The official opening of the Sint Maarten carnival is a grand event called Jouvet, a conjunction of jour ouvert - or Open Day. And to really open the day, the parade starts at 4 am. That’s right, 4 in the morning.
Given the plethora - no really, almost an infestation of Canadian boats in the lagoon anchorage, many of us spent the night before in a sports bar owned by a Montreal couple, trying to cheer on the Senators to just one more win. Finally overcome by Montreal and out of the playoffs, we headed back to the boat to grab a few hours sleep before the two of us were back up at 3:30 to find a way into Philipsburg for the party. Not going to repeat it, but there was a distinct lack of Canadian representation at this early hour folks!
|Andy and Judy enjoyed the wings and the game, but not the outcome.|
|This was some serious coverage!|
The parade formed on the road that circles the salt pond behind Phillipsburg, with multiple large trucks, each one outfitted with a complete party. Live music or DJ, pretty girls, free booze of the sponsoring company and an avid group of partiers doing the carnival shuffle and cheering behind the truck. The trick was to find the one with the party mood you liked best, so we walked up and down the parade a couple of times before settling in behind the Heineken truck. The infectious beat, paired up with a few “good morning” beers soon had us hooked and what started in the dark with amazing light displays from the trucks, gradually developed into a hot sunny morning as the sun rose over the hills. The transformation continued as the crowds of dancers brought out bags of green paint powder that was liberally sprayed around, almost raising a green cloud behind the truck. As if the paint powder were not enough, a liberal dousing of beer made sure that the green really stuck. Hotter and hotter it became until we realized it was only 8:30 in the morning - had we really already been partying for four hours? My empty tummy and tired feet certainly thought so. What a fun and unique experience - I can still feel the incessant rhythm in my toes and am primed and ready for the big daytime parade on Thursday.
|These trucks had some serious sound and light shows on them.|
|All manner of creative costuming was seen - especially talented razor blade slashing of t-shirts.|
|The rhythms soon had everyone gyrating and doing the carnival shuffle step.|
|As the sun rose these two 'Caribbean Grannies' bounced past us - these two guys were shameless.|
|A whole tribe of indians had the most amazing costumes.|
|We met a whole group of Canadians who were from Sudbury, where I grew up!|
|Look carefully and you'll see that these two guys are doused in engine oil, and carrying spare jugs should the need arise.|
|Behind the Heineken truck the crowd got greener and greener.|
|And following along behind this troupe of French maids were ready to clean up.|
|End of the parade for us, and believe it or not, we're actually pretty clean compared to most around us.|
One would think that after all that fun, the day would pretty much be over, but the fun had just begun! On our return to the boat, we met up with our fellow boats from the BVI and set a ‘breakfast’ date for La Sucriere in Marigot. This was after Henry and I had revived ourselves with chicken curry empanadillas in Philipsburg, but who’s one to turn down a French pastry? While in Marigot we finally met up again with Laura and Jason on Blue Blaze. We reunited over a light lunch at one of the French restaurants on the lagoon and got all caught up on the last few weeks since we were together on St. John. The day before we had also reunited with Robert, Sheena and Kinsley on Almost There, and Dave and Alex on Banyan. I think at this point, just about everyone we know is here!
|Doris & Francois enjoy a little Sucriere treat.|
Not to be outdone though, a few new arrivals to the anchorage introduced themselves and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves down at Lagoonies for happy hour and a birthday and arrival celebration. The party went mobile and we visited the Yacht Club and then a delicious shawarma shack before the night was done.
Was it finally time to go to bed?? Yes!