Jouvert!

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
1
19
129
Trip End Feb 04, 2012


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Where I stayed
Festina Lente

Flag of Grenada  , St. George,
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'll give you the shortened version of this update, since I don't have much time to write.  We're preparing the boat tonight to set sail for Guyana tomorrow after we run some last minute errands like getting fuel and suppliesr. 

The past two days were the final days of Grenada's Carnival.  Let me tell you about Jouvert (pronounced like "jouvay"), First off, all we knew was that it was an overnight celebration inthe streets that involved music and dancing and throwing paint and motor oil at each other.  We had a vague idea of what time and day it started, having heard mixed info as to whether it was Sunday night/Monday morning or Mon-Tues, and if it started at midnight or 4am or in the afternoon.  The only consistent info we got was what to wear: "Old clothes. If you want to wear your clothes again after Jouvert, don't wear them to Jouvert."  As backpackers, Sina and I had no clothes to spare, so Adam donated a couple of old jeans that we started fashioning into outfits at around 2am Monday morning, having decided we'd shoot for 4am Monday and hope that was right.  And if not... well we'd be the stupid tourists in ridiculous outfits who got the day wrong.  Anyway, with our patchwork handmade jean skirts, Sina's shirt made out of jeans and mine an old twisted up shirt, and rags tied around our heads (to keep the paint out of our hair), we headed to shore just after 4am.  As we approach the dock, we hear no music and see no people, not a good sign.  Then as we get closer, we notice there are in fact lots of people walking along the street.... in perfectly normal clothes. Not looking good.  But once we get out and start following the crowds, we start to see what we came for.  Big boxcar-like trucks inch down the street blasting Soca music from stacks of huge speakers.  People dance all around the trucks, wearing anything from normal clothes to just underwear to masks to cut and decorated T-shirts.  Everyone is wearing paint.  Some people approach us and smear hot pink paint all over our arms and faces, and now we're officially a part of Jouvert.  For the next few hours, we dance in the streets with thousands of other people, sharing paint and being led around by some guy we met who wanted to show us everything.  We couldn't entirely avoid the motor oil and end up with it across our faces and arms, along with every other color of paint people had.  As the sun comes up, a sort of organization emerges from the craziness.  At the head of the pack are what are called "jab-jabs" (I think), covered entirely in motor oil, wearing viking hats, and linked together by hanging onto long chains.  Behind them were loosely organized groups wearing the same color shirts or paint. Mostly everyone continued to mill around dancing and smearing paint.  Spectators started to line the streets, and participants started to get just a little bit sloppy.  We chose this time, about 8am, to head back to the boat, where we first all jumped into the sea to wash off the paint. After a quick snack, I can still hear the music pumping from the shore as I fall asleep.  

Tuesday was the Parade of Bands.  All we knew was that it started in the afternoon and that there would be elaborate costumes.  Luckily we somehow get to shore just as the parade was getting underway.   After a few minutes in the hot sun not able to see around the people in front of me, I find a perch on a stump in the shade with a perfect view.  The costumes are amazing.  I think there was a competition, so the parade was organized into groups.  Each group had like 15 people in matching costumes - mostly sparkly outfits with elaborate hats and feathers and props and glitter, plus one or two stand-out people wearing these crazy costumes with frames in them, so that the person looks like a giant paper fan probably eight feet in diameter.  The costumes are beautifully colored and designed, I can't even describe them.  I forgot my camera, but Adam took pictures and eventually I'll be able to put some up, hopefully.  There probably isn't time before we leave for Guyana.  Anyway, the downside to the parade was that it was painfully slow, since they kept stopping for the groups to be judged, I think.  No matter, it was still really cool.  And now I have Soca songs stuck in my head, especially the "Tornado" one that apparently won something and is played practically nonstop. 

Well, so much for the shortened version. Now I really need to get going.  The trip to Guyana is at least 80 straight hours. Hopefully there will be enough wind to sail us there faster, but will probably have to use the one working engine the whole way, which could take days longer.  Wish me luck!
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Comments

Mom on

Good Luck! I'm not happy to hear that there's only one working engine! Hopefully you'll get some wind.

alicia.
alicia. on

Yeah, I'm not too happy about that either. And the auto pilot just stopped working! Guess I'm getting an adventure whether I want one or not. It's shaping up to be a greuling several days. We'll see how it goes!

Leah on

Wow, good luck. Don't get stranded at sea. Joel and I saw a documentary about this part of the ocean that is super deep and is basically devoid of life (and it's like hundreds of square miles), but all kinds of tiny organisms and fish come out at night, so if God forbid you get stranded in that part (I obviously have no idea where Guyana is), fish at night and you will be able to survive! I'll pray that you have a safe and fast trip sissy.

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