Wrap Up

Recently overheard at a local rumshop:

SALTPRUNES: Boy I see yuh reach back from Carnival.
BOYSIE: Yeah and ah ready to go back.
SALTPRUNES: Go back tuh Carnival?
BOYSIE: No…back tuh sleep. Ah tired Prunes ah tired.
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Now that Carnival is officially over and I, like the other tourists have left Trinidad and Tobago, leaving the streets (… well, not “The Avenue”) to go quiet again, I can finally gather my thoughts.

But first, there’s no way I can continue this article before issuing two apologies – one to my readers and a GIANT one to my editor for missing my last two weeks of RSCs.
I’ll keep it real. The first week I have to chalk up to Carnival delinquency (read age). J’ouvert followed by Monday and Tuesday on the road only allowed for a sleep-filled Ash Wednesday. But I can’t make excuses for my second missed article, other than a case of what Trinis affectionately call “break biche.” – and for that I humbly ask for forgiveness. But just to be clear, I’m not promising it won’t happen again next Carnival.

Let me now move on and say to those who are interested Carnival 2012 was great. Though I don’t think it was as mind-blowing as last year, the vibe was just as good, even if the season felt a bit hurried. Looking back I realize just how much liming and feting gets packed into such a short space of time leading up to Carnival. During those few weeks of pure bacchanal, everything comes at you fast – the fetes, the drinks, the bumsees…everything. One minute you’re having a time in a fete and the next thing you know you’re waking up the Thursday after Carnival with memories partially intact like some kind of Carnival Matrix scene. As they say, “Carnival is pace” and “pace is madness.” So it’s no lie when people say that you need a vacation after your vacation.

If anyone reading this has a bucket list (and no, not talking about the one in Swappi’s song, but the list of things to do before you kick one) and you have never experienced a Trinidad j’ouvert, then put that down for sure. Now I’ve played j’ouvert before, but this was my first time in about three years and if I do say so myself it was my all-time favourite. I’m not sure if missing a few had anything to do with it, but this is the first time I felt the true “j’ouvert experience”. Not to sound slack, but getting dirty in the darkness is pretty liberating. Maneuvering through the streets of Trinidad covered in mud, paint, oil or cocoa with your head filled with riddims, bass (and drinks) as the dawn turns to light creates a feeling of a new beginning. I felt somewhat reborn – until I had to get ready for mas’ the next day, that is.

J’ouvert to me is like New Year’s eve for mas’ players. I love the moment when tiredness meets endurance, the instant the sun cracks the sky. The sun reenergizes you to hit the road. I won’t continue to bore anyone with the mundane details of my j’ouvert. Hot sun… vibrant sounds of soca music blasting at ridiculous decibels… being covered in paint of every colour… Nobody needs to hear that snore fest.

I will say this, though. I am glad to get time to reflect upon the season gone and life in general. It allows me to look back at the beauty we see throughout Carnival that we sometimes really don’t see throughout Carnival. The energy, the vibe, the colours, the happiness even the sunshine, that’s a reflection of all of us. After all… Carnival is life.

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