Posts Tagged With: Carnival

Paint me up mudder cup!

I figured there were mainly two ways I could introduce Barbados back into my blog. Either my traditional style of easing into the description of what the people are like, how the culture makes me feel and showing you gorgeous pictures of the world wide known landscapes of this striking island…

Or, the Bajan way and dive right into a street party that went till Sunrise!

If you’d love to find out more about the the unique island of Barbados, please be patient as they’re soon to come. Please also feel free to read older posts that I’ve so conveniently connected below. You’re welcome.

“Just the beginning of Barbados”

“5 not so well known facts of Barbados”

“Random sights of Barbados”

“The rest of Barbados in a nut shell”

For now, let’s take you along a photo adventure of the preparation that goes into the night parade know as J’ouvert. Also referred to as Foreday Morning Jam, Mud and Paint or last year in which I titled it An Orbit gum commercial, Bajan style.

The package you get includes randoms gifts such as bandanas, cups, a t-shirt and wrist band. This is to ensure that you’re “jumping” with the right band and have appropriate attire. (Meaning that you match your group, not “appropriate” like you’d wear it to a family holiday).

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Each year I’ve cut, torn and tied my shirt into a new design and this round shows no different except I’ve brought two friends to experience that which is Carnival in Barbados!

Quick and easy introduction: You all know Hayden. I grew up with him, gave him the travel bug and now he can’t stay in the states long enough to plan for his next flight out.
Here we are on several different trips within the last 15 months:

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Bree: Our story began on a flight in Asia, branched to an unforgettable backpacking journey in Thailand and now we reunite on my favorite island in the world. Bree and I traveling together looks something like this:

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The prep phase turned our apartment living room into a fashion design studio. Each one of us filling in as a model for one another’s experiment. Poor (lucky) Hayden was included as well, I suppose it’s small price to pay celebrating with two energetic females.

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The ending result? One-of-a-kind shirts for the ladies and a comfortable tank top for the boy to Rock.

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As if that wasn’t completely entertaining in itself, we then complete the tradition by heading out around 10:30p to catch a van for our jaunt to the starting line.

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The waiting area is a group of a few hundred of “your closest friends” ready for miles of parading to Soca music, drinks and dancing…. With the main attraction of mud, paint and powder.

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The music fires up and the walking begins!

Not much explanation needs to go into the following photos. If this blog had audio, you’d be moving your hips to Soca beats while trying to make out the words with the sound of people singing along. Awh, the beauty of rich tunes.

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Remember Ryan? He’s my dear friend that I met years ago who has been my Bajan mentor… Properly training me on all of the local traditions. Here we are in my first two Morning Jams, followed by this year!

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Wrapping up the evening includes a breakfast choice of fish, ham or cheese sliders and Caribbean corn soup. At this point, we would of inhaled it just the same if they would of fed us dog chow and mystery juice. While consuming what seems like the best food on the island, the energy from the parade leaves some still jumping and others, well…

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So now we’re fed, but still covered in mud, paint and powder paste. What to do? Only my favorite part of the entire festivities! They blast more dance music and gear up the water trucks. Shower party time!

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The ride home presents itself with yet another victory defined as a safe journey packed full of memories (and one tired pup).

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Categories: Art, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Notting Hill and Jerk chicken

The longer I’m on the road, the more fascinating people I get to meet. Through volunteering, hostel hopping or simply chatting with another passenger on a long train ride, friends are being made all of the time! Reconnecting with fellow travelers has become one of my new favorite pastimes, as it’s like nothing else I’ve experienced. Theres something to be said about bonding with someone by natural chemistry and to stay connected by choice. A neighbor is always there and you can grow to like a classmate, but to meet someone thousands of miles away from home and stay in touch for years to come takes energy and effort.

In the past, you’ve seen the follow up path crossings, however the next few chapters of this journey will have an abundance of these marvelous people that I’m truly thankful for.

With that said, time to reintroduce a new friend Sophie. Her and I met while volunteering at The Donkey Den in Santa Marioñita, Ecuador. After an easy conversation, we decided that linked travels were in our future. From there, we journeyed south together for a week and parted ways with the “hope to see you again” farewell. Here’s a collage from some of our South American excursions.

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During our time together, the talk of reuniting in her homeland of England started as a casual joke that turned into proper plans. 4 months later and a train to London, brings us together again!

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We spent the weekend with her and her friends as they showed what a holiday in London looks like. After checking out the view from her apartment, we dove into what is still my favorite thing to do in a new city…. the local market!

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A group effort went into the dinner of Paella and greens with dessert being a pile of typical candy for us to try. I’m sorry England, you have not peaked on my list for best sugar delights. Even though the sweet treats weren’t my favorite, this great bunch of eager locals did a fanatic job at adopting us in for their holiday weekend.

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This is a weekend in which London comes even more alive to celebrate Caribbean roots with the famous Notting Hill Carnival. Sophie and her friends took lead as our guides to experience the event. From the bus to the tube we blend with a crowd of participants shuffling shoulder to shoulder.

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Reaching the top brings a huge deep breath and just enough time to adorn my purse with my Barbados flag that was given to me in Barbados, thank you Mikie! Feeling proud to represent my new bag (see the story of my old bag here) and “Caribbean roots”.

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Heading into the festival you’ll see several stands offering souvenirs, drinks and food for sale. The parade really wasn’t what I had imagined as it was more of a group of people randomly making noise in costume as they tried to catch up to the next bunch. The street sights are visually stimulating and definitely a complement to the unique variety of styles that the attendees bring.

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I understand that when you over crowd popular streets with music, food and drinks, a little waste is to be expected. I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to festivals, carnivals and holiday events around the world, but this was the first time in which I watched the trash develope into mounds along the roadside. Is suppose this just encourages the eyes to keep focus on the happy people and vibrant festivities.

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Due to the Caribbean influence, the main dishes are ones you wouldn’t typically find in England but more so in the islands. The drinks included but aren’t limited to Jamaican beer, coconut water and Rum Punch.

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Thank you to Sophie and new friends. Our first weekend abroad was filled with quality memories that are still being smiled about! Cheers to tiger suits, Curly Wurly’s and Jo-Jo’s dancing skills (my rib still thinks about her everyday).

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Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Travel talk | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Kadooment!

This festival of Barbados was originally celebrated in the 1800s by slaves at the end of the sugar-cane harvest. A procession of carts and animals decorated with flowers would bring the last load of cane to the plantation owner, who would then provide a feast for the laborers. Now, Crop Over is the most anticipated event on the island. It begins in June and finishes strong on the first Monday of August with Grand Kadooment. This massive parade includes participants dancing their way through the local streets to Soca and Calypso music while dressed in vibrant, eye-catching costumes!

So you can imagine when Ryan asked if i wanted to join in… My response? Of course! All he needed was my measurements, (before I knew the details) I thought, “Cool, I might get a neat shirt or maybe matching shorts”. (This is where you can enter either his mischievous laugh or my nieve giggle).

Here is what I measured into:
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This is Jane. I’ll call her a new friend, but she felt more like a sister. Comforting and welcoming with a noticeable warmth… what a joy to be around!
Here she is with and her husband Aldo there son Ethan.  When I asked how soon the little guy got to “jump” in the carnival, dad said “next year” while mom just laughed.  On average the locals usually start between 14-17 years of age depending on the household.
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Its 7:45 in the morning and the troop is ready to hit the 6 mile parade!
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If I need to justify why the drink trucks are already up and serving adult beverages at 8am…Let me remind you that I’m in Barbados.
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First and only stop (the structured part of the day) is the arena where each “band” gets to cross the main stage and basically strut their stuff while representing their colors.
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After this talent show, the crowd blends and we keep on whining and chipping away the celebration.
NOTE: Please see the J’ouvert post to recall the dance definitions of chipping and whining.

Here is a glimpse of some other varieties of costumes.
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Although there are thousands of people, you are constantly running into friends. Some slow down to wait for the drink truck while others bounce ahead to their favorite song.
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It’s miss Sarah Jane!
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This is two of the dozen music trucks.  Some are live bands, others have awesome Dj’s that keep the groups moving!
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… And it keeps on going…
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At some point in the journey, you’ve got to hop on a wall!
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I loved involving the people that came to observe. Thank you for the idea and encouragement Ryan!
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In Ryan’s words “Go big or go home”.
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This little girl asked for one if his beads… Adorable!
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Ooh, another friend! This is Dwayne, you may recognize him from the Segway Polo team that I described before. I met this fun loving angel in California last year. Whenever I mention his name, my mom usually interrupts me with “Awh, I just love Dwayne… He’s one of my favorites”.
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Melodie and Kris… Quality energy. They jump every year, except that tiny bump you can’t see is their little peanut that will be here by next kadooment! Congrats to wonderful people adding to this magical planet!
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The Police station is known as a fine place to slow your trek and take a moment to let your presence be known. I was told that in years past, full costumed people have ran in, hopped on the tables and danced for the employees. Take notice, the doors are now closed. Eh, handstand shot!
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Well, no police station fun… so let’s just play friendly with the authorities then!
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When the heat is at it’s peak, it’s so nice to run into the water fountains. They have hoses spraying for all involved that need a cooling off.
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The temperature has been climbing all day with a few sprinkles here and there. That is the main reason you’ll notice less and less head pieces as the day goes on. I gave mine to a little girl on the side lines. Either that or you try to save it and end up with what looks like a drowned rooster on your head.

Feathers tickling my face before the rain…
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…and her poor head piece after the soaking.
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More creative beauty!
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Random snap shots
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During the final stretch (after 6 miles) we follow the coast with several options for food, different drinks and… Hold up, “Did you say food?”
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I don’t think Ryan has seen me so ready to devour anything that was out in front of me. The last pic is me patiently, if you call it that, waiting for some edible nutrients.
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“Thank you” doesn’t quite capture the gratitude I have for the friends of Barbados that made this trip what it was. Cheers to great times, priceless memories and plans for next year! All my love.
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Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mud and Paint Party!

During the time of slavery, Carnival was introduced to the Caribbean by French settlers in 1783. Banned from the masquerade balls, the slaves would stage mini-carnivals in their own backyards creating new rituals. In so many words, they would pretty much imitate or mock the “party” behavior of their masters.

Let’s talk J’ouvert (pronounced joo-veh) meaning “day break”.

The origins of the street party referred to as J’ouvert coincide with the emancipation from slavery in 1838. People smeared themselves with mud or paint to avoid being recognized and partied down the street late at night while the wealthy were sleeping.

The Bajan version includes calypso music loud enough to send the language of the evening into smiling, waving, toasting, thumbs up or chipping. Chipping is a dance step that is flat footed, knee bent and moving forward, almost as if to “chip” away the street. If the music is right, you can sneak in some whining. This is when people attach themselves to one another by their ‘middle section’ and pulse, sway and thrust to the rhythm in every conceivable manner. Front on front, front to bum – down, up, side to side… You name it. This can be in multiples of two all the way up to a sea of 20!

Ready, set… Here we go!

10:00p – Time to get ready. My oufit before…
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…and after!
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11:45p – Getting ready to board the bus to the top of the route. Although this “walk” (which means chipping and dancing, referred to as “jumping”) is only about 2 miles, it takes hours to complete due to the pace set by the music and drink trucks.

So clean as I innocently wait for the future festivities.
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12:30am – Once everyone has made it to the starting point, they start the music and open the drink trucks (a mobile bar with servers feeding the crowd unlimited adult beverages).
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1:15 – The paint has arrived! This is one of the dozens of barrels.
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2am – Let the jump begin! Red, yellow, blue, green, orange… or mud? Unless you’re the one with the bucket, you have no idea what is headed your way. We started off with the sunshine color.
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3 something in the morning – it’s only just begun.
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You can imagine what the inside of everyones cup must look like with the flinging of this nonsense. I’m not quite sure how, but I managed to keep it totally clean. The locals were questioning my strategy. I claim luck.
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Orange? Yes please!
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Jason has no idea what’s coming…
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…Now he does! This look is priceless.
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Sometime between 4-4:30 – Closed off streets with hundreds of people having a blast, still chipping away.
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5ish – The sun is starting to come up as we reach the last stretch.
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At the end of the route, they have a huge fire hose that drenches the crowd for a final rinse before we depart. This shower includes perfect music for more… you guessed it, dancing! Yes, the drink truck parks and keeps on serving.
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Before 6am – Crossed the finish line, here we are before the shower.
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Ryan’s poor flip flops. I kinda like ’em that way.
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Stretching out after miles of raving.
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Almost 7 am – Danced in the rain, rinsed off in the parking lot shower party and now it’s come to an end. (Which simply means we get enough time to eat, pretend to rest and get ready for the next carnival party).
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I don’t know what I’m more impressed by, the high energy maintained by the open minded participants or the fact that with all of the action, not one fight. Not even one verbal threat. Everyone just laughing and truly enjoying the spirit of Carnival. In my opinion, it’s the way it should be!

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