Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stonehenge

Time for a quick background on the two faces you’ll be seeing a lot of in the next few weeks of posts. First, Hayden should look familiar to most you “experienced followers” as he was just with me in Peru and Costa Rica. I take partial responsibility for giving him the travel bug… I’ve heard it can be contagious!

Here’s a fun collage of some of our last trips abroad together.

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Then there’s Mike. A fellow friend that I would describe as having supreme intelligence in the subjects he studies and an open mind that welcomes intriguing conversation at all times. We grew up with Hayden and all have remained to be a close friend throughout the years. Here’s a photo of me and Mike from 15 years ago (before the sweet dreads)!

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Now, the three of us connect to for a mini Eurotrip. They’ll be joining me as I visit old travel friends and I’ll get to watch them experience the lifestyle of over seas for the first time.

We met in the New York City airport before boarding our flight to our layover in Iceland. I’ve been told that Iceland is beautiful, but I had no idea how tempting it would be to visit after just a quick transfer! The flight crew, the videos of what they offer and the inviting airport was enough for me to look into volunteering there.

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The weather was a bit shocking to us after leaving Summer in the states and landing here. (Side thought: I feel like this poster might suggest that some may think 40 years old is old. Silly thought right?).

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Finally landing in London, we jumped on a direct train to Salisbury which will be our overnight stay before seeing Stonehenge. Our hostel of choice was an adorable family owned bed and breakfast with great location and welcoming hosts. For more info, check out the Spire Bed and Breakfasast.

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A couple quick pics of our room and the breakfast stand.

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Check out this cute little city holding traditional pubs, tourist shops, historic cathedrals and a unique formation that makes for an entertaining handstand shot!

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First dinner for the boys in England? They went with fish n’ chips and a juicy hamburger with veggies. Dessert made up of a sweet fruit cider.

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Waking up early to catch the first bus to Stonehenge was highly suggested by the owners of the bed and breakfast. Thankfully we listened as our bus wasn’t nearly as packed as the ones to follow!

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Im not sure anything can prepare you for the “wow factor” that hits your attention as you approach the massive boulders of Stonehenge. Most of us have seen pictures and some may have even studied it, but it’s incredible to see first hand. How did they get there? Where are the other stones? What did it all represent and for what purpose? Although I could go on and on about the religious representation or the human burial beliefs remaining here, I’ll let you research the history on your own. Amazing to think that it’s believed to have been built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC!

Although you’re not allowed to touch them, a walk around the scenery is definitely enough to give you a proper idea of the entire property.

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Why is everyone on the phone? No, that’s just the informational audio device that is complementary as you walk in. I just thought it was funny that it always looked like everyone was just chatting away at such a historic site.

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Lets pause for a minute and bring back some photos that have now made there way into a tradition. First Machu Picchu, then Yosemite…

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…and now, Stonehenge!

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Finishing up brings us to a nice grass area that allows Mike and I to have some crystal talk about our favorite stones and let the magnitude of this place be fully absorbed.

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Creative photo of the day!

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Now it’s time to take another ride, this one is to the big city of London. I felt the need to bother my boys for a bit of “time eating” fun on the train. I’m assuming my abundance of energy came from the excitement knowing that our next set of accommodations happens to be with another familiar face (to be exposed in the next post)!

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England… To be continued!

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

A pit stop on the East Coast

After an energy packed trip in Barbados and a tight schedule ahead of me in Europe, I found a small pit stop on the East Coast of the US being a great option. Not only was it a perfect addition to the journey, I got to stay with long time friends who are definitely considered to be family of mine.

First there’s Jennifer, a beautiful, bold and honest woman that won’t hesitate to speak her mind. I met her when slap bracelets and New Kids on the Block first made there debut. Although you’d probably enjoy a photo from 20 years ago, here we are back in California just a few years back.

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After growing up together in the same little town of Folsom, she has now relocated (conveniently for me) to the East Coast. Since my long layover was in New York, this was the perfect time to put her apartment to good use!

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To match her fun loving personality, is her companion of 7 years, Mark. This hard working guy presents a welcoming vibe that goes beyond an open door and big smile. Between the two of them, I felt right at home!

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This trip was centered around a quaint get-away to the Thimble Islands. First things first, grab the snacks, load up and head out! That adorable little guy in between us is Chopper (I called him Chomper for the first two days… Oops).

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The miniature man you see here is son of the other fun couple that we got to relax with, meet baby Luke.

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A quick jaunt to their property and it’s time to unload and settle in.

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I’m just going to post a few fun photos from the peaceful memory of a relaxing weekend with great people.

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You can’t really tell, but there was a lot of great movement going on here! What weekend wouldn’t be complete without a 30 second dance session?

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The boys didn’t partake in the boogie due to the preparation for their “clamming” (term for a common way to harvest clams). This can be done with a pitch fork, tongs, shovel or by the good ol way… your feet!

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As if the weekend wasn’t already exactly what I had been looking for, we’re blessed with this gorgeous sunset that added unbelievable colors for our evening conversation and a vibrant handstand shot!

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Thank you so much Jenn, Jen, Mark and John. Cheers to fancy movie projectors, lobster dinners and a new game that will forever have me giggle when I hum “It’s gettin hot in here”.

Sneak peak of the crew for the next leg of the journey… Flight to London!

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Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

The rest of Barbados is a coconut shell

Time to wrap up the eventful visit to my favorite island of Barbados. You’ve seen the controlled chaos of the mud and paint party in Jouvert followed by the boat cruise of big kids pretending to be adults. Hopefully you giggled at the 5 “not so” well known facts and thoroughly enjoyed the energy of Kadooment!

Now it’s time to bring you the other side of my journey through the land of “The bearded ones”, which is the original name given do to the islands fig trees that have hanging roots resembling a beard. Since we’re already talking about fig trees, lets just jump into more scenery that you may find while driving, walking or exploring around.

This is on the path to Cherry tree hill for the gorgeous panoramic view overlooking the “Scotland District”. What used to be an orchard of Cherry trees, is now a street lined with towering mahogany trees, perfect for a handstand picture!

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Once reaching the peak, you have a wide view of the north part of the island, better known as the parish of St.Andrew. Another handstand for sure, this time accompanied by Ryan and his inverted pose as well!

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Let’s dive right into the beaches! None of the photos below have been edited to enhance the color of the water, sand or sky… It’s just that gorgeous! In fact, the first photo was taken from a car window while driving south on the west coast.

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What a glorious convenience that my dear friend and host Ryan teaches stand up paddle boarding. I score every time it’s “take your buddy to work” day!

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This is the end of his “sunset lesson”. If you’re headed to the island and desire some SUP (stand up paddle boarding) please contact me… I know a phenomenal instructor!

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Houses, markets, street sights and more!

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This girl (that’s me) loves to eat and it’s easy to do so around here! Between the Caribbean treats and the local flare, it’s hard to go hungry on this island of flavor. Please don’t hesitate to let the next set of photos make you drool, ok maybe just strike a bit of hunger.

This is one of my favorite dishes to get here and its not hard to find being one of the most popular quick bites on the island. Although the origin of the Roti is from India, it’s also well known in Trinidad and has made its way into other parts of the Caribbean. From various meat to shrimp or just good ol vegetables, the curry sauce and mango chutney won’t do you wrong. You can get it wrapped up or my personal favorite way, with the “insides” on a plate and the Roti wrap separate to be torn and dipped with your digits!

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Fish cakes are another ideal Barbadian snack food that can be served in rustic rum shops as well as elegant cocktail parties. Deep fried with salt fish, flour, egg and spices it certainly makes for a greasy treat that leaves you either wanting more… or a gym.

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Sushi on an island? Of course! This was privately ordered through a local woman who makes every dish directly from her home kitchen to yours. Due to the popularity and effort she puts forward, you have to order at least 24 hours in advance before you drive out and pick it up.

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Since chain fast food restaurants are limited (thank you Barbados!) you’re more likely to find a street vendor offering fresh made food and side dishes. Here’s one of our favorites that’s conveniently located on the drive home, The Rock Net Grill. With juicy options and service with a friendly smile, you can’t go wrong with this late night treat!
Side note: Its an average of 2 Barbadian to 1 US dollar.

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On the side of the road you can find home mixed juices ranging from Golden apple with ginger to the floral flavor of Sorrel. Considering this is where sugar cane is harvested and Rum is said to be created right here, “Rum punch” is the top seller of mixed drinks.

Fun fact: George Washington insisted on a barrel of Barbados rum at his 1789 inauguration!

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Keeping a healthy choice in mind, this gorgeous place holds one of the number one purest forms of liquid next to clean water… coconut water! For a longer list of this amazing drink and its benefits, I found a great website to checkout at www.coconutwaterlife.com

My favorite fun fact of this magical beverage: During World War II, coconut water was injected into the veins of soldiers when medics were out of blood plasma because it has the same electrolyte balance, thus appropriately called “the fluid of life.”

Although they sell it in stores and off the street, I’m lucky enough to watch my friends gather their own right in the backyard! Bajan cherries and coconut water for a snack, yes please!

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The hidden treasure below won’t be found in the “top 10 things” to do in Barbados…. But it should be! From jewelry to coffee, organic veggies to fresh meals, this place starts every Sunday off just the way it should be.

My favorite magnetic stall is ran by two angelic characters that greet you with smiles and an abundance of positive energy that I’m sure comes from their products! Serving up power oat smoothies, homemade herbal seasonings and my personal favorite, Kombucha tea (if you’ve never heard of it, please do your mind, body and spirit a favor and research it)!

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To finish up strong, I’m going to bunch together a group of random photos that didn’t make a specific post. Please enjoy this bundle of quality people, great memories and more reasons I’ll be back to the unforgettable island of Barbados.

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Care to see what it looks like when a I’m packing for my next journey aside a Bajan heading to Costa Rica?

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Turns out Ryan and I were on the same flight to Miami! After that, he heads to Central America and I’m off to visit my dear friend outside of New York!

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I seem to always have a lack of words to fully describe my gratitude towards the warm open arms and sincere friends that welcome me wherever I go. Once again, I feel like “thank you” would be an understatement to my family in Barbados. Till next time friends… peace, love and sandy sunsets…

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Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Down de road – Kadooment 2013

Drum roll please (my mom used to say that before big announcements) the post has finally come to expose another brilliant day of Kadooment!

Last year, I experienced my first Cropover here in Barbados and as usual I’ll give you the link to that adventure. To see details of the controlled chaos and more photos from the collage below, click here.

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For this post, I’m going to teach a small lesson based off of my experiences to date.

First and foremost, it’s always more entertaining to get ready with a group. Everyone can use a little help from their friends! Meet Ethan, a kind hearted little man that was not only eager to apply my jewels, but did’t hesitate to dish out the compliments to me and his beautiful mother. “You are pretty girls… I come with you?” Its no surprise he’s such a gentle character coming from his parents Aldo and Jane, who are equally welcoming and full of warm energy.

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Ready, set, oh shoots… we’re late! Lesson number two, here in Barbados, “time” is just a general suggestion of when one may or may not think about arriving. All this means for us, is that instead of starting at a snails pace like the others, we get a tiny workout by actually walking to catch up with everyone.

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Side note: You’ll never be the only one running late. In fact, you have a better chance of being the only one there early!

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Once the bands (a designated group in which you are representing) have gotten into order, we cross the big stage to officially kick off the 7 mile parade of dancing, chipping, whining and… are you ready for it? Wuk’n up!

Definitions:
Chipping – a dance step that is flat footed, knee bent and moving forward, almost as if to “chip” away the street.
Whining – a movement in which people attach themselves to one another by their ‘middle section’ and pulse, sway and thrust to the rhythm in every conceivable manner.
Wuk’n up – to gyrate the waistline upon another persons waistline, specifically to soca and/or calypso music.

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A few photos from the crowds perspective followed by our view of the spectators, leads me to the next unspoken rule: just because you’re not in costume doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get involved!

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Unofficially official participants of Cropover.

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You might be wondering, why is everyone holding those cups and where did we get the liquid to fill them? Reminding you of the brilliant Barbadian way of keeping the adults fully hydrated (enter questionable sarcastic tone) by having mobile bars that travel with the parade. Just walk along next to it and request your next drink. Looking down with a smile, they’re at your service!

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All righty, the next portion of todays lesson requires an increased rating to PG-13 due to the dancing techniques and adult beverages now taking affect. Welcome to the world of open minded, bent knee, fun loving people “jus doin deir ting”!

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Moving on to our next lesson, staying cool. If you care about your makeup looking perfect utill the end (you probably shouldn’t have come) anyhow, stay to the left! Although rain here during Cropover isn’t rare, it’s always guaranteed that you’ll have a refreshing source of water to drench you down during the walk.

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Like some festivals I’ve experienced, there’s an over all vibe of “only doing it once, so go big” or “I’m never going to see any of these people again”! Not here. That alone is one of my favorite things of Kadooment, the loyal participants both local and traveling that return to share this unique holiday!

Lets have some fun and finish up this assignment with a few past and present shots of returning friends. So exiting to see you all again!

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Remember Nisha? She’s the friendly girl I met last year who shares the health food passion in her shop here on the island. The first shot is us at her store last year followed by a photo from this Carnival.

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Check this one out! Here are two of my favorite people Melodie and Kris, observing last year from the side lines, why not participating? Inside her tiny belly was little Tiernan from the next photo!

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The first picture is me with sweet Jason at Soca Titans last year and the following photo is him with his beautiful new wife Beth!

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Mikie my buddy with all smiles from last years boat cruise and this years Cropover!

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It’s darling Jane!

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The list goes on and on of precious people that surround this memorable event. Although its tempting to show you all 618 of my pictures (no exaggeration), I’ve got to pull it together and end this fun post. As you can imagine, plans for next year are already in order! I’ll leave you now with a collage of photos from my favorite local photographer Luke De Freitas!

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Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 “not so” well known facts of Barbados!

You’d have to hear it for yourself to understand #1– The accent of the Barbadians! Yes, they speak English (so they say) but upon arriving and listening to locals socialize amongst themselves, you’ll quickly find out that there’s a separate language here.

– They put the emphasis on the second syllable. For example “Dis weekEND I goin to de marKET”.

– To really stress a specific thought, they repeat it three times.
“It be hot-hot-hot… or …sweet-sweet-sweet”.
“Boy yuh betta be quick-quick-quick”!

– Most words and/or sentences are cut short.
“I think she is cute” = “She cute”
“I don’t know about that” = “I ain kno bout dah”

-They use the word please in unusual places.
Me: “Do you have soda water here?”
Them: “Yes please”.
(What do you say to that? I just awkwardly smiled until they asked if I wanted one).

Me: “Are you guys still open for business.”
Them: “No please”.
Me: Confused

Fun phrases you may hear around the island:

-“Gol’ (gold) teet (teeth) doan suit hog mout (mouth)” = Fancy things don’t suit those that aren’t accustomed to them.
-“Ef greedy wait hot wud (would) cool” = Patience will be rewarded.
-“De higha de monkey climb, de more he show he tail” = The more you show off the more you show your faults.
-“Wuh ain’ see you, ain’ pass you” = Just because you got away with something so far does not mean that it won’t catch up with you later.

Not so well known fact #2 – You wouldn’t experience this by staying in a luxury hotel or massive bed and breakfast, but in your typical home, an iphone or rooster isn’t needed for an alarm clock. When the sun is just rising, you’d think there’s a team of monkeys practice gymnastics on the roof. Well there is! Directly above your bed, a family of monkeys are playing games and taking into no consideration that some of us sleep beyond 5am. I dare not complain though, as it wakes me with a giggle every morning.

Remember these guys from last year?

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They’re still here!

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Neat find #3– The Government had originally installed over 400 stand pipes where people could go to collect free water for their household. The stand pipe naturally became a busy common area of activity for social interaction – from gossip, to courtship, to political discussion, to confrontation. With the introduction of running water to virtually every Barbadian home, many of the stand pipes are no longer in use. However, there are still a few in operation to stop off for a drink while out and about.

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Fun fashion fact #4 – You may know the fashion here in Barbados ranges from typical surf wear to high heels and suits. One thing extra that has been a common sight for my eyes, is no matter what the age or genre, they love to match! Shoes to purse, hat to pants, they’ve nailed it! I sat curbside during this street market and take a look at what I captured in just 30 minutes.

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Little known fact #5 – During the period 1841-1845, Barbados was considered the healthiest place in the world to live. With having 1 death per 66 people, compared to world averages of approximately 1 death per 35 people. Curious why? I’m not.

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Some photos above curtesy of my dear friends Ryan and Jason… Love you boys!

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Categories: Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big kids pretending to be adults

This is my third time to the amazing island of Barbados which speaks volumes considering I rarely return to a destination unless there’s friends, family or a culture that speaks to me. Here, I feel like there’s all three!

To get warmed up for the week ahead (that you should be very excited about), I’m going to share the annual boat cruise on MC Buccaneer. This limited, invite only event (yes, I feel extremely special to be one of the attendees) is a gathering to take in the sun, enjoy some drinks, and move to Caribbean music.

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Flash collage from last years cruise! To see the full post, click here.

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This year brought just as much fun with the same incredible people and even more memories to pile into the book of Barbados. First things first, meet the bartenders and the entertaining DJ Puffy.

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And we’re off! The music steps up and the games begin!

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Ooh look, we have a birthday today! Sweet Aldo gets cup cakes and punch right out the fruit! Oh grown-ups pretending to be children… or should I say big kids pretending to be adults?

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Wait 30 min after eating to swim? Nope. Remember the safety flotation devices from last year? They’re back, just for our protection.

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Time to head back to the dock. Which really just means more dancing, more smiles and the overall energy kicking up a notch!

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Another success my friends! Thank you Daniel, Sean and Dwayne.

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An “Orbit Gum” commercial, Bajan style!

I’ve been lucky enough be inducted into the local scene of Carnival here on my favorite (yes I said it, favorite) island in the world, Barbados. Crop Over festival is the most popular and colorful event hosted here and I’m honored to be a part of it! Its origins can be traced back to the 1780’s, a time when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest, hence the name “Crop Over”.

With several different options for excitement, it’s in ones best interest to pick the favorites and go big! One of events I most look forward to is Jouvert, pronounced joo-veh -meaning “day break”. This coincides with the emancipation from slavery in 1838 when people smeared themselves with mud or paint to avoid being recognized while partying down the street late while the wealthy were sleeping.

The collage below is a splash of last years shinanugins. Click here and enjoy the mud and paint post from 2012!

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This year I’ve returned to visit my darling friends and of course partake in the high energy parade full of Calypso music, dancing, mud and paint! What a perfect combo for a welcoming party. Let the Foreday Morning Jam begin!

Step one – prep the shirt.

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Step two – Eat a solid dinner that will last you for the next 12 hours. We went with local fish, steamed veggies, beans and rice, sweet potato, garden salad and plantains.

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Step three – Get to the bus that shuttles you to the starting point and let the morning begin!

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If you recognize this fun gentleman, that’s because Ryan was my host last year as well. We met years ago and have maintained a connection while being oceans apart.

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This is what the crowd looks like as we all eagerly await the moving of the midnight launch.

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1:15am – A typical Bajan late start with no worries and all smiles!
With the motion of the drink trucks (a mobile bar that travels with the parade so that all participating remain hydrated with adult beverages), the shuffling of 10,000 excited participants start what is the next hours of dancing covering 3.5 km (a little over 2 miles).

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1:45 – Mud has been distributed ever so equally and gently amongst the… Yeh right! Mud and paint has started to fling, smear, fly and cover the crowd with the excitement gaining momentum. I could narrate the next set of photos, but I’ll just let them do all the talking!

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All righty, I’m assuming by now that you’ve got the point. There’s mud, there’s paint, there’s people and a whole abundance of white teeth!

As the sun starts to rise, we round the final corner where we can find the shower (a water truck unloading gallons of water through a fountain). This is also accompanied by breakfast which is fish or chicken sliders and corn soup.

We sit, eat, rinse and head home for a bed time of 8:30am.

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A quick shout out to an up and coming local photographer that clearly has a talent behind the camera. Here are a few energetic shots captured by Luke De Freitas. For more of his work, please check out his website at www.lukedefreitas.com

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