Carnival, pronounced car-ni-VALL (rhymes with ball), is essentially one big PARRR-TAY!! We had been dreaming of experiencing and participating in carnival since the moment we decided to take this trip. We plotted, skeemed and changed our plans several times, just to make sure we were somewhere where we could be apart of the culture. The original plan was to go to carnival in Columbia and then Trinidad, one of the biggest celebrations in the world. We scrapped that idea after getting just a wee taste of it during Dominica's opening ceremony. We decided a small town shindig might be more appropriate for the kids and a little easier to navigate without losing someone.
We altered our plans and spent less time in Grenada just to partake in the Carnival festivities in Carriacou. We arrived just a day before the party began. Erica and I scoured the internet and went ashore hoping to find some printed information on when and where the activities took place. No such luck. Smacking our foreheads with the palm of our hands, we remembered that we were in the islands and everything runs on island time. Who were we to expect anything to be printed on paper and events to actually happen when they said they would. So, we did the next best thing....asked the locals. They all looked at us like we had 3 heads and didn't know anything more than we did. We even resorted to asking the police officers, who were a little more helpful, but found it entertaining that 2 white women wanted to know so many details about carnival. Exhausted by 8 o'clock at night, we returned to the boat with a vague plan to watch and listen from the boats. We did find out that Jab Jab started at 5am and was literally a continuation from the Calypso band competition that started that night at 9pm (or when ever they got around to it).
Welcome to Carriacou
This guy is not dead, I promise. Perhaps, he had a little too much fun for one morning. This was the scene on the dock when we arrived at 7:30. That's as early as we could get up! Jab Jab or Jouvert starts very early and supposedly ends at sunrise. It is a blend of french words Jour Ouvert (open day). To be apart of Jab Jab, you cover yourself in body paint or oil, depending on the mas color you join.
The party was in full swing and it was well past sunrise. However, it's really hard to imagine what this was really like because you are missing.....
...the incredibly, obnoxiously, base thumping, can't hear yourself talk LOUD music! It doesn't even phase these people to be standing this close to the speakers. Craig said that we didn't have to breath, the concussion of the base would literally move air in and out of your lungs.
I guess he was part of the 'Lavender Mas'
This group is part of the Black Mas.
Kids washing off the paint in the water.
Yummy homemade coffee cake, mango and papaya for breakfast after our Jab Jab orientation
The many boats lined up at the pier. People come from all over to join in the party
If you look closely, there is a gentleman passed out on the beach oblivious to the waves crashing over his feet. This was in the afternoon when we came back for the parade.
The 'dinghy' dock was so full of dinghies, small fishing boats and big fishing boats, that we asked to tie up to one of the big boys. We had to climb from our dinghy into the first fishing boat (more like pull the kids up by the arms) and then jump to the second fishing boat that he was tied to that was finally tied to the dock. The most interesting part, was traversing over yet another passed out dude, right in the middle of the first fishing boat. There was never a dull moment!
Police presence before the parade
Cruising kids being resourceful. Passing the time collecting, sorting and playing games with beer caps. We were told by the ladies getting dressed in costume that the parade would start at 2pm. Finally, someone knew something. However, it didn't actually start until after 4pm! Go figure.
Anticipating the parade to start
The parade would not be complete without the very LOUD music on wheels!
The first lively group of ladies
Bodacious Tah Tahs: Priceless
Love their spirit!
I am not sure if Bryson wanted to hug her or run away
Even the men join in the parade - with way more clothing than the women!
Each group was preceded by a homemade banner of some sort
Isn't she the cutest thing you have ever seen?
Pretty cool costume!
Good ship lollipop!
Alladin's brother perhaps?
Kids participate too
Having fun at the parade
DAY 2: "Shakespeare Mas"
Kids start learning Shakespeare at a young age. They didn't hit each other but rather just hit sticks like fencing.
The crowd moves in to listen and cheer the competitors.
Hugs all around in the end
The face of a man having a good time!
The Hillsborough anchorage
Smoothie time...a reward for enduring the Shakespeare Mas
A little afternoon sail