Posts Tagged With: Mud

No alarm clock needed

Carnival in Trinidad is known as the “Greatest show on earth”. First off, it’s not just a day of parading around in eccentric costumes, it’s two full days of sunrise to sundown music, chipping, drinking, whining, dancing, laughing, eating and celebrating through the streets in Port of Spain. There’s not a pre-party, there are hundreds to choose from! From local fetes to raging events, concerts, fashion shows and pretty much any other reason to gather together.  I tell you Trinidadians have the stamina beyond that of what I’ve seen.  An Irishman might put you under drink for drink, but if you want to keep up around here, you have to match day to day, night tonight, back to back!
Although it seems to be an unspoken sin to fly all the way over here (with the other 240,000 international guests) and not participate, it’s what I’ve chosen to do. I came to Trinidad with the drive to do hair for the wonderful ladies of Carnival during these exciting days. With that said, I didn’t really partake in the extravaganza that is Carnival, so for this post I’m only going to highlight a few of the events leading up to the big days.
Lets start with the one and only that I attended (thank you Joe and Pumpkin!), called Revel. This is categorized as a cooler party meaning you bring your own ice-chest with drinks and enjoy the overall chilled energy. 


The venue is just outside the Queens Park Oval Cricket stadium in Port of Spain. A stage is set with two main areas, general admission and VIP. 


Before the crowd gathered I took a walk around to show you the layout. Here’s looking at the field then I did a 180 turn and stood with my back to the stadium looking at the entrance to the VIP section. 

Just beyond that gate is general admission where they sell food, drinks and give away things such as temporary tattoos, flyers and merchandise. If you’re anything of a soca fan, you’ll recognize the name below… Machel Montano. Yep, he was the performer on this evening!  


Back to the VIP side is where you’ll find, complementary food to nibble on and a clear view of the crowd amped for the main event… As well as the amazing people I came to join!


Show time! Heart pounding, hip thrusting, flag waving, energy elevating and nothing shy of purely entertaining (if you like the music or not) type of performance.

Care to hear a glimpse of the sounds that caused this entire audience to jump, wave their flags and shout along? I only had a point a shoot camera, but here’s a one minute video of Machel performing one of his hits, Like uh Boss! For more quality visuals and different songs, I suggest just googling his name.

Fun Fact:  Machel Monatano was my first concert in Barbados, check out that post called Dining and dancing the Bajan way.

Moving on to the next event. Keep in mind Revel (from above) went till dawn and the one you’re about to see was prepped at Dawn.  This country doesn’t sleep!

Down de islands, DDI, best fete, the one and only pre-Carnival party… Call it what you want but this is known as the must-do , don’t miss events of the week. I didn’t attend (you’ll see why in the next post) but I have been down de islands on a much smaller scale seen in Through the sea and down de islands.

Short and sweet- it’s a huge day full of music, boats, bikinis, drinks and energetic people that don’t appear as if they were out all night just hours ago. I chose my favorite picture to show you… Just a glimpse. 


So get this, Revel was Friday, DDI was Saturday and now we’re on to Sunday. For all my American football fans, imagine doing all of the above, then going to a Super Bowl Party (which they did) and then continuing on right through Carnival (which they did!) I tell you, their party drive is impressive. And yes, although some pick and choose, many people do all the fetes! 

Next up is J’ouvert. Now I know you’ve seen this, again just on a smaller scale. It’s a part of Cropover in Barbados as well.  Sneak a peak at those memorable days by clicking the link to dirty clean fun!

This is another evening I didn’t attend  (I know… I know!) but here’s what I did gather from the happy crew I was staying with.

A few photos I snagged before the bus took the group into the streets of mud and paint.  What a lovely clean bunch…


And then… The night passed and the sun came up.


So they’ve had weeks of parties leading up to a cooler fete, all day on boats in the sun, a Super Bowl party to all night playing in mud and paint and now? Now they have just a couple hours (if that) to wash off, dress up and get to the beginning of the 2 day Carnival parades. Can you beleive the lovely people from the night above transformed into the stunning stars below? Them and thousands of others traded in mud soaked skin for bedazzled bikinis and a fresh drink. Coming up… Carnival Monday! 


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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!


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.




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.


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

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.


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







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).




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!

















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.










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








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

1:15 – The paint has arrived! This is one of the dozens of barrels.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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

3 something in the morning – it’s only just begun.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

5ish – The sun is starting to come up as we reach the last stretch.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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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