Monday, February 20, 2012

J'Ouvert - It's All French to Me!


How does one describe J'Ouvert in Trinidad? If a picture paints a thousand words (pun intended), then you might just have a feeling for how crazy and fun this traditional street party was! We got up at 2:00am so that the girls (Brooke & Corey) could do their make-up. This includes sparkling eye shadow and bright colors. Of course this fancy-free, clean and fresh look would soon be marred by the pink and blue paint chosen by our Fantasy "band". You see, the tradition of J'Ouvert in Trinidad is to kick off Carnival by getting "dirty" and partying from 4:00am until sunrise. Some bands chose cocoa, others chose mud, and we joined the paint squad. By morning's start, we were covered in all including a dash of rum, vodka, and beer.

Corey makes Glen pink
So, our entire Fantasy band (over 500) met at what I will call our muster point  at 3:45am to start getting our dirty on.  At precisely 4:00am the celebration began with a procession through the streets of St. James, Port-of-Spain. Now, this is not your run of the mill procession, but rather, the perfect blend of Soca music, Carnival style dancing and an open bar! For those who do not know (like me previously), Soca is a style of music native to Trinidad and Tobago. It has its roots in Calypso with an influence of both cadence (Dominica) and East Indian rhythms of chutney (a distinctly Trinidad style). The party continued until after sunrise and ended with breakfast, which we skipped in favor of much needed sleep. 

Post-J'Ouvert!
In the end, it was an amazing experience and one that many (young or young at heart) should add to the bucket list. We have yet to visit Rio in Brazil, but I must say that this did not disappoint. Trinidad is fiercely proud of their Carnival celebration and, in fact, it is known as, "The Greatest Show on Earth". If you are ever faced with a debilitating choice as to where to attend Carnival, I hereby give a strong recommendation for Trinidad. Cheers!

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