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!

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).

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….