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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update!!!!!!!!!

For those waiting for Island People keep close to your computer between 6:00pm to 7:00pm as I was informed that was the time online registration is expected to begin, but in the meantime keep checking the website!

edited to add: it is now 7:26 and nothing......I read on IMIX that "someone" at the mas camp said that registration will be fully loaded by 11:00pm tonight. Again, don't blame me if you are chained to the computer for the rest of the night! Good luck to you all (go for Sacred Sand!!)

By the way Harem Girl Orange is SOLD OUT, Sahara Sunset frontline is SOLD OUT and Nubian male is SOLD OUT.

Also Dame Lorraine female is now completely SOLD OUT. I registered a friend of a friend at the mas camp this afternoon and she was able to get one of the three remaining costumes in Option B.

New to Mas? Here is what to expect

Alright, I am going to try to answer New to Mass's question on what to expect:

Saucy - Can you please give a run down on what to expect on actual Carnival day - like costume pick up, food, drinks, rest periods. Does the band really so all night or do they break off and meet back on Tuesday and until what time.


Costume Pick Up:

This information is usually disclosed about two weeks before Carnival with a notice on the band's website,via email and press advertisements. informing of the costume collection period. Each section is assigned a specific day for pick up and they stress that you can only collect THAT costume on THAT day. However, if you an overseas masquerader you also have one day set aside for those who will be coming to Trinidad the week of Carnival.

On the day of costume pick up you pay off the balance on your costume (if you have not done so before) collect your box/bag with your costume, inspect all the pieces to make sure you have gotten everything advertised especially look for your security bands; one for all-inclusive and one that allows you to be in the band (imprinted with the name of your band). Then you oogle your goody bag (which has lots of useful stuff like nail polish,glitter etc) and if you have any queries look for someone in charge and have your issue addressed. This year TRIBE also gave out a little info booklet with practical information like the line up of the sections, meeting places and times for Monday and Tuesday etc. Most bands will give you a flyer of some sort with this information.

Carnival Monday:
After Jourvert get home and get some rest, make sure and get all the paint/mud off your body. Then start getting ready to go and meet the band, most bands meet between 11:00 am to 12:00 noon at a pre determined venue/assembly point. When you find the band you fall in your section, or the section of your friends, family or significant other that you will be hanging out with for the day. The vibe on Monday is total freedom, as you don't have to worry about looking cute in your fancy costume.If your band is all-inclusive no breakfast is served but you do get lunch and snacks, and the first thing you should do is take a drink for the road! The band then parades through the streets along a route that takes you through Port of Spain, St. James and to the Savannah where you get 5 minutes of glory to run wild for the camera on stage. Next year's route is uncertain since there are no plans for a Savannah stage. You dance, wine and jump up until sundown, some people go later but by 6:00pm to 7:00pm I usually look to head out of Port of Spain.

Carnival Tuesday:
You will be so excited that you wake up early since the band meets between 7:00 am and 8:00 am. So, you have to get dressed, made up and leave the house as soon as the sun comes up. If you have not had breakfast and are playing in an all-inclusive band, don't worry breakfast is served on the road as soon as you meet the band. If your band is not all-inclusive eat breakfast please! As you get your first look of the band in full costume you start checking out other costumes, admiring the ones that looked so much better on the road and those that did not live up to the photos. Mingle, greet your friends and section mates , the excitment builds as the music pumps you up. Finally you start moving, the band will continue along the same or similar route as Monday, it might be a slower movement since more bands come out on Tuesday. Occasionally you might get stuck behind another band and your band either waits or goes another route. Music will be at full blast of course, the front line H.O.s will be looking pretty and lots of people will be lining the streets to look at you in costume, you will feel like a beauty pageant contestant, all eyes on you!

Your destination is the Savannah stage and everyone wants to get there early. As your quest to enter the Savannah nears you will have to wait, usually in one spot, inching forward until you can actually see the stage and all the spectators.The sun will be beating down on you at this time but you will be too filled with adrenaline and Johnny Walker to care. At that time you will be asked to get in your sections and the drinks trucks will disappear to the side of the band. As you inch towards the stage anticipation grows, you see other masqueraders already on stage having a ball and you cannot wait for your turn, security will be in place keeping sections from running unto the stage before time. The frontline H.O.s will be to the front of the section and security allows them onstage first then they open the man barrier and allow you to charge forward like a banshee from hell. Nothing I write can describe what it is like for those 10 minutes or so of wild frenzied abandonment, you have to experience it yourself.

Too soon security will start gently ushering the maquerders off the stage with some slipping past to go back and join the other section poised to come on stage. Coming down the ramp is like coming down from your high. Faces of strangers will greet you at the end of the ramp, some looking for a friend or family member while others, including the kids, are looking to beg for piece of your costume. As you politely say no and move on you look for the rest of your section and keep moving. At this time the band is ready for a lunch stop (if your band is all-inclusive) and you make your way to a park at St. Clair where lunch stations are set up. This is your only official rest period; you partake of the food, drinks, relax , use the rest rooms, fix your makeup and catch your breath before hitting the road again.

Your legs will feel as if they are rubber after that little rest but you have to press on, ideal time to take a drink for gas as the day is long from over. Your route may take you to other judging points (you are also judged at the Savannah) where you will be required to get into sections again. There is no big stage to cross , you will be jumping up on the street in front of judges and spectators (also you can cross these judging points before getting to the Savannah). A variety of snacks are served in the afternoon, from sno cone to boil corn to ice cream and lollies. As security becomes more lax as the day comes to a close the "stormers" (non costumed civilians) do try and fall in the band. The dancing through the streets continue as the band's route takes you through St. James and as it begins to get dark some people start making their way to where their cars are parked, the traffic to get out of Port of Spain is usually terrible and some try to get out early. The die hard Carnival babies press on until long after it gets dark, I cannot say how late they stay because I am ready to head home by 8:00pm.

And as you leave the band and head towards your car, with no music spurring you on and saturated with alcohol your feet will start to hurt like you never believe, feeling like lead with every step you take all you will be doing is praying to sit down fast! Finally, as you make your way out of Port of Spain and Carnival Tuesday comes to a close, the last strains of Machel's song hits you from a music truck that passes by and you smile,wondering to yourself how long until you can do it all over again!




Registration today....well sort of

I see Island People Mas is now sending me emails, I got the one about the scam yesterday and now this one about registration:

Hey,

Ok today is the day!!! Online Registration begins!!!

If you live outside of Trinidad, please visit our website today to register. Please read the registration instructions carefully and then immediately wire your money to Island People Mas in Trinidad.

As of now, there is no exact time that registration will start. Please continue to check the site frequently. Sorry we cannot give you an exact time.

Thanks

Island People Mas

www.islandpeoplemas.com




Ahm, is it just me but don't you think the fact that they cannot give a time is unexcusable!!!!!!! I am sorry for all those sitting at their computers all now constantly refreshing the page! Good luck!

After Carnival Cooldown

I promised Hottie Hottie that I would post photos of Maracas Beach from my visit there on Sunday:





For those newbies who will be making the trip to Carnival for the first time in 2007, Maracas beach is also the scene of the Ash Wednesday cool down. I have not been to an Ash Wednesday cool down in years! The traffic to get in and out of Maracas is a great deterrent as well as the fact that it really isn't about "cooling down" but just another day to prolong the feteing, drinking and wining.

To me the perfect respite after Carnival is Tobago, and if you have the same idea the time for looking for guest houses, hotels and flights is now! Trust me, you will not be the only ones with the idea of enjoying Tobago's serenity after the bacchanlia of Carnival. Inspite of the popularity of this blog and my fervor for Carnival many Trinidadians do not share my passion and either go camping, down the islands, to another country or head over to the sister isle to escape the "madness".

Pigeon Point Tobago:


Consequently accommodation in Tobago gets booked long in advance of Carnival. A very good website for Tobago reviews, photos and other information is My Tobago. I also like using Tripadvisor for reviews and photos from real people. To accommodate large groups I think a villa might be a much better deal than a hotel, Island Real Estate is a good site to browse Villas for rent and a very popular Villa is Villa De Lena which rents for $200.00 US a night year round (though I checked the calendar and it is booked solid from January to April!). A really nice place to stay for a group is Sandy Point Beach Club (not the hotel) , it's a timeshare establishment but you can also rent units for a week or less . The facilities are well maintained with three hot tubs, a small pool, beach side bar, small restaurant and it is within walking distance to Store Bay. You can also book locally at their office on Ethel Street St. James or by calling 1-868-628-9832.
My other two favourite hotels in the Crown Point area are Kariwak and Toucan Inn, Kariwak is really nice and relaxing (and they used the space quite well, you can see my pics on tripadvisor) and Toucan Inn is a nice, simple place to stay and both establishment serve excellent food.

Barbados is one of my favourite islands and since you asked I will share several affordable places to stay, you know Feburary is still peak period so prices are higher. If you want simple, affordable accomodation with kitchen facilities to prepare your own meals, on or close to the beach here are my top pics:

1.Southern Surf Apartments
My friend stayed here for Cropover and found it to be quite nice (check tripadvisor for reviews!). It is opposite Rockley/Accra Beach and you can walk to Bubbas, Cheffettes and several other eating places in the area. Also, you are on the ,main bus route to catch the dollar cab to Bridgetown and the Gap.

2.Coral Mist and 3. Blue Orchids
Sister hotels on Worthing Beach which I personally find is a GREAT beach. They were refurbished a couple years ago and offer apartments AND studios. The location is ideal as well, close to the Gap, a supermarket, Lucky Horseshoe and the Carib Beach Bar. Again, transport is not a problem as they are also on the main road.

4.Yellow Bird
Basic hotel at the entrance to the Gap. If you plan on bar hopping or late nights at Ship Inn this hotel is great beacause you are far away from the noise so you can sleep at night, but close enough to stumble back to your room after a few drinks.

5.Accra Beach Hotel
More "upscale" than the others this Hotel is on Rockley/Accra Beach and has a sweet pool (no kitchen facilities though). I think they are doing some construction in preparation for the Cricket World Cup next year but if you want something beyond the basics the accomodation hereis great. The food is kinda expensive but you are within walking distance to several places for a eat.

Harts "New" Costume

When I played with Harts my friends and I would always register early for one of the all girls sections, which sold out first, only to discover a "new" costume pop up later on looking absolutely fabulous. If a costume design is not popular or receives an overwhelmingly negative response from potential masqueraders Harts usually takes the bull by the horns and makes a change to the costume . I have seen it happened the year we played in a lovely teal blue all girls section only for them to release a stunning gold costume a few months after we registered!And subsequent years after that I would always see a "new" costume make it's way unto the website after the band has launched and sold out sections.

Visit their website today and you will see they have already made changes, El Dorado is no longer a yellow disaster, they have changed it to a gorgeous peacock themed costume.

OLD DCOSTUME:


NEW COSTUME:


Although you can still see the old costume in 36o degree gallery.


I also noticed that they changed the photos of several sections like Herland (they removed the photo with the black female model) which now has a better angle of the headpiece, Nevada (they removed the stripper wigs from the models) and Xanadau (which looks like a totally different shade of purple in the new photo). I think they also need new photos of Imagine which is an entire costume made with huge rhinestones and Paradise since you can't see the real beauty of either costume from the photographs they have posted.

Maybe some other bands should take Harts initiative and upgrade certain costumes *coughcactaiandimpcough* especially if they know the costume design is not warmly received by masqueraders. I mean would it kill them to admit that they dropped the ball when it came to a particular costume and go back to the drawing board for the sake of giving masqueraders great choices? Once again Harts will always be the leader, I applaud the fact that they are always taking the initiative to tweak their designs and give the customer more options for a fabulous costume.
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