Saturday, December 8, 2012

Trinidad Carnival, The Greatest Show on Earth

YUMA Carnival Tuesday 2k11
The holiday season is upon us and while I prepare for the festivities my mind keeps travelling to thoughts of Trinidad Carnival.  I was fortunate to attend for the past two years after a three year hiatus.  Trinidad Carnival is the 8th Wonder of the World.  Playing mas with a band on Carnival Monday and Tuesday is the most fun I have ever had in my life. And I have been on this Earth for several decades.  I am referring to the infamous bikini bands that inhabit the streets of Port of Spain right before Lent starts. You have the hot Caribbean weather mixed with the pulsating sounds of soca music; with thousands of half-naked bodies gyrating up and down the streets, add all-inclusive alcohol and you have the recipe for the ultimate party.

If I were attending next February I would have registered for my costume months ago. I mourn the fact that I will not be taking part in the bacchanal next year.  I find solace in the memories starting in 1998 when I first played mas in the now defunct band, Barbarossa .  I felt an intoxicating rush when I crossed the Queens Park Savannah Stage under the moonlight with hundreds upon hundreds of revelers. I was instantly addicted. It is not too late for someone to plan a trip to next year's festivities.  If you ever have a chance you should go. As I reminisce I think about the some of the reasons I will miss Carnival 2k13 so bad:

1.  The Fetes.  
When it comes to partying Trinidadians have it down to a science.  Who else would have breakfast fetes that start at the break of dawn and last until midday. In my youth I partied non-stop from when I landed at Piarco Airport in Port of Spain until I flew back out again.   I have slowed down a bit, but I still enjoy the selective all-inclusive parties with a mature and safe crowd. 

Yuma 2k12
2.  Playing Mas.
To get the full essence of Carnival you must play mas. I love to dress-up in costumes.  Halloween is my favorite holiday, so putting on glitter, bright make-up, feathers and beads is much appreciated.  You feel ultra sexy not matter what shape you are when you put on your costume. The beauty of Mas is it is open to everyone willing to pay.  When I first started you could get a costume for under 200 US dollars, but now the average female costume costs $400 to $800.  It seems a bit steep but it is worth every penny.  The price includes costumes for Monday and Tuesday with accessories and a goodie bag for the road. Monday's costume usually consists of  a cute tee shirt and short pants ensemble. Three meals and snacks are provided both days along with the beloved all-inclusive drink trucks that accompany you on the road.  No need to walk with too much cash. You also get the luxury of playing in a band with security who enforce the no non-masqueraders rule, especially when crossing the Savannah Stage.  Nothing rivals this bacchanal.
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3. The Escape.
For about one week I escape from all of the problems and issues I left behind in the real world.  I can regroup, unwind and "have a time", as the Trinis say.  Life's daily toil is temporarily a thing of the past. Once the music hits you feel no pain.  It all culminates on Ash Wednesday, the day after the Carnival Season ends, you find yourself at the beach where you can relax your mind and body. The afterglow is in full effect.

4.  Fountain of Youth.
Age doesn't matter during carnival. Teenagers to senior citizens and everyone in between join the party.  All aches and pains are endured as you fete until your heart is content. You are a big kid again and your only concern is how much revelry you can pack into one day.

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5. The Opposite Sex

There are some fine men that attend the Carnival every year.  All that eye candy is a feast for the eyes. You meet gorgeous brothers from all over the globe who are there for the same reason you are, to party hard. The well sculpted bodies and handsome faces are in abundance. There is nothing better than to turn around and find a beautiful brother thiefin' a wine.

6. Motivation to Work Out.
When I grow up I want to be fit like her.
I am not the biggest fan of exercising. Months prior to Carnival approaching, I work out and watch what I eat in the hopes of looking nice in my costume.  I feel real good if I obtain my goal.

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