Washington DC Carnival: Taboo and Mud Mas

30 06 2008

I is a man I hadsworn off all N. American “Carnivals”……………..but d jumbie does just start kicking meh sometimes and dais exactly wathappen dis past weekend.  Everybody who I talk to about DC Carnival consistently talk bout 2 tings:  Mudand Taboo.  So we hit I95 south around 3pm and reach d hotel in Maryland around 7:30pm.  Take a small nap and hit d road to head to dis party call Taboo ah keep hearing bout.  D pace was a little difficult to find since ah was following online directions instead of the written directions they provided on the tickets.  We get there and d last time ah tink ah see so much police and  in a fete was………………NEVER.   Security was tight and ah like dat whenever an open bar involving so many people is involved.  Security running tings nice and dey setting up parking in a very organized manner.  So we park and enter d fete. 

 

For a moment I was transported back to Beach House in Trinidad, the scenery was very similar.  There was a DJ at d top and d buttom of d hill.  The food and most of the drinks was located at d buttom of d hill wit d reggae music.  D beers was on top of d hill wit d Soca music.  i wasnt hungry and ah wasnt in d mood to be climbing up and dung a hill so I parked myself poolside by a speaker.  D DJ was playing decent tunes but never had dat talent to give d fete dat push to d next level.  But den again d crowd was kinna more interested in socializing and matchmaking more dan partying.  I made a trek to the porta potty and there I overheard some woman badtalking d food but I cah talk fuh it since I eh eat none.  I did read in a online forum dat d food wasnt all dat great doh.  I realy didnt get into full lush mode becuase I was driving and was also discouraged by the long walk. 

 

Arrung 1:30’ish  things kinna picked up ut still not full throttle.  Eventually the foreign DJ from Trinidad started dropping some oldies but goodies which brought the crowd alive.  But with the hits came the lip which is a nasty habit that DJ’s have……oh gorsh jus play the music and doh bump yuh gums nah.  Since this was my first trip to DC I would be inclined to give Taboo another try.  Reason being I like their effort level with the location ambience and alcohol.  Yes folks there was plenty alcohol.  Plus they hadDJs  specifically for Soca and Reggae.  A minor tweeking here and there and it have potential to be a boss fete.  Honestly the crowd wasnt my kinna crowd but dat obstacle can be easily overcome with all the other ingredients that were present.  I left a bit early but I was told the fete went till like 5 am.

 

 

DC is MUD……….Georgia Avenue is MUD…….Canboulay is MUD

1) It was good dat we were able to register on d road.

2) It was bad dat for $40 yuh eh even  get a t-shirt…….but dey was selling dem fuh extra

3) It was extremely bad dat yuh had to line up like yuh begging fuh government cheese to get mud yuh already pay $40 for

4) It was bad dat yuh had to get d mud from a moving truck and run behind d truck

5) It was bad dat the idiots controlling the line was allowing folks to cut the line from the side and letting “special people” with no paid bands on their wrist on for the mud

6) It was bad that the DJ wasnt resourceful or creative enough to play a wider variety of music

7) It was bad dat d Carnival was advertised as ending at 5PM but ended 3:30

8) It was good that everybody behaved themselves and I eh see 1 fight

9) It was interesting that once again I was assaulted by some random women

10) It was HORRENDOUS that parentssaw it fit to have their infants out in the heat, noise and rain.  how fucking selfish and stupid are people.  If I had the number for child protective services I would of called them.  Imnot talking boutpeople with their children on the sideline spectating.  i talking bout people with theri infants in the middle of the bachannal.  When I saw the faces of these children I was really disgusted.  On the same note, if yuh physically unabale to walk and in a wheelchair, yuh relly shouldnt be in d mix ah tings either.   

11) It was bad dat dey didnt keep security in place till d end since dey did kno it was ending early.  By opening d band to the stormers paying patrons were denied the opportunity to salvage the shortened parade.  Ah mean come on……..$40…….no t-shirt………not even a cheese paste sandwich……….allyuh could do better.

 

12) It was so GOOD and made my eyes water to see so many people walking wit dey rum pouches, ah even see women wit dem.  Dat is a carnival tradition dat is rare and it was good to see dem ting on d road. 

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NottingHill Carnival Links

29 06 2008

Wish ah was going, maybe next year.  Here are ah few links that allyu might find useful:

 

http://jewelsdecarnaval.blogspot.com
and
http://rwbpromotionsuk.blogspot.com/





Where To Stay In Bimshire for Cropover

29 06 2008

Maybe ah shoulda tell allyuh dis like 2 months ago but better late dan never.  Fist ting to understand is dat Barbados is divided into parishes.  The parish that you ideally want to stay in is called Christ Church, this is in the Southern part of Barbados.  Now within Christ Church the jumping area is called St. Lawrence Gap.  Picture a stretch of road containing numerous restaurants and beach side hotels and condos.  At one end of The Gap you will find Dover and at the other end Maxwell.  Other nearby areas to stay are Worthing and Rockley.  Last year we stayed in  Dover and as far as I remember no taxi ride cost us more than $30 bajan dollars.  So these areas are very centrally located in order to get to fetes and d stadium for Kadooment Day.  The other good thing bout dese locations is dat you can walk to d beach and to buy food.

  I strongly recommend dat u book at least 6 months in advance…….oops dat was 4 months ago.  But if you search hard it not too late to find accommodations.  There is something for everybody budget……but remember wat yuh pay for is wat yuh go get.

 

Here are a few links that u might find useful:

http://www.terracaribbean.com/

http://www.barbados.org/barbados_apartments.php

www.rexrealty.bb

http://www.barbados.org/apploc.htm

http://www.intimatehotelsbarbados.com/

 

 

 

 





St. Thomas Carnival

8 06 2008

OK, yuh boy Midnght Robber Stickin. I know I have been MIA for awhile.. but certainly you understand. There were no carnivals to go to.  After Ash Wednesday there isn’t much to look forward to for several months.  But like all junkies…I need my fix and a true Junkie will scrap the bottom of the barrel to get that high. 

Hence, I found my way to the USVI visiting the beautiful Island of St. Thomas.  They just “happen” to be having their Carnival the weekend while I was there.  What a coincidence!!  Now I missed the week long festivities as I arrived on Carnival Friday so I can’t speak on the full slate of activities.  I missed their version of Jouvert, I missed Machel in HD and I missed several other events.

I did make it to “the Village” as they call it.  Its a giant parking lot with a stage, vendors outlining the entire area and a carnival/fair on one side with rides and games and such.  OK..its pretty kid friendly.  As a matter of fact…. there were alot of blasted kids there…and Im not talking just teenagers.  If you see the amount of little ones running the place.  If there is one thing I give the St. Tomians and Cruzans credit for. They will not let pregnancy or their multiple toddlers get in the way of their limin.  And not juss the women either.  You will see plenty fellas pushing strollers or child in arms liming all 1, 2, 3AM in the morning.   Very responsible fathers but yuh know, the toddlers really should be in dey bed.

Now I want to stress the fact that they “lime”.  These people don’t fete. They will stand and watch a band and not move.  I can’t even call them social. That would be a compliment.  They don’t seem to fond of DJ’s either.  A band will get on stage and not get off.  I witnessed the “SugarBand” performing. I thought they were pretty good for the full 3 1/2 hours they were on stage.  They don’t compare to the HD’s, Traffiks and Krosfyahs of the world but they were decent. But enough about “the Village” lets get to the real event.  MAS!!!

No..I did not play mas. I went purely as a spectator.  The parade route is short but moves pretty slowly so if yuh playing mas, the 10 blocks or so on the parade route will seem like 3 miles.  Its held on a relatively narrow road with limited room for spectators. But that works for them because….there arent that many spectators.  I moved pretty freely up and down the road.  Carnival in St. Thomas pretty much for the locals. Its not an event that would cater to “visitors” which is a good thing because MAS isn’t a commercial business for them unlike my beloved TnT. Its for their heritage… whatever that is.  It is a USVI so whatever they had is obviously diluted because of the heavy American Influence, but there is some there to appreciate.

So whats my impression of Mas in St. Thomas???  well… Its entertaining and amusing to say the least.  The bands come in 2 categories, small and very small.  Atleast that is what they looked to me.  Membership in some bands didn’t exceed 15.  The largers ones probably hit 50 masqueraders. They are big on dance routines.  Some bands are entirely teenagers.  Some with grown folks.  Some with creative themes. Some with playful funny themes.  Some with sexy girls..and of course..there were Mampees.  Lots and lots of Mampees. For a tropical island with beautiful beaches, Im a bit dumbfounded by the high percentage of women out of shape.  Maybe its my imagination but pictures don’t lie. And you know….I have alot of pictures.  So here we go!

rhelly, rhelly big mampees

 

 Comical Themes

No Shortage of Bamcees

Dance Routines

It Rained

Some Presentations look Rhell nice

Some were… “interesting”

And down right ridiculous

They were Patriotic

They were political

 

But all it all, it was an experience. The USVI is beautiful enough to visit anytime. I wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure Im there for carnival though.  As I stated, its really not for the outsiders, or so it seems.  Its entertaining…but not exciting.  USVI will see me again.  Their carnival may not….but the Island will.

If you want to see the full 323 pictures..you can visit our friends over at Phatjamz.





Caaaaaaah Wait Till Kadooment Day

8 06 2008

[odeo=http://studio.odeo.com/audio/19381063/view]

 

Last Year was meh virgin voyage into Bimshire.  It took a lot of planning and research for places to stay, fetes to attend and which band to play mas with.  We were 3 deep for this trip and b4 we were finished feting d first night we all agreed that we would be back for another year.  Well we  reach yet and we are feigning to touch down again and we 4 deep dis time.  Unfortunately we cannot commit for a 3rd year because we not too happy with the rising cost to attend this Carnival.  So after Kadooment Day we going to see how we feel bout tings and make as decision fuh next year.  Next few posts I go be focusing on the important components of Cropover.   Why did I choose to go to Barbados as opposed to the other Islands that have a Summer Carnival.  Well since the Bajan Invasion of Trinidad during the mid 90’s I have been a huge fan of their Soca music.  So my initial attraction to this island started with the music and have branched off into other components of their culture.    





D Boro of Oil and Music: Point Fortin Borough Day

3 06 2008

[odeo=http://studio.odeo.com/audio/19341623/view]

 

Honestly ah was looking to take a break from work and was looking to go St. Maarten fuh dey “Carnival”.  Now I eh trying to shit dem up or nuttin eh…….and ah go keep it short in order to stay on task wit d original topic………but dey doing ah piss poor job of promoting dat “Carnival”.  Website had limited pictures of past Carnival and the Even Calendar included NON-SOCA acts…………NO NO NO.  Carnival=Soca/Calypso………….NUTTIN ELSE.  Ok ah dun vent…….on wit d show.

 

History of Point Fortin and Borough Day

The 1783 Cedula of Population was ultimately responsible for the naming of Point Fortin, since the area took the name of a Frenchman, Fortin, who settled there under that law.  When the British arrived in 1797, they did not disturb the functioning of Fortin’s sugar-cane estate.  With the abolition of slavery, the agriculture industry went into decline and so did the whole region, until the late 1800s when crops like cocoa and coconuts revived the industry and the Point Fortin area.

More changes were to come, however – in 1906, a geologist, Arthur Beeby-Thompson, found oil at Guayaguayare and the rest, as they say, is history.  Point Fortin grew into an oil town.  It rode the wave of opulence during the 1990’s oil boom and withstood the economic ravages of the subsequent recession.  The area still shines brightly today as an oil and natural gas hub, home to the Atlantic LNG plant as well as other oil and gas company headquarters.

 

The Borough Celebrations started somewhere around the mid-eighties. It came at a time when Point Fortin was in an economic downturn. With the removal of Trintoc from Point Fortin, there was a great call-out in the society for job opportunities. At that time, the then council adopted a rather radical move to try to use culture as a means of creating economic activity in the area, and so was born ‘Pan on the Move’. The Borough Day Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Trinidad and Tobago. We also have a very educational aspect to it.

 

Ok enuff ah all dat long talk…….on wit d show.  PRESSURE………ah reach HOME……….but is like EVERYBODY……come home wit me.  In meh 15 years of travelling back to Trinidad I eh never see so much people waiting to clear Immigration……not Even fuh Carnival.  Now it takes a special person to be ah government worker in sweet T&T………now as long as dat frikken line was and it bend all how, dat damn immigration officer never speed up he pace and he eh even raise he head up when d gal next to meh “faint”.  D good news was afer she “faint” dey decide to turn d AC on and dey was even kind enuff to let people wit children and pregnant women skip ahead.  But d move of d day was dat dem dumb dumbs finally realize dat it was time to open some more entrance booths. 

Well its Friday and me and meh pardna jus gaping bout d place since meh bredder say we go reach down Point fuh like 2 a.m…………which mean we leaving Town arrung midnight.  So we gape bout we area den went down Woodbrook side to see wat going on.  Pass by Legacy Mas Camp ad yuh could see dem busy still dealing wit costumes.  Chocolate City not too far from dem and dere Camp had some life in it also.  We go by El Picos and grab some food……….Cro Bar closed fuh renovations……..eh relly feel like dealin wit d madness in d games……..so we head back to home base.  Call meh bredder back he push d departure time back to 2 a.m.  But like dis man name go have to change to BWEE.  No scene, go home take a nap and get back up at 2.  We leave town arrung 2:40 a.m. and is PRESSURE.  Once we get off d high right b4 La Brea is all kinna traffic and amateurs hitting dey peak TOO early.  Wat ah mean by TOO early.  Car running off d road like is a tight rope dey walking on 1 foot.  If yuh cah drive and yuh cah drink…………….leave both up to d professional.  So after dodging chupidess on and off d road we finally reach point arrung 4:30 a.m. 

 PRESSURE………………Traffic and no wey to park.  But Trinidad is a place where big events gives birth to entrepeuners…………….there is a woman charging $40 to park fuh d whole day in she yard.  She eh care bout d peas that growing “drive over dat”……….back ah d house, side and front……….she parking everybody.  Next year ah feel she go charge more, because she coulda charge $100 easy and people woulda pay it.  So we load up we rum pouches and we on d way.  As we walking ah tinking to mehself we relly stick boy.  Trucks pumping music and d bands organized and ready to roll.  I havent been a spectator during a Carnival in Trinidad since 2003 and swore never it let it happen no where in d world again.  But yuh snooze yuh lose.  Being a spectator to me is not fun and sucks.  So in short as a result of our lack of planning we were left to wander about the place like some gypsies.  And for the most part that is what most people were doing.  There were no real set base where you would find a solid contingent of people liming and having a time.  Thh thing that I did appreciate with the sidewalks and streets jampacked was that people were well behaved.  Although there were later reports of violence, we did not witness any.  My brother did say that the uniform police presence was less than pass years though and from the looks of things it looked like the same cops you would see patrolling fetes fuh Carnival, were the same ones in Point. 

 

There is a moment of clarity dat I does get during every Carnival or Fete, I think weed smokers does get it and describe it as their time of meditation.  Well I doh smoke, but maybe its dat Johnny Walker dat does put meh into dat state of meditation where things start getting like d Matrix.  As ah was standing on d streets ah started seeing Carnival in a pure and not commercialized state.  Children, women and men enjoying being part of the festivities although they were not active participants.  There was a distinct difference between the energy that was coming from these onlookers as opposed to the folks in Town.  Revellers were able to make their own costumes and galavant around the streets without any prohibitions.  And yes, there was Mud, Oil and Powder.  I fella was dressed in a suit and had a sign saying “D PM Say I Is Ah Wajang”……….in reference to the recent firing of Keith Rowley by Prime Dunce Patrick Manning, and Manning saying Rowley was getting on like a Wajang. 

 

Overall I was satisfied with the effort I saw by Jouvert bands and all masqueraders.  The bands appeared to be well organized and their members looked as if they were having a time.  I know that there was online information on Saucy Blog and Point Alive for band registration, but I would like to see more information available via the internet.  I doh have a clue what happen wit d pretty mas, but God willing next year ah go know, 

 

God willing next year I will be better prepared and have more to share.  And b4 ah fuhget.  When yuh go down Point fuh Borough Day yuh have 2 options.  Yuh either leave by 8am to beat d traffic heading back out or stay d entire day.  We made d biggest mistake and leave arrung 11.  We eh reach town till after 3.  PRESSURE.  So next time we going to jus make it a weekend trip.  No jus dipping in and dipping out.

 

Enjoy these handful of pics that I was sober enuff to take.  I know I suck because I dont take enuff pics but ah getting better.