We spent six months living in Trinidad on our sailboat and had the good fortune to experience Carnival up live and personal. We actually went to see the judging of king and queen, visited a pan band practice, visited a costumier and saw how the costumes were designed and made, attended a lecture at the art museum on the social and political meanings of the costumes (very important to the understanding of Trini history and culture). Our sailboat was moored just offshore in a protected bay in Chagaramas (the west end of the island which used to be a US naval base during WWII (actually one of my cousins was born there). On the land were several outdoor rock clubs and the Saturday night before Carnival was Insomnia 2000 where they played all night. It was so loud our boat literally vibrated.
But Jouvay is the real beginning of Carnival - you get up at 4am Monday and go to downtown Port of Spain and wander around watching bands of people march through the streets - some are painted all over like the Blue Devils and others wear trashy, funky costumes. Still others carry buckets of wet mud and they throw it at you - did I mention you should wear old clothes? Then you come home, clean up, and go back downtown to listen to the pan band competitions. Then on Tuesday you go downtown to watch the parades of costumed bands marching and dancing. Then you literally go into a coma - Trinidad pretty much shuts down for 3 days during that time.
Every year I do a little decorating for Mardis Gras/Carnival as you can see by the pix. The green bear is Erin, whom I purchased while we were living in the camper/trailer after the hurricanes. Our beloved cat Sam had passed soon after the second hurricane (17 years old and the vet said the stress of 2 hurricanes in 3 weeks just literally killed him) so I got Erin for our pet while we lived in the trailer. Erin gets decorated for holidays and he still has a place of honor in our living room even now. Hana, our current live fur companion, just ignores him.
I did three layouts yesterday and will probably do another posting later. I also plan to go see Slumdog Millionaire today.