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Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Trinidad Carnival - Silent Morning

Greetings peeps, Kermit here on Carnival Friday about to board the 2011 Silent Morning Boatride and the excitement is palpable. Last year’s inaugural sailing was one of the best parties for the carnival season and this year promised to be at least as epic so when the announcement was made that boarding was beginning, my crew and I immediately made our way to towards the entrance to get on board. While the process was not as smooth as it could or should have been, we eventually secured our breakfast sandwiches and drinks, passed through security, and claimed our regular spot below decks on the right of the bar. This was a BYOB type of event and we were well stocked with alcohol and chaser so after we purchased a couple bags of ice from the bar, we started drinking in preparation for the wildness that was on the way.

As you will see from the pictures, the boat is essentially divided into three decks: the ground floor, a terrace circling the ground floor, and a top deck which is open to the sun and breeze and I spent much of my time wandering from top to bottom trying to capture (in between wining of course) as much of the action as possible and believe me, there was plenty going on. For the hour or so while everyone boarded as well as for the first 30 minutes after we headed out to sea, the vibes were pretty much on the warm-up setting. The DJ’s were flexing their muscles and plotting their assault and the partygoers were stretching and increasing their alcohol intake in preparation for the attack because make no mistake my peeps, Silent Morning is not any normel carnival fete; this is a wining war where no prisoners are taken and if you can’t handle the level of winery on board, you should never have come. I have been taking pictures at parties for many years and my style is more that of a photo journalist than a still photographer. I try to capture exactly what I see around me as I party and while there are many pictures where the subjects have posed for the shot, there are many where I simply capture the action as it unfolds. Today, however, my role was combat photographer and once the wotless invasion began, it was everybody for themselves.

There are many stories I could tell about what I saw that morning; I could tell tales of heroism about Big Chiney Winey who tried to take on a young lady half his size but with twice his waist; I could tell you about the encounters with various other boats ranging from mere gapers, to the Coast Guard, to other party promoters who came on out boats to Silent Morning to hand out flyers; I could talk about the breakdancing battles that erupted throughout the boat when the back in times set kicked off; I could talk about all these things and would easily fill page after page with narrative but I will not do so because that is what the hundreds of pictures are for. I will however relate one particular encounter on ground zero that I was fortunate enough to witness and to document.

There I was peeps, in the trenches with fierce wining to my left and savage jamming to my right, battle cries echoing all around with combatants locked in a deadly embrace as they tried to mash up each other’s waists using nothing but their own. It was a sight I’ll not soon forget but in the midst of all this chaos, one soldier-ess, a lovely lady of formidable build (let’s call her Rubber Tree) decided that she wanted to be carried around the party for a little bit so she hitched a ride on a lone soldier, let’s call him Ant, and Ant, by rising to this challenge, provided inspiration for those struggling around him. As the pictures will show, when Rubber Tree threw her leg over Ant’s back and neck, he never flinched or retreated, he accepted the challenge and despite being half her size, he not only picked her up and wined for a while with her on his shoulders but he did so with a smile. (We really only saw part of his head from between her thighs but it certainly looked like he was smiling.) I was concerned about her getting off though, since it is much harder to effect a graceful dismount from such a perch but I needn’t have worried as Ant was more than up to the task. Being an Ant, he was optimistic he would survive Rubber Tree’s movements and, happily, his high hopes were fulfilled.

After seeing this example of bravery under fire, another much smaller young lady decided to take a ride as well, however after she leaped on the man’s back he apparently staggered or tripped on something and ended up on all fours mere inches off the ground. The young lady, still perched on his back and apparently quite unconcerned about her sudden descent, continued wining and I thought it strange that nobody reached down to lend a helping hand to a fallen comrade . True this is war, and war is hell but oh gorsh man! This fellow needed no help as he was Trini Rambo. Without missing a beat Trambo gathered his strength and pushed himself up off the floor, he then drew one leg up looking like he was in the “Ready” position to run a race and with one smooth move arched his back and stood up all with the young lady still wining comfortably. I should note that even in war, chivalry is very much alive as the same group of onlookers that turned to stone when the man fell, immediately leaped into action to help support the young lady as she was being lifted back up. I’m not sure what happened immediately after that as I must have looked away for a second but the next picture I have is of the young lady now facing the fellow with her legs wrapped around his waist and he has no shirt on. I would have liked to know how they made that transition so quickly but maybe it is best that it remains a mystery.

As we cruised back to the dock, I remembered my feelings of euphoria after last year’s boatride and I also remembered hoping that subsequent Silent Mornings would be as much fun as the first and to my surprise, this year was even better. This was the by far the most wotless party for the carnival and it was the perfect continuation into the carnival weekend. First Beach House, then Silent Morning, could it possibly get any better? With the Vale breakfast fete next, how could it not.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Vale is next…………..
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