I’m speaking, of course, of Carnival, the wild, colorful, loud, unabashedly proud, and sexy annual celebration that more than anything else really reflects the true spirit of the West Indies.
The major festivities are still weeks away, but all now all of Trinidad & Tobago is making ready for the big fete. I got a glimpse of just how busy (and fun) the run-up to Carnival can be during an early-January visit to Trinidad in 2012.
It was after 10pm on a Wednesday night. We’d just enjoyed dinner and some seriously inventive cocktails at Flair. Striking out into the Port-of-Spain night, we saw evidence of the building Carnival excitement everywhere.
Costume-makers sewed and glued away by lamplight inside a number of windows we passed along the road. Street vendors around the Savannah were already doing a brisk business in the same corn soup that would keep revelers fueled during the wee hours of the biggest Carnival nights to come. Pan yards percolated all over the city, the musicians drilling endlessly with no apparent sense (or care) of the late hour.
Around every corner, up and down every street, the atmosphere was simply electric; everyone getting themselves Carnival-ready in some form or fashion.
The sweet steelpan we encountered wasn’t solely limited to the pan yards either. In pockets, on empty streets all around the city, we ran into small troupes like this one, rehearsing in the dark well into the night…
More on Trinidad Carnival here.