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Shakin’ it at Carnival in St Vincent

Despite living in the Caribbean for two years, Yvonne had never experienced a Caribbean Carnival.

Since arriving in the islands five months ago there have been Carnival celebrations in Curacao, Grenada and St Lucia. Frustratingly we kept missing each islands Carnival celebrations by days……

Today was the day we were finally going to experience what Mardi Gras in the Caribbean is all about.

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Yesterday Kingston celebrated J’ouvert, a large street party that started well before dawn. J’ouver involves Soca / Calypso bands and their followers dancing in the streets smearing paint on their bodies and each other. An evening street party followed this for those who had the energy.

Tuesday 8th July  was the culmination of the 2014 Vincy Mas Carnival celebrations which was kicked off  over two months ago on May 3rd.

Our day started by catching the 7:30 AM ferry from Bequia to Kingstown St Vincent. One hour later after a bumpy crossing, we were walking along Front Street on our way to find breakfast.

There was no doubt that there had been one hell of a party the night before. A small army of street cleaners armed with brooms and buckets were removing the empty bottles plastic cups and Styrofoam debris from the street. Some of the partygoers still lay where they had dropped, sleeping off the night before on sidewalks, benches and protrusions of concrete.

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After a hearty breakfast, we headed up to Victoria park to see what, if anything was happening – along the way, side stepping comatose partygoers and remnants of their dinners. Determining that we were just a little too early we made our way back to Front Street and the staging area for the Vincy Mas Bands.

There was definitely a buzz in the air despite the collective hangover, the girls and guys were preening and primping their costumes behind the fenced off staging area. The myriads of security guards were keeping a tight lid on things as the numbers and the chaos swelled.

Deciding this was a great place to watch the proceedings we settled into wait and passed some time posing with the costumed revelers. Eventually they were ready. They poured out in groups, each group sporting its unique themed costumes–Fire and water, ying and yang, rainbows and the sea, all portrayed in a sea of color.

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Our first Carnival, Vincy Mas culminated in a magnificent street parade. Hundreds of revelers, danced, stomped and wiggled their booties in a sea of vibrant colors and acres flesh all fuelled by rum punch and a driving beat!

 

About the author: Apparently born under a wandering star, Michael spent hours as a kid poring over maps, atlases and plotting where he wanted to travel when he grew up. Sadly Engineering school got in the way….. “it takes 5 years to complete and a lot longer to get over”. He still considers himself a “recovering” Professional Engineer. He escaped the rat race at 44 and now pursues his passions for travel, photography, Tai chi, scuba diving, cooking and sampling the world’s wines. Michael is also… Fiercely independent, a bit of a rebel, is on a self-imposed media diet & married to an incredible lady.

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