything, a few people finally carried him off to the side. Now the guy was bleeding and was clearly unconscious, the army who was doing crowd control (or something) completely ignored the man on the ground. Yells to them to do something went nowhere and they just kept acting like nothing had happened and moved on. I have picture after picture of guards and police officers slowly walking by, staring absently at the scene and doing nothing. A police woman finally came over, called the hospital and left. (!!!!!). Bystanders were taking care of the poor guy, putting ice on his head, protecting him from the sun, etc. while anyone in fatigues just moseyed on by like it happens all the time. I wonder if one of their own was wounded if they would do anything - probably not. The best part though was when the ambulance came (about 10 minutes later) and again no one did anything to stop the parade to let the vehicle in. Once again, bystanders to the rescue. While the paramedics were loading the guy up, the parade participants (most of whom had no idea what was going on) kept trying to get around the ambulance. It was nuts! Bystanders brushed past the military one more time to get the ambulance out of there and the party continued. All I can say is wow. Don't rely on the authorities for anything here - ever...

To end on a good note however, we were quite impressed that they had their garbage picker uppers out at the end of the parade and the final vehicle was a trash truck. I was surprised it didn't have speakers on it though.

So the last lap is on Monday when people break out their sweaty costumes and gyrate one more time before planning for next year's Carnival! Today looks like it's going to be partly sunny/partly showery. The cool breezes are certainly refreshing. I've recovered from my pounding headache, which is a good thing because I think there is more music at high volume in my future. Woooohoooooo!