Carnival Days: Carnival Tuesday on de Road!

Finally the big day!  Get yourself settled and ensure all children or offendables are put away (lots of people in very skimpy clothing coming up…)

I jumped out of bed at 4:30, gave myself a tentative shake, and breathed a sigh of relief at being able to move everything painlessly after yesterday’s crazy dancing and jumping exertions.  I set the coffee machine, showered, and started on the makeup (like Monday’s, but more jewels and more layers of color and sunblock).  I tried to apply some false eyelashes, like all the cool girls wear, but the glue started to sting and burn on my lashline so I had to wipe it all off and forgo the falsies for big mascara.  Lesson:  Do not attempt to play with serious chemicals near your eyes on Carnival Tuesday (at least practice withstanding the burn).

After I did myself up, we rushed to take a couple of pre-party, pristine costume shots:

Then we jumped in the car and headed off to pick up a friend and meet the band.  Did I mention we left the house at 6:30 am??  Rise and shine, peeps, rise and shine…

Once we arrived in Port of Spain, we found parking near what we assumed would be the end of the band’s parade route and quickly found the band, who were out in full glory and enjoying breakfast to the sounds of some sweet pan:

Pan band providing musical love for the band during breakfast

Nothing like feathers in the 7 am Port of Spain sun

The Ruby of Mumbai prepared by hitting up the breakfast truck for some doubles:

Breakfast doubles truck man, how I heart thee

Look mami! No tamarind sauce on my costume!

After breakfast (at around 8:00 am) they started to line us up in our sections, by costume, to await the crossing of the Savannah “stage”/judging point:

Rubies forming an orderly line

Rubies in a less orderly formation, in full sun

At this point we got all excited, and waited, and got more excited, and waited, and inched our way up the road, and waited, and waited some more:

Rubies rehearsing their best stage-crossing moves

At around 10:30, we finally reached the Savannah “stage”, which is not really a stage but rather a spot on the Savannah where bleachers are set up and judges look at costumes and evaluate the band’s portrayal of their theme and general enthusiasm/craziness.  I was thirsty as could be (and it was definitely beer o’clock with no drinks truck nearby) but the energy of the 2,500-strong band, the crowd, the cameras, and the setting were enough to get the adrenaline pumping and get me jumping, dancing, and waving myself all across the stage, and boy did I have myself a time for those brief five minutes!

There were TV and media cameras EVERYWHERE and you best believe this girl got as much camera action as she could snag, waving her feathers (both the literal and figurative) with pretty wining for all and sundry to record.  It was BEYOND fun, especially when tourists and spectators would ask for pictures with us in our glory (I think half of China may have had their picture taken with me).

Of course I was too busy doing my thang to take snaps as I went along, but I did catch some of the aftermath:

Rubies getting some air and recapping stage-crossing glory stories

After which we mobbed the drinks truck for some refreshment before continuing on our merry way along the Savannah for an hour or two:

Thirsty masqueraders mobbing the drinks truck

Savannah public/onlookers

Greece, the costume Little A would have worn had she come for Carnival, sniff...

And a friendly masquerader in Merchants of Venice, the costume I ALMOST picked, had it not been for the suspect placement of green feathers down below...

And wound our way to the lunch spot for the day.

Because I was so damn intent on getting my picture taken in front of Pollo Tropical, the tasty Puerto Rican food chain that just opened on the Savannah:

Do they have REAL Cuban black beans? Must find out... but didn't on Tuesday

And stopped to get near the cooler zone (where they whoosh cold air around you) and to remove an big errant bra bead that somehow landed inside my boot, we got caught in the lunch mob trying to file into the QRC grounds and it took a while to get lunch and find seats on the bleachers (which were definitely not as nice as Monday’s seats).  I had just enough time to get lunch, give my feet an airing, take my headpiece off for a bit (oooh, relief), hit the bathroom and reapply sunblock before we headed out again.

Once we did, it was around 1 pm, and the streets were blazing hot, but the drinks truck kept my water and beer flowing and the party REALLY kicked off:

Need to stop traffic and cross the road? Just wait till people start wining on a car and then go!

Doing my civic duty and wining on a car (for the sake of traffic, of course)

Flags and booties waving--real island representin'

Maybe Mr. Laura can be convinced to wear THIS mas costume next year?

Just before reaching Ariapita Ave. (where there would be masses of spectators and my favorite part of the route) the band staff gave us some much needed energy popsicles to gear us up.  Duly sugared, we hit Ariapita, feathers a-wavin’ and tails a-shakin’:

Enthusiastic winer "throwing waist"

These two looked fresh and happy ALL day long, representing the Adulis/Africa band section

There were tons of spectators and picture-snappers, so I pranced and posed my heart out with all the other divas on the road:

A male Greece individual costume graced me with a pose--I'm in awe of him!

Ladies looking lovely in the China costume

And did the generous diva thing by giving away bracelets and one of the feathered armbands I made to the cheering and admiring little girls/future-divas-to-be:

After that we headed back to downtown for more carousing and the final part of the route.  More drinks, more crazy dancing, plus a snack of aloo pies to keep us happy and energized:

Police SVU weaving through the mob of dancing peeps

I may have wined on the drinks truck....

And I may have wined on the King of Carnival (big platform contraption thing)

As the day wore on, lots of headpieces came off as they succumbed to wind and wining.  Still, some of us managed to hang in there:

China section member representin' after dark

I am happy to report that my headpiece stayed on for the whole route, and that this girl danced from the second lunch ended until the day was done.  I might be a Ruby of Mumbai, but I’m also an Energizer Booty!

I took a bit of a fall at the end, when a girl in costume rushed past me and knocked me over, but thankfully I just got a few light scrapes and bruising–and the snacks truck delivered a final snack of Doritos to me right after and that was enough to distract me.

As we marched back to the car (which was really close this time–kudos to Mr. Laura for a stellar parking job!), I started to feel a bit teary-eyed at the thought of it ending.  I have looked forward to this ALL YEAR, and even since before last Carnival.  However, it confirms the fact that I am a Carnival addict, and like all the other addicts I will patiently wait for the madness to start up again for Carnival 2011.

Yesterday, I tallied up the damage to the costume and counted my lucky stars that I had not worn any of it on Monday, given the state of it after Tuesday’s fun-having.  Here is the bra before:

And after:

Dangling beads, broken chain, plenty dirt and grime

The belt before:

And after:

Dangling and missing chains, torn-off beads, raggedy fabric

Boots before:

And after:

Boots, dirty and chain-dangling and beads missing

The headpiece, before:

And after:

Feathers flopping in the wind (because they came unglued in the back)

I also tallied up the bruises and scratches on me, which were at their worst on my wrists and neck (where the sweat and sunblock reacted with the cheap scratchy jewelry to give me some nasty-looking cuts and burns):

Cuts and abrasions, yuck

Oh yeah–and I can barely walk from all the dancing.  I don’t think I have any hip flexors left.

But was it worth it?  Absolutely.

I am not being hyperbolic or facetious in saying that Carnival really changed me.  I never thought I’d have so much fun in the short span of two days, that I had so much energy and adrenaline in me, or that I’d have the confidence to wear next to nothing for all and sundry to see while dancing in ways I never thought I would and taking part in  what must surely be the largest street party on earth.  I will eat spaghetti and cans of tuna to afford this next year.  Because there is a next year, and a year after, and every year after that, as long as I can shake it and there are flights to Trinidad.

Carnival Days–Valsayn Fete and Carnival Monday on the Road!

Whew.  I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime since last Friday’s Soca Monarch!  No words will ever do justice to the sheer awesomeness of my Carnival experience, but I’ll try my hardest, going slowly and in order.

Which brings us up to….

Carnival Sunday:  Jamboree Fete

We hit the Jamboree all-inclusive food and drinks fete in the neighborhood this year, as we did last year, because it was a great time last year and some great acts played.  I wore my Carnival fete creation–I draped and folded and pinned and crossed my fingers, and voila, it’s the first dress I’ve ever made without a pattern, woot woot!  I was beyond happy with the result:

I chipped (shuffle-wine-dance combo) down the road to warm up for the fete:

We arrived unfashionably early, which meant we could grab a good table in a prime spot before the crowds arrived.  I didn’t mind in the least–we amused ourselves quite nicely taking in the thumping beats and gorgeous setting in the park and did our best to get our all-inclusive money’s worth in food and drink (in that order):

Mini bake and shark

Pholourie (spicy seasoned chickpea flour fritters with pepper sauce and mango and tamarind chutney)

Mini lamb gyro

Food and drinks tents

The rum setup table--note the amount of rum per cup, which meant that rum and Cokes were basically rum with a splash of Coke for color

After all the food I could handle (including an unpictured plate of fried chicken and fries) we got down to the business of mingling and dancing to the ever-louder music:

The DJ was great and warmed us up to a nice and frenzied pitch for the three musical acts–who NEVER SHOWED.  No Bunji Garlin, no Faye-Ann Lyons, no Shurwayne Winchester.  Nothing, nada, zilch.  Oh well; truly annoying, but at least I got some good Trini food, drinks, dancing, and a mean hangover for my troubles.

Carnival Monday:  Hitting the Road and Warming Up for Tuesday

So, about that hangover…. Ach. I woke up feeling like death warmed over and was surprised that my crazy eating (both at the fete and afterwards at home, where I housed toast, eggs, and leftover Indian spinach and sweet potato hash) didn’t soak up the moderate excess (ha!) of alcohol consumed.  However, nothing was about to stop me from having a good day so onwards I persevered, downed some oatmeal and ibuprofen, got dolled up:

After which we finally hit the road!

Monday mas is a big party warm-up to Tuesday’s full-costume extravaganza, so it’s more casual in terms of start times; though bands set off at 9 or 10, most people don’t arrive until 11 or so.  We arrived in Port of Spain around 11 and set off to find the band, which took off from Charlotte Street downtown at around 9 am.  It took us about forty-five minutes to find our band and on the road and we marched the entire parade route, around half of Port of Spain, at a fairly fast clip until, thirsty and grateful, we found them.

Never have I been happier than I was after crossing those security ropes and downing a bottle of water, after which we got our party started.

Our band on the road! Crazy mass of people partying, basically...

Note the huge trucks on the side--those are the drinks and music trucks

When we arrived, we took the sights in and got a feel for the setup.  The band had three music trucks blaring soca at a million decibels from huge speakers on it, about three bar trucks serving premium mixed drinks, beer, and soft drinks, an express bar that had soft drinks, water and beers, a couple of snack trucks (with chips and the like), a “wee wee truck” (with portapotties on it–damn, I wish I could say I used it just so I could say I peed on a moving truck, but sadly the urge or desperation to do so never struck), plus an ambulance truck.

The drinks truck--note the Spice-logo coffee cups, which we were all given to use for our drinks

I was floored by the sheer amount of security personnel, which would make sense later when I found out that the band had about 2,500 masqueraders/participants.  There were security personnel who held up ropes to fence the band in as we wound along the streets, security personnel who guided the trucks along the route and ensured that masqueraders were kept safely out of the way of the moving trucks,  and a particularly hardcore, very mean looking “extraction team” which consisted of huge men with big batons who pulled out any stormers who dared cross the ropes and join the band/hassle band members/try anything funny in the much-feared extraction team’s presence.

After wining and chipping and dancing for about a couple of hours, we wound our way to the rest area for lunch . The band scored major points for setting up the lunch and rest area at the Queen’s Royal College grounds for lunch and we were most grateful for the shade, chair and tent setup, and beautiful setting of the country’s poshest secondary school:

QRC grounds, food tents in the background

We quickly found chairs, grabbed lunch from one of the lines, and ate while chatting about the morning’s sights.  I had stewed lentils, rice, salad, macaroni pie, and barbecue chicken.  It was all very good and very well-organized, so we had plenty of time to rest a bit–and re-bandage any emerging foot blisters, which were beginning to set in.   Had I not overcompensated for possible blistering and wound a band-aid around my pinky toe so tightly as to cut off circulation, I might well have been fine, but as it was I ended up giving myself a blister from the bandaid instead.  No matter, though–nothing that some beer and adrenaline wouldn’t take care of:

From left to right: Carnival Kristy's foot, husband's furry leg, my poor forsaken foot

After lunch, we paraded and jumped and wined our way along the rest of the route through Woodbrook and back to downtown.  I saw lots of crazy wining, lots of VERY skimpy Monday wear, and an astonishing number of wedgies on girls who did not have the desire–or foresight–to wear tights with their boyshorts, bikinis or thongs.  True, the tights might be scratchy and tight and give a muffintop to all but the most toned, but they do shape and firm, prevent wedgies/wardrobe malfunctions, and gave you a strong protective barrier from dust, dirt, sweat, and the advances of uninvited winers.

As the afternoon went on, the mood got more frenzied as we all got to know each other (well, by face or backside mostly!).  The band was large enough to feel like a real presence on the road, but not so large that we ever felt crammed or claustrophobic.  It was a great vibe in terms of band composition too–not so young to be acting like children out on a first outing, not so old to be disapproving of dancing and drinking, and friendly and ready to get down as a group.  The band was very well-organized and we had no problems getting drinks or water; they even sent around staff with popsicles after a few hours in the sun and threw baggies of chips into the crowd a few hours after that to keep energy levels going.

I wish I could give more concrete anecdotes, but I hope you’ll take my word in that I had an awesome time drinking (mostly water–Port of Spain in dry season is hotter than hot hell so way more water than beer was consumed), dancing, and partying with my Spice peeps:

This young lady in orange wined on the burglarproofing/metalwork on this building, which happens to be the Ministry of Finance and Inland Revenue--take that, taxes! As you can see, Ministry security is not too fussed about it...

Wining the day away...

Wining on Independence Square...

A winer safely wining in the presence of the much-touted and ever-present Extraction Team member

Well-deserved break on Brian Lara Promenade

We danced until the truck stopped playing music at around 8:30 or so and then did the loooong walk/drag back to the car, running into some friends and some food on the way:

Yeah right! I didn't eat that (but will, someday, just to say I did)

Corn soup--much more like it

Your girl got home, showered off the dust and grime, and tried to get some sleep for Tuesday!  Thankfully, I was so tired–and SORE–that I fell asleep pretty easily for my 4:30 am wakeup call for Tuesday.

I’ve got to hand over the laptop (and good thing, too, as the internet is being slow as turtles right about now and making uploading pics a real pain) but I’ll be back with the final, biggest, bestest, most photo-y recap of  Carnival Tuesday tomorrow….  Stay tuned!

Carnival Monday Sneak Peek

Carnival Monday has been amazing, beyond compareison, 200% fun, and well worth the buildup all year long!

I’m about to run off in search of epsom salts, after which I will ice my knee and attack my foamroller before trying to go to sleep for a 4 am wakeup tomorrow.  A full recap is coming your way on Wednesday, I promise-double-pinky-swear, but until tomorrow, here’s a sneak peak of Monday wear:

I Survived Soca Monarch!

It needs to be said and bears repeating:  me (and my camera) survived Soca Monarch.

Soca Monarch is one of the so-called “fetes of the people,” since prices are on the low side of the fete ticket range ($200 TT=about $30 US, in comparison to more chichi, non-all inclusive fetes that start in the 350 TT range or even all-inclusive–food and drink, that is–fetes that go from 400 TT to 800 TT).  Add to that the fact that this one is held at the HUGE Queen’s Park Oval stadium in Port of Spain, and multiply that by the fact that all the main soca performers will be there doing there big hit songs, and you can see how this translates into a less affluent, younger kind of crowd.  Plus, when the performers big up the crowd by calling out for some noise “if you’re from San Juan/Arima/etc” and the biggest crowd response comes from Laventille, Morvant and Belmont (the most dangerous, favela-like neighborhoods), you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

In other words, I was warned not to go by coworkers and was requested to email them that I got back safely–exagerated precautions, maybe, but only just barely exagerated.

So I headed out witha  tiny purse carrying contact lens solution, hand sanitizer and lipgloss, and nothing else.  When we arrived in Port of Spain we caught up with some friends, took in the sight of ladies in spandex and tiny shorts (shortpants, as they call them here) and young guys in polos, jeans, and all kinds of bandanna, and went through security:

After getting VERY well frisked, we were handed rags to wave and glowsticks :

And found a spot front and center in the standing-room-only, silver (aka cheapest) area.  I had every intention of taking a few pictures at this point, but sadly, the only one I got to take was of the massive police presence in our section–bullet-proof gear on, helmets propped, fingers on automatics at the ready:

That was the last time it felt safe to take pictures, so away went the camera.  Sorry, peeps–I’d love to have given you a better view, but I just didn’t want to lose the camera or worse.

The show was great–intense, loud music and some very good stage acts.  Shurwayne Winchester, a soca artist who looks shockingly like Marlo on The Wire, did a great act for his entry song “Murder” that started with him getting carried off screen in a gurney, then going “rewind” and showing how exactly he got, well, dead.  It was a wining murder, apparently–a lady of large proportions came out and wined so violently on him that she killed him with her moves and big behind, oh my.  It was a shocking display of un-PCness but hey, at least the crowd cheered at the wining murderess in her tiny lingerie set as she wined Shurwayne to death.

There was also a very witty video intro for Shal Marshall and Screw’s “Police,” in which they did a Law and Order: Soca Victims Unit sketch as part of the musical act.  And, of course, there were all sorts of acrobatic wining feats by big-bootied ladies featured throughout, busting the kind of moves that made me think long and hard on what would be the necessary proportion of fat to muscle to be able to swing your asscheeks in opposite directions, while turning in circles, in unison to the song (stil haven’t figured it out).

Faye-Ann Lyons, reigning Soca Monarch, came out and did two great numbers that would have put Miss Beyonce, much as I love her, to shame, showing off her incredible singing skills (and physique–I didn’t think ladies could have such six-packs and toned curves, much less after having a baby less than a year ago).  Towards the end of the night, as the crowd was getting more riled up and rougher, the song “Palance” (whose title is taken from Jamaican slang for hanging out and having a good time with friends) came on, and the dance craze it’s created (going left to right with your arms to each side while wining crazily) kicked off.  I have been in some mean moshpits in my day, but NOTHING like this–I got caught in the middle of two groups who were palancing in different directions and kept getting crushed.  Eventually (because the song was dragged out to fifteen minutes for maximum crowd frenzy) they got their directions in synch, so I was ok as long as I went along with it (which I happily did) and didn’t mind getting lifted off my feet in the crush of people (which I didn’t mind).

After that, the crowd started to thin out and the more dodgy elements were left, with plenty of drunk aggressive serial winers (they come up to you and wine close and don’t take a hint unless you actually walk off fast) and those looking to eyeball some stealables or a fight.  That was it for us, and once the live acts ended and the DJ came on to await Soca Monarch results, we were out.  Time of departure: 3:45ish.  Despite the dodgery at the end, though, we did have a great time, and it was a great wining warm-up for me–it takes a fete or two for me to get used to wining again (kinda like base-building with running

Needless to say, today has involved a lot of sleeping.  I slept till 10:30, woke up, drank some water, read for a bit, and fell back to sleep till 12:30. Then we got up, had breakfast (I didn’t take pictures of the eggs in a hole because they were TOO ugly, but see here for my last, prettier, rendition), and slept some more until around 5, when we made a go of having part of a day and got woken up by a very loud puja (Hindu prayer ceremony) going on in our neighborhood.

Being half-asleep all day made me pretty listless and undecided about what to make, and I changed my mind about a million times before settling on Indian sweet potato hash:

I really wanted to make the Most Fabulous S’s Sri Lankan sweet potatoes, but when I realized I wouldn’t even come close I veered off into more familiar Indian ground, with cumin, coriander, chili, fenugreek, and other spices in a sweet potato and spinach mix.  Served with tomatoes and onions and some rice (white because there’s no getting brown rice around here for love or money lately), it definitely hit the spot.

I will try my hardest to stay awake until my usual bedtime because I need a good night of sleep tonight!  I’m going to a daytime fete tomorrow and can’t wait to cut loose in my self-made fete dress–tune in for the big reveal….

Fantastic Friday Is Here!

No, my friends, that title is not just me being hyperbolic–it’s the actual name of today, in carnival terms!  (For those of you tired of hearing about carnival, a) I’m sorry but I just can’t contain myself! , b) it will be over next Wednesday, when regular subject matter posting will resume, and c) I’m very sad for you and recommend a visit to the doctor.)

Today is the day that the non-stop partying becomes REALLY nonstop.  There are all kinds of fetes (live music parties) going on 24 hours a day until Carnival Monday.  There are parties that start at sunbreak, parties that go all day, and parties that start at 4 or 5 am (to facilitate attendance after you go to a night party), and parties that go straight through the night and provide breakfast before continuing for the rest of the morning. The whole island will be thump, thumping to the sound of live music acts and beats, as it has been pretty much since Wednesday night, but LOUDER.

I can’t waiiiiiit!

My carnival weekend is looking something like this:

Friday night: came home, powernapped, crammed two final hours of work and dinner.  Off to Soca Monarch at 10!  Eat, drink, dance, hopefully not get my camera stolen, and get home at 4 or 5 am.  Collapse on bed (hopefully without attacking the bag of bread as I am wont to do while intoxicated).

Saturday: sleep as late as I can.  Shower, get back in lounging clothes, spend day getting acquainted with my couch avec pillows and book.  Drink orange juice and cover myself in orange pulp and zinc to cure this nagging cold feeling.  Plan on making some soup or pasta sauce for Monday/Tuesday and leave it frozen; nix cooking plan.  Resist the urge to find a Saturday night fete to attend and satiate the fete urge with a single solitary rum and coke at home while wining by myself to music blaring from my computer.

Sunday: Try to go for an early run (to ensure early bedtime in preparation for Carnival Monday–probably won’t happen, but must try). Hit the market for fruits and veg for the week (I’ll need nutrients to counteract vitamin rum).  Nap.  Eat a bit of lunch.  Listen for the sounds of the fete going down in my neighborhood.  Head to fete when it starts to sound really jumping.  Eat all the Trini delicacies I can get my hands on (you know, the ones that got me all pleasantly plump last year–roti, doubles, bake and shark, corn soup, pholourie–the more fried and carby and tongue-burning spicy, the better), try to drink more rum and cokes than I end up spilling, and dance like crazy in ways that will horrify the more genteel neighborhood contingent.  Get home, wash off muddy feet from park fete, collapse in bed.  Try to sleep.

Monday: Carnival Monday!  Bra–check.  Boy shorts–check. Gold sneakers–check.  Bangles, glitter, feathers lite–check.  Sunscreen–check check.  Sense of shame–leave it at home.   Head to Port of Spain early (band takes off from meeting point at 9).  Brief Mr. Laura on wining/being wined upon protocols (one random wine upon my person=OK; persistent winer=you’ll get cuteye from me and him).  Dance all day, eat all day, drink enough to keep merry without giving myself a hangover and watch that Husband does not slip off side of road and sprain his foot a la last year.  Go home, hose off glitter and grit, collapse.  Try to sleep.

Tuesday: Carnival Tuesday!  Wake up two hours before the buttcrack of dawn (band will be meeting at 6:30 in Port of Spain–yikes).  Inhale oatmeal breakfast, toast, etc (as much as I can for rum mop-up in bloodstream).  Decorate myself with glitter and stick-on gems.  Don fabulous costume, down good-luck rum and coke, and prepare to have THE MOST FUN DAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE EVER.  Think about the people who I wish were here to have fun with me too and have more than a few drinks in their honor.  Cry on the way home at the sadness of it ending (and the thought of the hangover my drinking will invariably cause tomorrow).

Wednesday: Probably be the most tired/hungover/exhausted I have ever been in my life.  Tentatively cut my bangs to cover up the tanline the headpiece will leave on my forehead, despite my careful sunblocking efforts.  Delight in the amazingness of what we’ve done and pat myself on the behind for putting my behind out on the road.  Swear that, despite the cost (having to save up all year and eat canned tuna and not buy clothes and shoes when I could have used them), we are DEFINITELY doing it again next year.  Try not to vomit.

Want more Carnival related blabber?  Check out my previous Carnival related posts:

Two Months and 21 Days Until…

Accomplishment Saturday

Girl About Town

Saturday, In Pictures

The Final Carnival Shopping Trip (Or So I Say Today)

Life Gets In The Way

In Which My Carnival Costume Rules the Day

Glue, Feather, Stitch, Repeat

Costume Prep, Part 1,257

My Carnival photo page from last year

Spice Carnival Band (where I’ll be representin’)

Read up on what the Carnival experts have to say:

Trinidad Carnival Diary: written by Saucy Diva, THE word on all things Carnival

Wining Kriminals:  this man knows his Carnival

Carnival Addicts

Like I said, it’s Fantastic Friday, so I’m out!  Nothing I ate or did today takes precedence over party-time, so no workwear or food posting today, I’m afraid.  I’m dressed and ready to go, wearing this and a good dose of sassiness:

I’ll be back with a full fete report of eating, dancing, naughtiness and wassiness (bad behavior) tomorrrow!

Costume Prep, Part 1,257

Last night I set about making the last big item for my carnival costume.  I had been planning on whipping up a satin pouch for my sunscreen, safety pins, extra glitter, vex money (emergency cash, in Trinispeak), and lip balm, plus a few ibuprofen and a teeny bottle of eyelash glue.  Some people carry mini backpacks on Carnival, and the band actually provides a small and sweet swag bag for this, but no way am I letting anything ruin the look of the outfit.  Hence the idea of the little pack, which I designed with elastic that could be pinned or looped onto my belt–unobtrosive, hands-free, matching.

The finished bag:

The bag I will actually use:  The Man Purse (aka Mr. Laura and his capacious costume pockets).

After stitching and gloating, I went to try it on with my costume.  Major fail.  The decorated chains and beads would tangle up on the bag if I had it hanging from my hip, and there is NO SPACE to hide it or attach it anywhere else.  Bag decoration operation was aborted, and Husband was wheedled into pinning the bag and its contents to his shorts (in addition to stuffing his costume pockets with more stuff, like tiny hand sanitizer and sunblock bottles.)

There’s a saying about playing mas that goes “don’t bring sand to the beach”–or, don’t play mas with your significant other because there will be plenty other people to dance and party with.  Personally, I want to bring a BUCKET of sand to the beach because I want to minimize any unwanted wining upon my person.  And, not only will said bucket of sand (e.g. The Man) provide excellent bodyguard services, it will also serve to carry my necessary goods.

Speaking of which, he’s got a mighty spiffy costume too! Check for yourself. Nice, huh?  Because a Ruby of Mumbai should always have her own personal maharajah at hand.


I feel a bit of a throat itch coming on, so I stayed away from the pool.  I’m not taking any chances on being sick in the next few days.  If that means no running tomorrow, then so be it (though if I do run tomorrow, I might do it with a feather in my headband, just to get in the spirit of things).  My attitude to this potential possible sickness?

Apart from taking vitamin C, I also fought off any possible impending sniffles with bright clothes and shoes:

Scrambled eggs and guava toast:

Mediterranean chickpea salad and broccoli soup for lunch:

And pasta with tomato sauce and grilled garlicky eggplant:

A good night’s sleep is in order because my Carnival officially starts tomorrow night at 10 pm–I’m going to a little fete called International Soca Monarch, which is only the biggest fete of the season because all the soca acts play their top songs and compete for awards.  Come four am I hope to be getting down with Faye-Ann Lyons as she hopefully retains her Power Soca, Groovy Soca, and International Soca Monarch titles–all of which this goddess of groove won and performed for last year one week before having a baby. BIG ups.  I can only aspire…

Night y’all!

Glue, Feather, Stitch, Repeat

I spent yesterday resting, shopping, and then in a frenzy of glue and glitter activity.  By the time I went to bed, I could see red when I closed my eyes and kept finding little globs of UHU glue all over me. For the sake of my keyboard and not getting glue and gunk in it, I stayed off the laptop.  I hope you understand…

All of the above can only mean one thing:  more carnival prep!

Sunday:  Lazy No More!

First things first, though, I’ll hit you up with some food pics lest you get the idea that carnival prep is so all-consuming I forget to eat–yeah right:

Since I decided to sleep in and forgo the market this week, I didn’t go grocery shopping in the morning either, so I had no eggs for breakfast pancakes, scrambles, French toast…  Oatmeal it was, spruced up by this sweet mango that the Eagle-Eyed Husband spotted waaaay up in our tree last week (it was so high up that I have to wonder:  does the man climb the tree to fetch them?)

Then I made like a Refrigerator Vacuum Cleaner and sucked up my leftovers in a most cross-cultural fashion:

Voila some West Indian red beans with Chinese pepper beef and vegetables, an unholy combination unless you’re in super-diverse Trinidad, where this combo actually could turn up on a table. (Donkey candlestick courtesy of my stylista grandmother, who gave it to my other/sweetie grandmother, who kindly bequeathed it to me.  It’s not political–it came from Spain.)

OK, back to the good feathery stuff….

I was my usual procrastinatin’ self and couldn’t bring myself to make a decision on my Monday wear bra for weeks, so I did up my boots first, by attaching the costume leg pieces and some purchased feathers to the gold-sprayed boots.  I then UHU’d the hell out of the entire nonsense and gloated at how cool it all looks:

Sorry so blurry--it's hard to hold them upright and snap at the same time

Then I tackled Monday sneakers.  I had planned on wearing my boots for both days, but idea of having the legpiece decorations fall off on Monday (or, conversely, of having to decorate worn, possibly drink-splashed boots in an intoxicated state on Monday night) was just way too much for me, so I got a pair of cheap tacky Converse fauxverse at Francis Fakes Francis Fashions and got down with the spray-paint again.  Note the endearingly horrid sneakers before The Spraying:

As you can see, I covered the rubber parts with masking tape to keep the stripes and white parts, then sprayed and sprayed some more with gold paint before leaving them to dry:

I then crossed my fingers and pulled back the tape, and wouldn’t you know?  They came out AWESOME–white parts preserved, skulls covered, only a teensy bit of unavoidable pink left!

I may or may not attach some feathers to the back.  Either way, I think the gold sneakers will be in rotation long after carnival is over (if they survive…)

After the sneakers, I realized I was ready as I would ever be to deal with the Monday bra issue.  I had bought a perfectly decent bra to cover up and decorate.  However, I was concerned about covering the back and the straps, which would need to stay elastic for it to fit properly and comfortably.  In the end, I decided to keep the bra for regular wear and covered up an older strapless bra; that way, I wouldn’t need to mess with decorated strap nonsense and could use clear straps if necessary. I also decided to leave the nude-tone back uncovered to prevent any shrinking/elastic issues.

Voila my handiwork:

I looove it.  It matches the Monday boy shorts perfectly and I’m digging its Indian maharani-dressed-as-Wonder-Woman vibe. (Also in the shot are some armpieces with feathers and gems and a feathery hair barrette for Monday, which I’ll wear in the back of my head in combination with the leftover bra trim as a headband.)

Whew.  And while that was all going on, I tested wearing a gem on my face, stuck on with eyelash glue, to see if it would hold up (it did–but I looked quite silly wearing it during dinner).

Now left to do:  the carnival bag.  I’m not so much concerned about construction as about size (and where I’m going to put/pin it, given that my costume has about fourteen inches squared of strong pinnable material–just sayin’).  The way to go will be to decide what I want to take, how much of it I can wheedle the husband into carrying in his pockets, and then making the bag to fit the rest.  Coming with me for sure are sunblock, tiny tube of eyelash glue, extra gems, lip balm, oil blotting sheets, perhaps a bit of glitter or mini eyeliner. The camera does not need space in the bag–it’ll be chained to my wrist ALL DAY LONG.



In non-Carnival related news, I finally wore pants to work (for the first time in almost a month):

See why I don’t wear my pants? I like these striped linen-blend pants, I truly do.  But I’d like them even better if they did not give me that sexy SpongeLaura SaggyPants look. They need a visit to a tailor.  They cost twenty pounds–in 2006.  Verdict: I think I’ll let them be and haven now retired them.  Sigh… At least I felt cute in the necklace.

I also ran my usual 5K loop in 30:15 this morning!  I can just about smell that under-30 minute 5K time–and I will soon, if I can pace myself better in the last 400 meters.  At the moment, when Nike+ says I have 400 meters I gun it for about 250 meters, then have to stop and breathe so as not to puke in neighborhood bushes, and then floor it for the final 150ish meters.  It’s not good for my stomach or my self-respect to be spotted running in such a psycho way, so I’m working on that.

As for food, I forgot to defrost both strawberries and pumpkin, so it was another bowl of banana oatmeal eaten at work (as a girl who ate apple oatmeal every day for about two years, you can imagine I’m not bored of it yet, but I can see how you may be) :

For lunch, I ate up the leftover African peanut stew.  I froze the last two portions and, upon defrosting, the veggies have all gone a bit fuzzy and indistinct (eggplant, sweet potato,onions,  green peppers, tomatoes, red beans), but I don’t mind and the salad of tomato, peppers, cucumbers with vinaigrette made up for any texture smooshiness issues:

For dinner, I decided to put the tortilla chip bag to good use (because eating them two or three at a time after climbing up on a chair and batting them down with a long spoon to get at the high shelf where I put them hardly qualifies as good use.)  Chilaquile (a Mexican lasagna-like casserole with tortillas, salsa, and any other tasty tidbits you can find to throw in) is the best use I know of for those demonically addictive chips:

I could say that the chips’ unhealthiness is redeemed by its fiber-rich (from black beans) and nutrient-rich (from tomatoes, corn, and spinach) content.  But I won’t because I am not apologetic about this dish.  The tortillas could be made of little nuggets of butterfat and I’d still slam two dishes of it–it’s that good.  (I know, yet another plug for the wondrous Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which recommends baked tortilla chips that I can’t ever find here).

I’m off–Mad Men Season 2 is calling my name and I’m answering, even though the ladies don’t wear feathery…