Friday, 11 May 2012

It's Carnivaaaaal - Part 2

(Read Carnival Part 1 here.)

As promised, with a break for the everlasting technical difficulties, here is more of the neon, noise, and food that make up St. Thomas Carnival. There are two parades during Carnival week, a children's parade on Friday and the adult parade on Saturday. Both parades are made up of the same essential elements: neon feathers, neon sequins, steel pan, mocko jumbie stilt dancers (yup, not really walkers. dancers.), speakers the size of your living room strapped to flat bed trucks, and huge dose of cultural pride. The biggest difference marking the two parades is that on Friday the participants are smaller and drink gallons of water as they travel the many-hours of parade route. On Saturday the participants are larger and drink gallons of rum as they travel the many-hours-long parade route. In my observations, most other differences in the parade stem from those two.

So the Rising Stars are a fixed entry at both parades. In my opinion, they should be a fixed entry every day of my life. Seriously, I wish they'd be my alarm every morning. I might even get up without hitting snooze if I got to listen to them. And don't let the sound fool you in this totally not-professional video taken with my point and shoot camera. They're loud. I mean it's three double decker trailers worth of metal drums and mallets. Played by high school kids. You can't hear the person talking next to you even if they're yelling into your ear. (Side note: this is actually a video from a past year because we had a slight crappy parade viewing spot this year. Other side note: the kids don't participate in the gallons of rum consumption in the second parade.)

Okay, now we're going to play a game of little parade/big parade. Ready?

Little parade girlies shakin' it for the camera:

Big parade girlies shakin' it for the camera:

Little parade pajama ghost people:

Big parade pajama ghost people:

Little parade elaborate costumes:

Big parade elaborate costumes:

Little parade mocko jumbie (who won't look at my camera):

Big mocko jumbie with ninja-like skills on stilts:

And in case you were ever curious how one would interview a mocko jumbie, this is it:

On your way home, or during a part of the parade where you are too hot and sweaty to continue standing on the uncomfortable wall that is your parade perch, you can hit up one of the food trucks. Nothing like delicious vegetables and tofu wrapped in deep fried pastry goodness on a hot, hot day. If you're lucky, it will have lava hot oil still dripping out the bottom of the pastry onto your leg. (I was lucky.) Wash it down with a drink made out of flowers.

After going home, showering, napping, and arguing with your spouse about whether or not you have actually had a long enough nap to give you the energy to go out again, you get dressed and go out again. To the village! Live music so loud your ears start throbbing! More deep fried animals for eating sold out of sheds!  Rides that I firmly believe might actually derail at any time and kill you! 

Other than changing up the live performances, village is pretty much the same every night of the week. Except after the adult parade on Saturday. That's the official end of Carnival and it's celebrated with a rather impressive fireworks display. Don't expect any cost cutting to be happening with those explosives. They're done up big every year and it's one of the best annual fireworks displays I've seen. They set them off from a barge in the harbor so Seth and I usually just watch from our porch. And then we get to watch the thousands of cars down below us stuck in gridlock traffic as everyone tries to escape the village at once. Bye Carnival. See you next year.

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