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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

2010 Trinidad Carnival - Silent Morning

Hi-Ho, Kermit D. Frog here, bringing you coverage of feteing on the high seas here in Trinidad Carnival 2010. It is Carnival Friday and I am on my way to attend Silent Morning, a boatfete on the Treasure Queen. The ship is scheduled to leave promptly at 9:00 a.m. from Pier II and it is 8:55 a.m. and my crew and I are flying up the Chagaramas road praying not to get left. We pull into the car park with one minute to spare only to see the boat still readying for departure and a mass of people in line to get breakfast. PHEW! We heaved a sigh of relief and joined the line to chow down on some bake and fish. Before long the “all-aboard” was sounded and we made our way on to the ship to get the activities started.

The Treasure Queen has 3 levels and since we boarded on the lowest for convenience (and laziness) we set up shop right there. This was a bring-your-own-liquor-in-a-plastic-bottle fete so I was equipped with 2 squeeze bottles of Grey Goose while the rest of my crew had consolidated their liquor in a gas can. Yes peeps, they toted a 2 gallon plastic gas can with liquor to the fete and a more perfect container you could not find so if you see this trend kick off from now, remember that it was the Triniracer that started it all. So we are on board, the music is playing and we dispatch a soldier to get chaser to dilute the liquid fire we brought. While waiting to begin consumption, I looked around and started taking some “before” pics because I had a feeling that there would be a vivid contrast between the pics taken before the ship sailed and when it returned. The vibe was chill now, but I knew that once the drinks started flowing and the ship started rocking that everybody will PARTY HARD, YES THEY A GO PARTY HARD, and as it turned out, I was 100% correct.

It was around this point that I noticed that some time had passed since the chaser-getter had departed and not only was he not back, but the ship had not left either. As it turned out, the bars were swamped with people that didn’t realize that they were supposed to bring their own liquor, so it was taking a while to get through and as far as the ship not yet sailing, apparently a drummer was scheduled to perform and he was running late. By now it was around 10:00 a.m. and a story was related to me that had I heard it from anyone other that this particular individual, I would have discounted it as urban legend.

Apparently, a group of feters were on their way to catch the ship (and were running late of course) when their car began experiencing transmission problems. As the story goes, after a few minutes of these problems the driver realized that the chances were rapidly dwindling that the car would make it all the way to the ship so he made an executive decision. He stopped the car at the side of the road, ordered everyone out, locked the car, chweep-chweep’d the alarm, stopped a maxi-taxi and the whole posse rode out to the boat, abandoning the car! The rationale was that the car can’t move anyway and there was no point in missing the fete so they will deal with the transmission when they get back. Peeps, I have the utmost admiration for this individual and if I were to ever meet him, I would buy him a drink. This was the greatest example of I-will-make-this-fete-come-hell-or-high-water that I had ever heard and I thought to myself that it would be extremely difficult to top that but little did I know that that particular milestone would be COMPLETELY ECLIPSED a mere couple of hours from now and I tell you if I wasn’t present to witness and document this piece of madness myself, I would definitely not have believed it.

Anyway, before too long, the chasers and the drummer man reached, lines were cast off and we were underway. The DJs were warming up and everyone was working on getting their sea legs and adjusting to the slight roll of the sea. Conveniently, there were plenty pipes overhead which one could use to steady one’s self while wining and several feters were making full use of them. Of course, other feters discovered that the pipes were strong enough to pull one’s self up on it and so they were doing some warm-up and stretching exercises on the pipes which was also all good, however doing both activities in close proximity to each other was like smelling gasoline and lighting a match to look for it. BOOM! Fellas were acting like a wining spiderman up in de people ceiling and while you would think it would be difficult to wine while suspended from pipe on a moving ship, these folk made it look easy. The party is now in full swing, all three decks are fully involved and the ship is a-rocking. I swing up to the top level to see what’s what and discovered that things were on fire up there as well except there was a cool breeze blowing which complemented the hot sunshine quite nicely. People were dancing here too but this was also the chill out area and as I enjoyed the scene I gazed out at the sparkling sea and noticed a pirogue (a small, flat-bottomed boat of a design associated particularly with fishermen) approaching our ship with some people aboard.

As you know, peeps, what I write in my commentaries is what I myself observe in the fete and my pictures, while some are posed for, many contain candid shots reflecting the action that was really taking place during the fete. According to the FRC, The Frog Reporter’s Code (yes, there is one), I give you my word that what I am about to recount is what I saw and the pictures will reflect my narrative.

When I first saw the pirogue, I thought nothing of it; I thought that here were some idle fishermen that decided to buzz our ship and maybe take a gape at the lovely ladies partying on board. As I went downstairs to the “ground floor” the pirogue was now keeping pace with our ship and the people on the boat were clearly visible. There were three men in the rear of the boat who were clearly fishermen but there were two others toward the middle that looked too well dressed to be fishermen, and these two were trying to get the attention of our ship! As I snapped a couple pics of this group I wondered what exactly was going on? I mean, this was not Somalia so piracy was highly unlikely but why would these two be buzzing our boat? Apparently these individuals, having missed the sailing of the ship, decided “NAH! We not going out like dat! We go rent a pirogue and have them give we a drop to de party ship.” So said, so done! Some say they were actual ticket holders that simply reached REAL late and some say that they were superstormers. Whatever their situation, they were determined to make it into this party so as the pirogue pulled close to the rear of the “ground level” of our ship, these two fellas (now turned party legends) clambered over the rail, past the “security” and joined the fete. If I hadn’t seen this with my own two eyes, I would have discounted this story as mere urban legend, but peeps, I was there and have the pictures to prove it. MASSIVE PROPS to these two individuals. Since they did not know exactly where the ship was, they had an entire ocean between them and the party they obviously had to search for us before attempting to board. I have no idea what the final cost of their escapade was but I am sure the pirogue was not cheap and I sincerely hope that they got their money’s worth because as great as the fete was, I for one would not have been on that pirogue.

After the little Pirates of the Caribbean episode, I refocused on the party which had gotten way out of hand. By now the partygoers had either gotten through to the bar and had organized an ample supply of chaser and ice or they had said to hell with chaser and ice and were batting their liquor straight and lashing it for six! De people an dem were wining back-to-back, front-to-front, back-to-front, and well you get the idea! One Liverpool fan (We Never Walk Alone by the way) was perched on a cooler looking around for a victim like a spider looking for a fly and if you were the lucky(?) lady to pass too close to his web, he is on you like char-su on pork!

The rest of the boatride was pretty much bumper to fender right up until we mysteriously appeared back at the dock. To attempt to describe every piece of wildness, spiderwinery, and wotliss palancery that took place on the Treasure Queen that Friday would be an exercise in futility. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have attached well more than half a million words to this commentary so that hopefully you can catch a glimpse of what went on for the approximately four hours we spent at sea. As we disembarked and milled around in the car park, we watched them clean and restock the Treasure Queen for another party that was to sail later that afternoon and we knew that no matter what happened on that sailing, they will never have as much fun as we did on that Silent Morning. I had heard about the New York Silent Morning experience being compared to the legendary Hawke’s Boatrides from Labor Days past and after having experienced both, I can unequivocally state that the only difference is the size of the vessel. The intensity and sheer enjoyment felt by the patrons is hard to miss especially when you look at the pictures. In all of the pictures the subjects are either smiling broadly, shouting, waving, or looking in disbelief at the winery or the finery present. This was as BESSS a boatride as I could ever hope to attend and I am reserving my ticket for next year one time (and planning to leave an hour earlier to get there so as to avoid any potential assness).

Enjoy the pics peeps, Break Biche is next………..

Spice 2010 Review (9)

Lawd Faddah, where to begin!!

Spice, Spice...I had such high expectations of you and needless to say I was let down. First and foremost, I should have seen the signs from early on. I am an overseas masquerader who registered online back in September. After hear the glowing reviews on Spice from the previous year and after experiencing the crap from IP that same year, with whom I played mas, I decided why not give Spice a try. It began with me never getting an actual confirmation form from Spice. September passed, October, came and gone, so did November...still nothing. Emailed the mas camp and that proved to be a futile effort because I really can't remember getting a response but I figured I won't stress it because I have bank statement, credit card receipt, etc. so I am good.

Fast forward to carnival time now. I see it listed in the papers that Merchants of Venice costume collection is carnival Tuesday but I know that would have been pace to try and make that so we decided we would just collect it on Friday along with some male Rapnatpura costumes. So we arrive at the Hilton, get a number and were told to sit down and wait to be called. While waiting we notice a table in the corner with Spice T-shirts and tanks for $20.00. I thought this was just for sale for the people that wanted some sort of Spice memorabilia, not knowing that this is your Monday wear options that you have to purchase. What the...you mean to say we can't even get a pair of shorts or the men a T-shirt!!!! I guess IP has it's perks.

Anyways, finally our number is called I sit down and proceed to hand the cashier our online receipts. She then proceeds to tell me that online masqueraders have to collect costumes on Carnival Sat and Sun. WTF...why, I ask her. She then proceeds to smile and just apologize. Then she brings out the costume collection sheet (which I never received via email) and shows me some fine print on the bottom of the page which states the whole online masqueraders collection days. Why, oh why Spice should I have to be up in your collection venue on Carnival Sat & Sun!!! What sense does that make?!?! Whatever happened to just sections collecting on a specific day!!! I felt like I was being punished for registering online. So whatever, we saw that basically we would have to come back.

Fast forward to the next day. Finally costumes paid for and we proceed to collect our boxes. First, I go over and collect my costume. I get my box and I'm like "Why this box feeling so light, like they forget to put something in here" Nope, they didn't forget a thing. Not one blasted bracelet to jingle on my wrist, no pair of bling earrings to go with my costume, just a bare costume....stueppssssssss. One time my vibe is down and I just want to leave from the Hilton. Then I pull out this horse bra that they give me. Now, I am one of those females that is well aware of their actual breast size. I know exactly what a 36B bra looks like. I don't know what sizing chart they use but the bra in my box was not no 36B that I ever see before. So I ask if they can change the bra and it's one set of conference that had to go on before someone went searching for something more like my size.

At this point, I feel so defeated and unexcited that I taking anything close to my size which is what I ended up doing. Now after I finally closed up my box and turn to see how the fellas are making out I noticed that they are still satnding at the other tables with no box in hand looking confused and vex. I'm like "what's up?" "We have no costumes!" "What you mean you have no costumes?" "Well, they pulled the boxes and there was only shorts in the box and nothing else." So, as we stand there CJ comes back with some long story explaining what happened to the costumes (of which I still don't know what happened to the costumes) and basically apologizes and offers to switch their section. Why the hell is it that people that registered in September don't have a frikking costume!!!

By this point, I am at my breaking point!!! I'm like 'You guys decide what you want to do' not knowing that there was really only one option because they were told (very politely by C.J.) that Spice was not offering any refunds or discounts!! LAWD...Spice, are you serious!!! Oh gosh, I know allyuh money hungry but don't make it so frikkin obvious. So long story short, they ended up in a different section.

Now after all of this leaving a bad taste in my mouth, fast forward again to Carnival Tuesday at the lunch/rest stop. Just getting into the park itself is an ordeal. We finally make it into the park, fight up for some remnants of ice and hot pepsi from one of the bins. Luckily, I managed to score a cold fruta from the bar truck before they locked everyone off. So we waiting in one long mess of a line for the barbecue chicken, lentil peas and rice meal. We finally reach to the front and I hear ppl cussing and getting vex. Seems like there is none of that food left so ppl have to wait supposedly 15-25 minutes for more of that (in line, in the hot sun). The other alternative is the Arabic food which they started bringing over from the other line to give ppl instead, which sucks, but it is what it is, I guess we will have to manage. But it was what was said that made me know right then and there that this was would be my first and last time playing with Spice.

Someone was complaining about the having to eat the Arabic food and was told by someone in Spice management, who was sharing out the food, that 'Beggars can't be choosers' Naaaahhhhh, I really didn't just hear that!!! Who the *&!@ is begging!!!!!!! So paying $600US plus is considered begging!!! At that point I wanted to pelt my Fruta bottle at the man and mind you he didn't make this statement directly to me. After that I was like you know what Spice...not me again!!! Please realise that this is your second year and just as easily as masqueraders come, they can go!!! How dare you treat your masqueraders this way and have this mentality towards them. They can come out with the baddest bad and the hardest hard and they will not see my money again!!! I guess if it's the lesser of two evils I will take IP any day!!! Later Spice.....
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