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.

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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!

The Carnival Recovery Plan (And Too Much Fun With Bulletpoints)

This morning I woke up to the unhappy realization that, one week from now, what will possibly be two of the most fun days of my life (yes, really!) will be over.  I have a feeling, nay a certainty, that I’ll be going through the kind of let-down that kids get after Christmas, where you can’t BELIEVE that it’s all over…. sigh.  I mean, I’ve been bigging these two days up since last year, when I decided to play mas.  Here’s how the big-up/unbearable excitement built-up went:

  • Early January 2009:  Hmm, this carnival thing looks fun.  Maybe I should have done it this year. Fun with feathers–all about it.
  • Mid January 2009:  I definitely should have signed up to play mas this year.  I want to wear a ridiculously big headpiece.
  • Weekend before Carnival:  What de ass were you thinking, not signing up, gyal?
  • Jouvert (Monday AM):  I’m too drunk and I’m reverting to Spanish, but must kick myself hard for not playing mas– once I can kick a target and not miss or fall over.
  • Carnival Monday:  My head hurts.  It would hurt less if I could Hair-Of-The-Dog it on the road with a mas band and some rum today.  Husband sprained foot, good thing we didn’t sign up to play mas.  (Naw, I’d leave him behind and go anyway).
  • Carnival Tuesday:  If I spot a girl of my approximate height and size, Imma grab her costume and run!
  • Ash Wednesday:  Only six months till I can sign up!
  • March, April, May, June:  Weep a bit every time the 2009 Road March gets played on the radio.  I’m picturing feathers and jewels as I get myself back into running and swimming (as in, I picture a costume ahead of me and me giving chase during the first two months of running).
  • August 2009:  I signed up to play Rubies of Mumbai in Spice!  Abs moves, here we go… Lose sleep for a week from the excitement of signing up.

Etcetera and what have you…

But back to my plan.  Given the steady pitch of buildup to Carnival this year, I need to acknowledge that there will be a significant Carnival tabanca (state of depression with withdrawal symptoms, check Saucy’s post for more on this) and gloominess to contend with.  The Husband and I discussed it this morning (boy, does that man know me or what?) and he got me thinking that a plan must be put in action, with goals and pluses to look forward to once the soca (and my inevitable sunburn) die down.

There ARE things to look forward to after Carnival:

  • No paranoia about getting injured or sick (therefore missing out on the full, optimal Carnival experience)
  • No more paranoia about the dog getting at my costume and going to town on it with his teeth
  • No more problems with conflicting tan lines (I use SPF 80+ but swimming three times a week in an outdoor pool WILL get you, this close to the equator)
  • More free time and sleep (less time spent fussling at costume, obsessing over costume, or talking about costume); that translates to more reading! More sewing! More good TV and movie watching!

Therefore, after Carnival and a full post-mortem of it, you’ll find me:

  • At my sewing machine with gorgeous fabrics and foxy patterns, doing some desperately needed wardrobe improvement
  • With my head in the pile of books I brought back from Buffalo–I didn’t stuff my bag to within a half pound of the baggage limit to let the main offenders (books) collect dust
  • Catching up on Mad Men/Flight of the Conchords and starting Dexter
  • Going to see the giant leatherback turtles nesting at Grande Riviere beach
  • Planning some trips home and elsewhere…. Secret secret!
  • Starting up a 10K training plan–I’ll hold my own race if none are scheduled!  The main thing is training for the distance.

I say this all now with good cheer and all confidence that it’ll cheer me up come next Wednesday.  But we all know how it will go…it’s up to you to hold me to this when I’m wiping my tears with feathers and crying into my Carnival cup next week.

_____________

Obviously, Carnival is not acknowledged through office-wear, hence my dress for the day:

Target dress (from the clearance rack–it was $3.49 or something ridiculous like that! I was that color this morning when I was done with my run, which was great and good, though not dog-free), Target shoes (again), Trinidad mosquito bites. It’s a lovely dress and I’d like to keep it fresh by having more like it in the work rotation, hence the need for serious wardrobe improvement sewing.

On any given day, a soon-to-be Carnival diva will eat oatmeal with bananas for breakfast:

A Mediterranean chickpea salad (chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, capers, harissa (North African chili paste–check out a good version here), olive oil, vinegar, cumin, etc):

And Monday night’s chilaquile leftovers for dinner:


She enjoyed ALL of it (though she probably would have enjoyed her lunch salad more had she been less stingy with the harissa, which she’s treating like gold as it came “from foreign”, as they say round these parts).  She will also admit to having been tempted by a KFC sandwich brought in by her coworker–until she realized that she was only tempted by the red, which is reminiscent of her Carnival costume’s color, and not by the chicken itself, as she has NEVER been a fan of KFC (proud ownership of her race-blingbag KFC/Scotiabank Breast Cancer Awareness 5K bottle notwithstanding).

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.

___________

Mondayness…

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…

In Which My Carnival Costume Rules the Day

What breakfast, lunch or dinner?  A girl with a closetful of feathers and gems does not care about such mundane things as food, company or beach.

So, in case you missed it and I haven’t made enough of a big deal about it, I picked up my carnival costume yesterday at the Hilton.  The pickup looked something like this:

At the Hilton, about to storm the place for my feathers

The sign should ACTUALLY read "This way for feathered teeny bikini glory"

Check out all the other future Rubies of Mumbai (e.g. headpieces!)

Bags full of swag bags--including the band cup for all-inclusive drinks nonsense

The view from the Hilton while I was waiting for my goody bag: Queen's Park Savannah (world's largest roundabout!), city of Port of Spain, and Caribbean sea in the background

Same pic as in yestereday's post--I am going to marry my headpiece

Wanna see the costume in detail?  Well, since you asked…

The headpiece. After carnival, I will be running races in it.

A leg-piece, which will be attached to my boots

Assorted bangles--half of what the band provided. They are HEAVY--about half a pound per arm.

The bra. What else is there to say?

The belt that will add a bit of modesty over my teeny bikini bottom. Fabric and jewels, oh my--it weighs as much as a small dog and the beads make a great big whop-whop sound when you shake them

Necklace and earrings.  The earrings are great if you like the whole stretched earlobe thing--that's how heavy they are

Necklace and earrings, which are yet another heavy accessory. I don't know if my lopsided earring holes can handle them....

I must have looked at it all about fifteen times in the hour between waking up and going to the beach.

In non-costume related news, I spent about two hours at home today.  There was a great breakfast of French toast with pineapple and watermelon, with fresh orange juice on the side:

And a trip to the beach where I had a delicious bake and shark and chilled on the sand and under coconut trees:

After the beach, we hustled to get changed and sand-free and and drove Trini speed (e.g. REALLY fast) to make it in time to the movies for a Bollywood film (Dul Mil Gaya–not the greatest, but amusingly cheesy and filmed partly in Trinidad, so it was fun to figure out the shooting locations) and some post-film beer and fried delicacies of the potato and provision variety:

Two beers were had, as was some great conversation and a total soca-fest of music in the car on the way there and back, during which I expounded to the husband at length on the virtues of an older, less silly Shah Rukh Khan.  I’ll go before I bore you with the details….

Life Gets In The Way…

…Of thorough blogging.  I ate good stuff, wore a very nice outfit, etcetera and what have you.  I promise you a better update tomorrow, but I’ll leave you tonight with a single shot of the Highlight Of Today, The Reason I Woke Up This Morning, and Number One Raison D’Etre for the whole last year:

Meet the  latest Ruby of Mumbai!  A long, profanity-inducing,vexatious day at work was completely forgotten when I collected my carnival costume from the Hilton in Port of Spain this afternoon.  I didn’t even mind the ridiculous traffic on the way back because my gorgeous feathery alter-ego was in the car with me, gleaming lovingly back at me in the glare of car lights and urban highway sprawl.

I promise you a preposterous amount of mas costume pictures tomorrow, when the light for pictures will be better and I will have stopped shaking with excitement.  Until then, you’ll find me sleeping under my feathered head canopy next to a box containing the heavy jeweled bra top, heavier bracelets, jangly bechained belt, and the tiniest bikini bottoms (eek!) known to womankind.