Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Survived Carnival 2012! And All I Got Was Partial Hearing Loss.

As I've said before, Carnival here in T&T isn't my thing. Unfortunately, it's a big deal to mostly everyone else so, in the media, it's "all hands on deck!" whether you like it or not.

Monday at 4 am was the official start to things with J'Ouvert. And, wouldn't you know it? I was lucky enough to get that shift. So, leaving my warm bed and loving wife at 2:30 that morning, I journeyed to St. James to spend the next 5 hours watching the seemingly endless masses of people dance in the streets covered in body paint and/or mud and/or chocolate (new this year). Since my phone doesn't do nighttime pictures well I waited until there was some light in the sky to snap a photo.
Nope, not blood. Just paint.
But that's not all. Carnival's main celebrations last two days. So that means, of course, I was out again yesterday. Yesterday was the BIG show: The "Parade of the Bands"! This is when masqueraders are out on the streets in full costume following the incredibly loud, incredibly large Music Trucks.
Yes, those are a shitload of speakers.
As you can guess those things are really loud. Where I was assignred I had to stand about 20 feet from where they set up and, even with ear plugs, I still haven't gotten my full hearing back yet.

There were some interesting displays, though.
Gaaahh!!! Mantisra's attacking!

But that's not all. Do you believe that through it all I had to put up with being surrounded by sights like this all day:
I know, right? Can you imagine? They're called "revellers" and they were everywhere!
You don't want to meet up with them unprepared. They are quite apt at performing the traditional Carnival dance known as "wining", which I believe translates to "impossibly loose waistlines that can rotate in any direction". The female reveller is especially ravenous and looking for any posterior to throw their own posteriors against to"wine" against.
The guy in the hat is my photographer for this assignment.
The average female reveller will wine on anything: Male revellers (preferably), police officers, street signs, onlookers, other female revellers, nothing and no one is out of bounds. Here's a brief clip of them in action (I suggest keeping the volume low. Plus, all the bass from the truck did a number on the sound quality):
One time during the day, I was getting a quote from a spectator and the next thing I know I was totally surrounded by them. Luckily, I managed to get back to the barrier before any gyrating waistlines got me. I was so scared.

I still don't know if my photographer made it out okay. He never came back to the office. Too bad. I liked him.

Today the paper are sending me to the Maracas beach to cover the after-Carnival cooldown concert. It's the most popular spot for revellers to go to continue wearing bikinis and partying for one more day.

Those bastards!

13 comments:

  1. Oh no, what a harrowing ordeal you had to endure. It must have been horrible. What ever could you do against all the gyrating and getting wined on. And you got paid? Oh the horror. Glad to see you survived.

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    Replies
    1. I think I'll have to take a sick-day & send The Paper my therapist's bill for the trauma.

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  2. Poor, poor you! You are truly suffering for your art.

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    Replies
    1. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

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  3. I actually kind of like stuff like this, but only in VERY small doses. I went to "Street Parade" in Switzerland a few times, and really quiet enjoyed it. But again, only for a little while, then I need my quiet again.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Too bad they don't 'do' small doses when it comes to T&T Carnival.

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  4. Sounds like great fun! And you ran away from the wining? Really? You're lying! Shame on you to lie to us! US!
    Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. It's the truth. I swear! I'm simply not ready to handle Carnival revellers.

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  5. Based on the first pic, I thought you ended up at the zombiepocalypse festival.
    Based on the rest, I think your photographer is doing fine.

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    Replies
    1. I like to think he's in a happier place.

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  6. I would probably feel the same as you. I would be interested. It would be great to see, but would grow tired of it fairly quickly.

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  7. Revellers? I really dislike you right now. Just rub it in for the people like me who may not ever get to see something like this. Seriously, great photos. The experience looks like a lot of fun.

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  8. At first I thought you were at a WoW convention. Wining? Will have to try that when I get home.

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