"I beg you please, we don’t want no water when we touch down..."
I've been to many parties and island hopped many times but there is no (I repeat) no greater show than carnival in Trinidad. Of course, there were small issues I encountered but overall my entire carnival experience was pure VIBES.🙃 I can say for sure that Carnival Monday and Tuesday will never miss me again (God willing)... I will be in Trinidad every carnival season until I old and grey.
For starters, the anticipation was too REAL! My girls and I been talking about carnival for at least 3 years. I knew I wasn't ready then. But after attending #spicemas, #cropover, Miami carnival, Boston carnival and then #LaborDayCarnival, we were ready for all the bacchanal Trinidad had to offer. I must say we had one of the best travel concierge services available. We worried about nothing which made our experience that much better. When people tell you you have to book a year in advance, they are not playing. Pure madness! After months of research and reviewing other services, we decided to go with Noni Carnival. Originally, we stumbled upon them in Barbados while attending Cropover. They were doing costume drop offs, so we already knew they were legit. Usually, we would plan our own trips but this year we decided to pay the extra for less of a headache.
First thing first, Noni begun releasing it's packages in April. Now, you already know I'm a difficult person so thankfully, Noni was patient and flexible because I switched groups twice, questioned every line item on the intake form, had comments, opinions and thereon. Whew, bless their hearts. Ya'll know, I too am always ready to throw myself away. But their intake form was simple. The basics (contact information, birthday, accommodation options, travel parties, payment method & schedule, costume package, etc.) were asked. I appreciate that they later shared an excel spreadsheet for each person outlining the itinerary, flight details and pay schedule. I definitely checked my itinerary eryday, everyday to ensure I was on track. The only nuance was that you couldn't edit the itinerary at all. So if you brought #socabrainwash tickets, you wouldn't be able to add it to the spreadsheet to organize your itinerary. I also wish they formed a WhatsApp group so there was opportunity to meet and greet others going. But they did their best and it worked for us so Noni, it is... Here is a snapshot of my carnival experience.
So now that we knocked the logistics out of the way... Let's pump!
Day one: The arrival😎
For the first time in a long time, I took a red eye flight. Wack, never again. First of all, I flew with Caribbean Airlines. No, nope, never, ever again. One, who flies without internet? Two, the delay was insane. Three, the layover in Jamaica was a joke. I must say beggars cannot be choosers so there's that. It was the cheapest flight heading out that day so I really didn't have a choice. It's insane to think I brought this ticket in April and got a shity flight. People were not kidding when they say you need to purchase tickets as soon as they are released. #RollsEyes 😒 Speed it up-- I have arrived in Trinidad! So anxious, I literally ran off the plane. It did not matter though, my driver was trying to secure his American wife. Him and I finally exchanged words after he realized he'll need more than an accent to impress the ladies coming off the plane. Watching his desperate engagement proposals, he then asked me if I was looking to get married. Sir, I just got off the plane and I'm ready to go. Stop the madness.🤣 Clearly not interested, I went to get food while we waited for the other passengers. I'm pescatarian so the options were slim but I did stumble on a veggie burger combo from Royal Castle. It was probably one of the best veggie burgers I had in awhile. It had an interesting tangy, hot sauce taste that had me rethinking my future food choices. The shit was HOT but GOOD!!!! Switching gears- I finally got dropped off to the hotel. I'm greeted by my carnival chaser partner, Shantell. We immediately start drinking our dear friend Johnnie and relaxed by the pool.
After drinks, there were more drinks. At the bar, I met a dougla who wanted to show me how a "real Trinidadian" does drink. Until that night, I thought I was the queen of rum. I had rum from many islands so when he ordered White Oak, I looked at him as if he was a joke. Buuuuuutttt the MF joke was on me, I played myself. That's what I get for talking all that shit. In less than 30 minutes, I was ready for bed. I called myself taking a cat nap before the other two girls arrived. Well they arrived, played music, got dressed and I heard NOTHING. INSANE!!!! Could you believe I woke up as they were leaving to meet our driver to take us to Tribe Ignite. Whew, I never got dressed so quickly. Shit was real. It was the first night and I was already fucking tapping out. Takkkeeee time, PACE! Once I got my life, it was then time to show out sis...
Tribe Ignite: At this point, it was drinks, drinks and more drinks. Vibes was too nice. There was food for purchase. Us ladies were showing out. All of sudden, I had all the energy. In my head, I was saying girl, take ya tired ass to bed but my legs were saying, show out sis!. Okkuurrr... We saw @iamlyrikalace, @kesthebandofficial and @voicetheartiste. I'm sure there were others but this is all who I remember.
Day two: _uck Work🦆
Party was unmatched. This party was held at the Hilton hotel (AMAZING views). This was one of the best pool parties, hands down. Oddly, we couldn't get in the pools. That's fine, I'm more of a Jacuzzi type of gyal anyway. From the moment we reached, the vibes were BLISS. Like any other party, there were nuances but nothing worth holding a press conference about. Actually, there is one thing, those food lines were DISRESPECTFUL. It had to be easier to get into America than to get food. Yup, I remember, I was definitely in the back of the line talking shit. But the vibes made it all worth it. DJs were official. Drinks were official and most importantly the energy was unmatched.
My favorite performance was King @salty_711.
Little butts do matter.
Day three: Soca Brain Wash🌏
I'll start by stating the tickets were $180. You know I was expecting to ride a donkey and to see an unicorn at that price. Of course, I'm tripping but I was indeed impressed. The theme was "Treasures of the Orient". From the moment one arrived, they were overwhelmed with fascination. Champagne and top shelf liquor welcomed you in the walk-in. We all received cups and umbrellas that aligned with the theme. The food was AMAZING!!!! There were at least 50 tents filled with food. I'm not one to experiment much with food but best believe I ate all that I could. It was quite impressive that this was one of the highlights of carnival and not one soca artist (to my knowledge) performed. I'm frugal as hell but I'll def. drop another $180 to attend next year. Side note, I thought I found my future husband in the party but was calmly curved. Ha, respect.
Yes, I was showing out!
Day four: Sunny Side Up Breakfast Party & Maracas Beach🌞
This day was the start of some frustration. Let's start with the good shit. Arriving to Sunny Side Up Breakfast Party was a bit dramatic. I'm pretty sure the party was held in a school yard. I did not like walking to the back, between alleys, behind this and that to get into the part. For all that, you would have thought Michael Jackson was back there (you know I'm an animated storyteller). But really, promoter- the school yard? No worries, we still got on BAD. Let's talk food... not the best selection. I nibbled on a few things but ultimately was not impressed. Small thing. The performances made it worth it. The monk, @machelmontano, @patriceroberts1 and @motto_ilovesoca performed. I think others were there but I missed them during my bathroom breaks. I enjoyed their performances but suddenly begun feeling irritated. My skin started itching as if I was breaking out in hives. The only thing I could think of was the food I just ate. Good thing it was towards the end of the party and we were heading out because at that point, I was over it. We all headed back to the room to take a quick break and change for the beach. I took a Benadryl to cure whatever allergic reaction I was having.
We then arranged for a driver (separate from Noni's package) to pick us up. Maracas Beach was about 45-60 minutes away from our hotel so we were charged about $20/person.
The driver was kind enough to make a few requested stops and waited at the beach until we were ready. I'm a talkative person so I engaged in conversation there and back.
My mistake, I thought I was being friendly but the driver took it as an invitation for marriage. (Note, he later asked me for my Netflix password) Sir, goodbye, goodnight, good day.
Beach talk: I wasn't impressed with the beach. The water was not "Jamaican clear" (yes, that was shade!) and the waves were aggressive but the beach is the beach. It was better than what NYC could ever offer.
Heading back to the hotel was uncomfortable for me. I was irritated and annoyed. My arms have officially broke out. One of my roommates had medicine on deck so I was man down for the night and life as a fetter was over. All I wanted was my bed because Jouvert was in the morning.
Day five: Jouvert & Carnival Monday🎨
Not quite back to 100% but jouvert and carnival Monday wasn't missing me. Nope, not at all. We were signed up to play with Dirty Dozen. Before the road, Dirty Dozen had a pre-party before hitting the road. It was pure madness...
Crazzzzzyyy Peopleeeee...flour and powder in the air... nasty up, dirty up
I do wish I knew we were about to walk to Africa and back all before sunrise. Ha! Luckily, I am #fitbit challenger so the walk was too easyyy. I couldn't imagine walking that much without preparation though. Shit was intense. Side note, I was too thirsty to wear my mask from @artoffaces.shop. You couldn't tell me nothing! N-O-T-H-I-N-G!
Before we left the van, we arranged a pickup time with our driver so at 7:30-8 am, we knew it was time to go. Sunrise, we out! Driver was ready for us. The car was decked out with plastic bags so paint wouldn't stain the seats, prepared was an understatement. Next- Carnival Monday. We got dropped off at the hotel for a quick wardrobe change. At this point, if you were wondering- I now have added a sunburn to the list of fuxk shit happening with me. I'm what you would call an adult baby. My skin is sensitive, my arm dislocates, I get sore--- just leave me home. ha! Let's be clear, I in no way contemplated staying in the room.
Dressed and ready--- we're ready for the roadddddd. Bacchanal now start. Carnival Monday, for me, was the practice run for Carnival Tuesday. Bathing suits, something glamorous, old costume pieces, anything sexy was acceptable for the day. I never walked so much in my life. It was a beautiful thing to see though. Caribbean people smiling and jumping up and down to the sounds of soca. That sun was u-n-r-e-a-l and disrespectful. "On fire" was an understatement. I jumped, danced and showed out--- all with an allergic reaction and a severe sun burn.
Alcohol and water was literally the only thing on the menu and what kept us going. Thinking back, I cannot remember if food was even served. It's all a blur now. Actually, I now remember, there was a break. I thought this was too cute. We were issued bands with our costumes that allows us entry to the Tribe lunch rest area. Tribe really did SHOW OUT! The rest area had beanie chairs, blankets to lounge on, charging stations, dj booths, drinks and the restrooms were little glam squad beauty stations. There was sun screen and glue guns available to touch up one's outfits and so-on. It was official. I remember calling my sister and saying "girl, we are taking a break from the road". It was new to me that the entire band, liquor trucks and people take a break as if we're working an 8 hour day. Unreal.
Food was good. We rested and then BOOM, we're ready for the road... A few hours later, it was time to sleep and get ready for the world's great show "Carnival Tuesday".
To summarize Carnival Monday:
Day six: Carnival Tuesday😝
Grand finale. I never had so much fun. Never felt so free. Never wanted to repeat an entire day over and over again. Too many artists on the road. Too many familiar faces. No worries. No concerns. No stress. Unlimited alcohol. Unlimited vibes. Dope DJs. Entertainment unmatched.
The only thing I would change is not being in the same section as my girls. To organize and find each other after crossing the stage was beyond annoying. No time for that. Pick one section so everyone is one and done. Otherwise, practice patience because crossing that stage takes TIME!
We played with Tribe. There was so much hype leading up to carnival and playing with Tribe. HANDS DOWN, TRIBE was VIBES! Sign me up... cuz I come for this work... I'll let the videos and photos tell my story.
Cheers until 2021...