First of all, I want to say that I am trying to do the impossible. For a long time I have told many a man and woman that it’s impossible to describe to someone in words the experience of a trip to Trinidad carnival. After more than a year of writing for this blog I think it’s time to flex my writing muscles and try. I will now put carnival into words for those who have never been!
The following description will sound like the excited ramblings of a teenage boy in a go-go club, but do not think that I am frightened easily.
I started partying in the 1980s at university in Canada, touching clubs in Toronto and Montreal. This was followed by years of parties in the island continent of Jamaica. Including experiences in many a Temptation Isle independence weekend and Heroes weekend and innumerable all inclusive parties all over the island from the cheapest sweaty fete at Irvine hall reading room (UWI) to the most expensive Frenchmen new years experience. I am also not frightened by fancy drinks and stush crowds. One of the best parties I have ever attended was Taylor halls block F Pyjama Jam in around 1998 for about 50 Jamaican dollars….that’s about 2$us at the time. Fun and expense are often completely independent variables!
To the meat of the matter.
You step into Your first Lehwego recommended fete and take in the tropical ambience. Many of the all inclusives take place in venues akin to the garden of Eden (except apples are the only trees). You’re sexy and you know it, and so does everyone else. The difference with a carnival fete is the free-ing up that occurs once the crowd reaches. You can be standing up minding your business when women will set upon you like rabid dogs tearing a bunny rabbit a new one. As a man expect to be objectified, photographed, groped….you name it. The carnival virgin will be identifiable as the guy with the wide eyes and broadest smile.
Of course this is not happening all the time and to be objectified you must be a healthy looking and and physically fit object.
You have to do your work too, but instead of the usual tried and true formula of :
1. Try to get girls attention and an introduction…
2. Small talk…
3. Buy drink…
4. Beg a wine….
It goes more like this:
1. Eye con..WINE!
In fact the sneak attack is also usually acceptable.
The fetes are all variations on the above one step theme…for 5 days straight.
Jouvert takes things to another level. At this point you start to know the music and will learn to let loose at the parties. You will find yourself falling into a trancelike euphoric state initiated by your favorite song and fueled by Nuvo and Johnnie and the wine from the many many women. By jouvert you will be able to throw yourself into this state at will. Drunk with happiness.
Then comes Monday and Tuesday.
That kinda sums it up.
After the fetes and jouvert you think that it can’t really get much better, but you are wrong! From you reach your band at the muster point you will start to notice the wonderful ratio. The last time I played tribe the official ratio given by the organizers was 3 female costumes sold for every male. As a man you can skew this ratio in your favor even more by simply getting in the best shape you can. I have vivid memories in 2006 of passing through a section in Tribe and being THE ONLY VISIBLE MALE. I was literally surrounded by 50 women who spent a small fortune to reach carnival and have fun….Imagine the rest.
The feeling of euphoria is stronger on these 2 days. Your costume is as colorful as a tropical bird. You are part of a tribe! A tribe of 5000 smiling,happy, people. You dance till your feet hurt..till its all a blur of joy.
I cannot promise you that your experience will be the same but if you follow my blog’s advice it will be something you will likely remember, forever. And the best thing is that it gets better every year thereafter as you perfect your own experiences.
See you at carnival!