Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Whole Truth...

Okay, please bear with me as I dust the cobwebs off of my poor deserted blog, and try to re-hone my neglected writing skills. Ahem--

Have you ever had so much fun that you kind of didn't want to tell anyone about it? Like the fun should just be your little secret? Almost as if the words of your merriment left your mouth, the sanctity of the fun-ness might very well leave with them?

It's kind of like buried treasure. There are no exciting maps and treasure hunts for non-buried treasure, then it's just regular treasure, accessible to everyone and thus much less exciting.

Or maybe it's more like a secret recipe; after all, KFC wouldn't be what it was today if everyone knew how to make it. There would be no allure, no secret. Well, Carnival in Trinidad is like a secret recipe for the most wildly entertaining revelry you are likely to experience in a lifetime. And you could not begin to decipher the ingredients of this recipe unless you simply taste it for yourself. Unfortunately, I took such a big taste and it was so delicious that my taste-buds will never be the same again.

Wining.
The whole truth is, I wanted Carnival to remain safely as my little secret, which is why it has taken me four months to even consider leaking the excitement. However, as an aspiring travel writer, it would hardly be sensible to say, "Hey readers! I just came back from _____ (insert any fantastic location here) and it was SO amazing that I can't even tell you about it." I figured that probably wouldn't work.

So, since you must experience it yourself to fully understand, I will do my best to share a taste of the experience, a sample of the bacchanal (def. an occasion of wild and drunken revelry) and do my best to prepare you for what would be in store (useful Trini lingo included):

  • First and foremost, if you can't picture yourself doing this and liking it, Carnival is NOT for you.
  • If you get past that and decide you want to be right in the thick of things, please continue reading. 
  • You must let go of all other aspects of yourself and your life and just be one with the Carnival and the freeness, otherwise you will not get the full effect.
  • You MUST learn to wine (def. to gyrate, to move your hips in a suggestive manner). That is the sexy dance you pretty much see everyone doing ALL the time. Without this knowledge, you may be in trouble. "How to wine for Boys" and "How to wine for Girls." Because girls, it is really all about you. There are many other bamsees (def. buttocks, bottoms, backsides) to wine on, and the gentlemen will move on if you don't know what you are doing. 
  • In Trinidad, Carnival takes place on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday every year. Plan to arrive at least a week before Carnival Monday as there will be fêtes (def. celebrations, festivals or really big parties) to attend. There is at least one every night, often more than one. They have different themes, are hosted by different schools and organizations, and are often all-inclusive meaning you pay one price to eat, drink, and be merry for the entire night. It is wise to drink your money's worth.
  • When you leave the fête, stop for doubles (def. curried channa served between two pieces of fried bread) Yum. Unless you enjoy your mouth being on fire, slight pepper will do.
  • Prepare to get dirty. J'ouvert is a large street party that marks the opening of the Monday and Tuesday festivities. To celebrate, participants smear paint, mud, cocoa and the like all over themselves and everyone else. Do not be one of those people that doesn't want to get dirty. If you are, stay home. Note: you will still be washing paint, mud, and cocoa from all parts of your body by Ash Wednesday. 
  • Learn to wine.
  • If you want to wear a costume, participants are divided into Carnival Bands. There are tons of different ones, they all have different themes, different costumes, and different vibes. Find one that suits you and order your costume very early because they will sell out and you'll find yourself scrambling for whatever is left at the last minute. 
  • The costumes are VERY small so get in the gym if you want to be at your best, or don't, but decide to be very comfortable with your body. You will see all different sizes and shapes of exposed bodies feeling very comfortable and proud of whatever they are working with. 
  • The people are very friendly, and strangers wine on one another as though they have been acquainted for a lifetime. Learn to accept the friendliness, or travel in large groups. 
  • Learn to wine.
  • Guys, the girls are very sexy. Girls, the girls are very sexy. Everyone bring your A-game.
  • Do not try to find yourself a doo doo darling (def. a sweetheart, a loved one). While the eye-candy could fill up an M&M factory, it is best to just look. This is a time of too much freedom and no one is looking to be tied down for tomorrow night's fête.
  • Trinis party harder than anyone else in the world, this is the best place to learn how to do it right so join the fun.
  • Lastly, learn to wine, seriously. Just wanted to be sure I drove this point home. When you have finished the lessons above, you want it to look like this. Ladies, if you can make it look like this and have donned your scanty Carnival costume, congratulations you are on your way to becoming a fully-fledged bess ting (def. derived from 'best thing' used to describe a sexy girl). 
J'ouvert!

Carnival or more accurately pronounced, cahneeval, is a "farewell to the flesh" It is a pre-Lenten festival to allow one last chance to party before giving up alcohol, revelry, and song for the 40 days of Lent. So...after you have learned and partaken in the above; it is time to behave yourself! And then after Lent, you are free to be back at it. 

Sometimes when I am really missing the bacchanal , I stand on top of a cooler in my bedroom, blast my soca music and imagine myself right in the middle of a cooler-fête (def. party to which you bring your own drinks in a cooler, then possibly dance on top of the cooler; sturdy coolers required) having the time of my life. I am sick, I know. But once you taste it, I promise, you are never the same again.  
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