Posts Tagged With: Kadooment

Kadooment costumes… the band launch!

You’ve seen it on this blog time and time again…. guess what… it’s about that time again! Recent years and more history described in detail can be found by clicking here

Masquerading (dressing up incognito or costume) is an old African tradition in which to remove evil spirits and bring luck to the village, they’d dance around in masks and costumes. The basic attire was produced of things such as grass, twine, beads, feathers and bones. If this intrigues you, I highly suggest doing more research. It’s pretty interesting to see then compared to the elaborate designs now decorating the streets. Today it’s a celebration involving hundreds and thousands of people in several different countries parading around in elaborate costumes, bedazzled skin jewelry and detailed body paint. 

Just like last year, I was able to work with a great team putting together the grand finale showing off this seasons costumes. Designers Sheena Gill and Sandie Archer got observe their creations come to life with a runway show hosted at Harbour Lights in Bridgetown. With my hands in the hair working with the talented Anya Wiles, creative makeup artists, a variety of jewels and all final touches complete, we were prepped and ready for the event! Here’s an entertaining video produced by Matt Stone, followed by a few photos capturing the evening. Enjoy more pictures at www.stonesharpimagesphotography.com


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Tek off somethin and pelt it away!

Instead of repeating myself in describing Cropover and the Grand Kadooment, I invite you to check out my friends from Tree Frog Trips and their post called Beginners guide to Cropover. They do a fantastic job of guiding you through the week of celebrations. On this post, you’re going to get a bundle of photos and a general layout of our fabulous day. Enjoy!

Here are memories from past years. Just click on the title if you’d like to read the entire post.

My first Kadooment!


Second time down de road – 2013

Jump up all day! 2014

So many feathers in 2015!

Let’s start 2016! Costume prepped and alarm is set for dark-o-thirty. This year I was up styling hair for some of the gorgeous girls of kadooment while others were just getting home and going to bed.

 
Who’s open at 3:45 in the morning? The one and only Nina Thomas Salon located in Limegrove, one of the newest malls in Barbados. 

With morning treats and some bubbly to offer, we worked through sunrise prepping for the big day. Fun fact, my first client was actually a repeat client from Trinidad Carnival! Second fact, the stunning girl to the right of the bottom photo is beautiful Nina herself! I was honored to style her hair and had a blast with the others. Thank you Nina for the oppurtunity! 

For more action at this salon please visit Insatgram @ ninathomassalon, click here for their Facebook page and to make an appointment please call 246-622-2385.

So I finished up and flew back to the house to greet my friends arriving. A bus ride and short walk lead us to the main meeting point.

The stage!

Of course a shot for the Handstanding around the world page was a must! My favorite face in the phots below is the full-on head turn and curious frown from the woman on the right in purple.

After a handstand, a few greetings and a feather check, it’s time to cross the stage!

Thank you Blue box cart and your shared photos. You clearly have a talent of capturing the true happiness that stems from the people sporting your costumes and supporting the legend that still continues. To read a small story on the history of this band that started back in 1982, check out the beginning years at Bajanthings.com.

Photo Creds: Myself, Bruce Carroll Mayhew, Maria Hatch, Barbara Greenidge, Craigg Basham, Wave, Zulu, Aura and other random attendees.

After crossing the stage we were ready to hit the road. “De road” is where the music blares an inviting beat for all the participants to chip away in full costume. Thirsty already? Find a drink truck, lift your cup and make a request. These hard working bartenders keep the hydration (or dehydration) flowing throughout the entire trek.

Music pumpin, cup over flowing and friends rallying around… Time for bacchenal!E
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Everyone looking a little hot? I’m talking temperature, not just those stunning costumes. How do we cool down? We’ve got some options.


1. Tek of somethin and pelt it away!
(Or gently remove it and give it away). Throughout the parade a few of us start removing pieces of our outfits and gifting it to the little ones watching from the side.

2. Find the water showers coming from the side of the road!

3. “Accidentally” get in the way of water truck and dance through the spray! Another option is a good ol fashion snow cone.

You can imagine some of the sights seen from the visitors along the path . Maybe one year I’ll just attend as a bystander with a camera.

As the route hits the home stretch, the crowd starts to thin. Some go home, others head to after parties and a few simply don’t make it to the end. (I’ll spare the photos of those poor fellas). This year, a few of us headed back to the pleasure of an infinity pool with a view of the gorgeous west coast. As exciting as it is to get those costumes on, it’s even more refreshing to take them off! (Enter cheeky grin here).

That sums up yet another year down the road and the beginning of what some call PCD (post carnival depression). How do you over come such withdrawals? That’ll be in the next post!

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A friend I never met.

Every year for Cropover I write about the music, costumes, friends and fun that comes with trekking down the road on the first Monday of August. This year marks a different kind of post with an unexpected turn of events. I say with a heavy heart that the world lost a well known “happy go lucky” girl during the Grand Kadooment. As the participants split to let the ambulance go through, I believe nobody could fathom the purpose of this emergency vehicle. August 1, 2016 Renee Sheppard Ratcliffe had callapsed and was taken away to rest in peace.

Renee was a leader in events and was often called upon for a “good belly laugh” or “sincere hug”. “You either loved her or hated to love her becasue she was real… All of the time”. 

I use quotes because I personally never got the privilege of meeting Renee, these are just words I’m hearing from my friends who knew her well. With a passion for life she was very active in the community, often reaching beyond the call of duty and supporting local gatherings. From Cropover to her twin boys, it seems Renee had a abundunce of loving energy and an unstoppable driving force. 

Judging alone from the photos being spread around, who wouldn’t want to be this girls friend?! The smiles, the mid laughter snap shots, her enthusiasm for well… Everything! From her admiration of dragonflies to the color purple, Renee has made an impression that will stick with the loved ones she departed from as well as the strangers (like myself) that now know of her spirit.


I watched the shock spread across the crowd as the day progressed, the struggle was clear. Do we all go home and try to absorb what had just happened or should we power through and continue jumping in her name. Considering she was a bandleader and designer, Cropover was when she was in her highest of element. In fact, she had just been interviewed prior to us taking the road. I believe her passion for this celebration guided most to live it up even harder and finish strong as Renee, (from the sounds of it) wouldn’t of wanted it any other way. 

After the costumes were retired and all settled down, the island joined to honor her name with a proper setting and peaceful ceremony. 

Renee, I thank you for the impact you’ve recently made in the world that surrounds me. Your story is just one more addition amplifying my gratitude for this fragile life. I’ll allow your quick departure to be a positive reality check in my own daily routine… that I don’t pass up the opportunity to greet someone with a smile, laugh a little louder, love unconditionally and be thankful for my health and very existence.

“Realize deeply, that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle

“Maybe the best thing to do is stop figuring where you’re going and start enjoying where you’re at.”

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mothe Teresa

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Dear Feathers… please move.

K-A-D-O-O-M-E-N-T (sounds like kuh-doo-ment): Is the grand finale parade that draws the ending to the week of Crop Over. Formerly called “Harvest Home”, Crop Over is a traditional festival in which celebrated the harvesting of the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. In 1688 it began with singing, dancing and music from shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. They had eating and drinking competitions as well as the popular event of climbing a greased pole! (Imagine that one in costume now days). Time to fast forward to the present…
Caution: The following post may have questionable content for all ages.  

Just like last year, we got the privilege of a hired bus (thank you Aldo and Jane, who I’ve officailly titled the Unofficial King and Queen of Kadooment) to pick us up and drive us to the beginning of the event. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize the other option is a controlled chaotic way of tucking and rolling from your ride as it swerves through the round-a-bout as it passes by the starting line. That might be a little exaggeration, but the bus… its prime!  

    Waiting at the beginning gives everyone time to greet friends, adjust costumes and make the decision if the stage is worth passing over this year. Confession: I crossed my first two years… then not again. For the fun of it, here’s what the stage looked like back when I made a run for it.  

 This year I decided to hang around and enjoy some quality conversation with friends. These lovely ladies are originally from Australia and now live in England after being in the Caribbean for sometime. I love it!  
 The winner of best Crop Over cup goes toooo… Aldo!   
My roomie, my homie… the one and only, Jason!  
Look who I found (or actually found me)! Dwayne is one of the first I connected with years ago. Here’s a collage of our kadooment days.   
Dark clouds and a cool breeze is an amazing break from the scorching sun however, around here just means water from the sky is coming soon! My favorite seen was this bunch huddled under the nearest tent trying to avoid a feather soaking.  

 

How did I dodge the free shower? Found a friend that was in a frontline costume (the elaborate one) and ducked under their tower of feathers. Ladies, I love the team work here! 
 Similar to J’ouvert, the real party starts when the soca music rolls through the crowd that has already huddled around the drink trucks (a mobile bar traveling at a walking pace serving only participants unlimited beverages of their choice). Like a herd of preschoolers being guided by the ice cream man, we start our way on the path celebrating what traditionaly is known as the grand finale to Crop Over.  
     

  
   

  

    
    
 It just keeps getting better! This bright eyed girl has caught my attention every year since we met. Sincere, independent and one-of-a-kind. Thanks for the smiles Katherine Ann!  

 A few more then and now comparisons!      

 Dear Feathers… Please move.
  
What parade would be complete without spectators lining the streets?

    
     

I saw these adorable kids on the side dancing along with us, so I went over and offerred my jewelry. The innocent smile at the end was well worth the small pause on this brilliant day.      
Watch out now, if you get too close you have the chances to becoming a part of the dance routine.    

 Leave it to Ryan to carry out the duty of including everyone… even when they don’t want to (although they really do). Check out the expressions on these faces when I zoomed in. Priceless!  

If you can’t find Ryan jumping around the crowd or grinding on an observer, just look up.  Often you’ll find him birds eye view with a smile.  Last year and this year I caught him!  
For the rest of us, just keep dancing!
   
 
I’ll end this post by highlighting the (my) official King and Queen of Kadooment.  Aldo and Jane, thank you for opening your home, your arms and your perfect pool for our Crop Over neeeds.  Your love doesn’t go unrecognized.  Much gratitude! 

 

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

Down de road 2014!

Usually for the week of Cropover, I’m an eager passenger along for the ride as my local friends guide the way through the festivities. This year however, as mentioned in the last post, I’ve brought two friends for their first excursion through the unforgettable journey of the Bajan Carnival.

World… Meet Kadooment. As always, if you’re interested in more than just photos, please look back in years prior and read about the full meaning to truly capture the history that drives this annual parade.

Quick recap collage:

2012 Kadoomemt

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2013 Kadooment

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…and now we start our 2014 celebration day with an alarm that awakens the household at 4am.

Beyond the stunning costumes, you also have the option of getting airbrushed, body painted, professional hair and makeup, liposuction… Ok, maybe that’s a bit much, but you get the drift. I’ve always opt to do it on my own and this year, the only difference is I have two partners alongside me. Bree is a fashion designer, I’m a hairstyling and Hayden is… well, a guy (a very fashionable one might say). So with our powers combined, getting ready reminded me of something along the lines of an adult prom at Mardi Gras.

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Hair done, eyelashes secure, makeup, costumes and a glass of champagne brings the clock to 6:45am and our driver honks for pick up! We gathered at the pre party which was celebrating Aldo’s birthday. A few pretty pictures (taken before the sweaty, drink infested, glorious makeup destroying, nylon shredding parade) and a toast before we headed out to the private bus.

We all looked amazing! I felt like a feather princess (I don’t even know if they exist, but if so… I’m sure I resembled one).

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Instead of putting these photos in some sort of order and pretend like it makes sense, I’m simply going to just post them without rhyme or reason. Take it for exactly what it is (or for what you want to think it is).

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Where is everyone getting refills for those snazzy cups? As long as you’re “jumpin” in the right band (in other words, a legit participant in costume) your drinks are included. You simply walk up to a designated drink truck and order what you wish. They have quite the range in juice, soda, coconut water, beer, liquor and mixed cocktails. Pretty much everything shy of a Bloody Mary (of course the first thing I asked for).

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The working gentlemen you see not in costume walking with the trucks are there to make sure your feet stay out of the way. We’re all adults here, why would anyone ever get close enough to… “Owheee!” As the truck slowly creeps over my right foot. As I embarrassingly told the story of my flattened toes, a majority of the group exclaimed “Me too!”, turns out it’s more common than I gave credit. Lesson learned.

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It’s Ryan again! Just for fun, here’s our three years in jumping collage. Is it just me or does he just keep getting younger and younger!?

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I got the pleasure of running into this lovely woman again. Still smiling and glowing as I remembered!

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Check us out! Last year and this one… Looking superb ladies!

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Although security isn’t necessarily needed (I’ve never seen anything anyway) there are men on horses, sober faced soldiers and your typical “staff” walking about.

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The crowd that comes to observe ranges from locals who have been viewing this nonsense for years gathered with a few that used to do it “back in the day”. Some of my favorite onlookers are the tourist that booked their family holiday without the knowledge of Cropover. This little guy waved at me so I removed the belt (that was given to me by another participant) and gave it to him. Oh happy day!

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What on this beautiful earth can all of these people be dancing to for over 7 miles in the blazing sun, in full costume and priceless smiles?! I’ve attached a link to give you a Soca Sampler.
Warning: What you hear may encourage involuntary hip movement with an overpowering urge to thrust in a pulsating manner. I wish you luck.

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Dear Barbados, I thank you for the energy you’ve shared each year with the abundance of kind people within your island. There’s something special here… I’m so thankful to be a part of it.

Cheers till next time!

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Categories: Accommodations, Art, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 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: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

…and her poor head piece after the soaking.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

More creative beauty!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Random snap shots
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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?”
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

“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.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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

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