Monday, December 26, 2011

Jouvert 2011

So how was everyone's holiday celebrations? We had a nice Christmas Eve gathering with the usual crowd - I was shocked to see an actual paved walkway (it's usually boarded) - decked out in Christmas lights no less.

The next day, I actually forgot all about it being Christmas until Michael mumbled Merry Christmas to me at about 10:00am. Oh yeah! Let's open the presents my Mom brought us! And take them to the beach!

The umbrella was not having any of it in the gusty winds and almost impaled a woman down the beach, but Michael was able to wrestle it back (not sure why he didn't just close the thing).

Luckily, the backpack with speakers worked like a charm.

What we're going to need next time is a lid for our pots. This was our final one. Glass lids are stupid...

And then...Not again! That says 2:11...a.m. Oy. Last time it was for a marathon, this time for j'ouvert. What is j'ouvert? Carnival, in general, is a masked celebration started in Europe, brought over to the islands, and then intermingled with African traditions by the slaves who wanted to have their own party. What I can't figure out is why the two parades - one at dawn (j'ouvert or jour ouvert means dawn/day break) and the other at a decent hour a few days later - co-exist. Why oh why must we get up at 2am??


Michael terrorizing the cats. No wonder they run when he stomps near them.

And then we were the dark. The two most important trucks were onsite at least - the beverage truck and the band.

Actually, there was one truck missing. The Port-O-Potty truck. Let me just say that someone better really sanitize the next harvest of sugar cane. I wouldn't go down an alley-way downtown any time soon either (reminds me of home, NYC). I think we could use a good rain. Anywho, there was a DJ playing the tunes we'd be hearing for the next 8 hours doing his thing and people were showing off their altered t-shirts. That was an "X marks the Spot" for the Shiggidy Shack. Remember, this was the Shiggidy Shack Winn Jammers Buccaneers troupe. You'll note they're not shy here nor are there any body-type issues.

As a matter of fact, our band was the Small Axe Band and they had just cut a new song called "Drop de Soap." I"m not kidding. The lyrics went something like "Soap Drop...Bend over and pick it up." So guess what I'm doing.

So before we get started, play this song (here's the link for you not seeing it embedded) and make sure it plays the entire time you read this post. I know I've told you this before, but you must play it LOUD and often.

While everyone lined up and we waited for something unknown, Michael climbed up this rock trying to get a better vantage point. I went into hysterics when I thought he looked like George Washington.

We started out pretty well, but incredibly, it took us over 1 1/2 hours just to shuffle, grind, and pick up soap to the starting point in downtown Basseterre. It wasn't that far, but we were going that slow. And it was still dark.

We knew a few people and the paint bandits were running around doing their thing.

Hey! What was this "Angel" doing in our group - we're competing! Kimba! Angel, my a**.

There were people on the sidelines dressed up in various odd ensembles, as well. Not sure if they were part of other troupes or just getting into the spirit.

OMG! Is that the sun coming up behind Michael?? Carla is celebrating.

We can see! Hey - we know more people. What do you mean you've been here the whole time? Oh goodie, now all my pictures are coming out blurry (%#*$!)

Mungu had some great tattoo art.

I hope these people knew we were coming through. Good Morning, St. Kitts!

Actually, the closer we got to town, the more people we picked up.

Oddly, this was John - the one-man troupe that was the Love Parade. His flag hit an electrical wire at one point, but that didn't stop him. An angry crowd tired of being hit in the head by it and run over by his cart did though.

Pee break! There's our troupe from afar.

Finally! We were at the starting point. Jeez. The tractor guy looked thrilled too. Now we got to wait for the other troupes to pass while going at their own snail pace.

Our competitors were: The Biggest Loser Troupe; Xtreme Jouvert Troupe (Generation Xtreme Road Fete); Stay with the Best Carib Beer Jouvert Troupe; Red Devils (Devils & Angels); Love Parade; and Kittitian Safari. They all had their own bands playing (like Grand Master or NuVybes) and they were competing as well. We'd had a route we had to follow (twice!) and had judges in various locations seeing who had the biggest, most creative, and most enthusiastic troupes as they passed by (here's the Carnival Facebook page if you want the low-down).  Once in town, it was just insane. People were on the walls and bridges dancing, singing, and showing their support. Brace yourselves cruise ship passengers!

These guys at Ballahoo had a good viewing spot (perfect for the daytime Carnival parade coming up in a few days too).

People outside the troupe came in and just started gyrating. If you can't beat 'em; join 'em. Time for more paint!

Oops, someone's dropped de soap!

Every once in a while I'd put the camera over my head and take a backwards shot only to find that some randy reveler had his cucumber up against my bumper (a phrase from one of my favorite soca songs). Too funny.

It got a little hairy at one point when some idiots started chest bumping. Hard. They started getting mad at each other, while continuing to do it, and I was glad Kimba had my back (literally) to push us past the morons. The guys later got confronted by security - Make 'em walk the plank!

Mr. X played dress up, which involved a carved cane, engraved/wooden goblet, and even a lit cigar. He sort of looked like Poseiden up there.

Can you see how incredibly packed it got? I was right up against the tires of the tractor. It was nuts!

Really Michael? Blimey.

Put your hands up!

When I started getting engulfed in BBQ smoke (gross), I knew it was time to call it quits.

Plus I was getting leg cramps I was so dehydrated (I refused to have to pee again). So we made it through one pass and decided to call it a day. We had lasted 6 hours, about 5 hours longer than I thought we would. I'd cross it off my bucket list, but I can't say this was ever on there. It was fun though.  Here's a short video if you really want to get the feel of it. It's jumpy because we were getting shoved forward like in a NYC subway. WinnFM posted some pics too.

What I'm really frightened about is that I didn't have to put my cotton balls in my ears. Have I gone deaf? Gotten used to it?? Actually, when we got up to the speaker truck in front of us (Grand Master), it was so loud you couldn't even understand the words. I"m pretty impressed that our group kept it...quiet(er). This is now Pirate Michael. He doesn't look much different than Zura who didn't understand the 2am wake-up call either. I'll look like that as soon as the sun sets.