Wednesday, August 12, 2015

And The Beat Goes On

It is now well past the end of Carnival and we are starting to 'detox'.  What an amazing time we have had from J'Ouvert, to Monday Night Mas, to Pretty Mas and all the fun and NOISE in-between.

After getting back to the marina from J'Ouvert on Monday morning, we rested up for Monday Night Mas.  Some very hardy souls went off to see Pretty Mas but we held off until Tuesday for this more formal parade event.

Monday Night Mas is the people's parade and is really a huge dancing street party, sponsored by one of the big beer companies, starting well past dark and carried on until the wee morning hours.  Amazingly, although thousands of people congregate with the sole purpose of drinking, dancing and generally having a good time, not a single policeman was to be seen and we never felt that 'uh-oh, this isn't a good thing' twinge at all.  In fact, although in the press of bodies, we lost each other occasionally, the crowd is so pumped up on Carnival and good times that you can't help but smile and chip along with them.

Here's a little aside to get you into carnival lingo:  Playing Mas means you are marching with the parade.  Chippin' and Winin' are the main activities of Monday Night Mas, and many of the other parades as well.  Chipping is the parade pace dance step that you do to the blaring music - knees spread wide, small stomping paces in time to the music timed with a swing of the arms.  Doing this for three or four hours can certainly take a toll on your leg muscles and back.  Wining, on the other hand is something that should only be attempted by the young and agile, although anyone is fair game.  Even when standing still, you will notice the hip and butt sway that can only be achieved by those raised to it and, in its full glory, wining involves at least two people sensuously grinding all their intimate lower parts together - do you get the picture?  Before long, someone is bound to grab you and start to grind against you - just go with the movement and enjoy the moment.  This is definitely something that wouldn't EVER happen back home (without an ensuing assault charge.)

In preparation for the Monday Night Mas, we picked up our Carib kits consisting of a neon-bright shirt, a sparkly hat, a Carib bottle and neck lanyard, a wrist bracelet and a light sabre - all of which lit up with pulsating, multicoloured LED lights.  Carib is one of the popular beers in the islands and a huge sponsor of the Grenada Spicemas.

We set off just as the sun was setting and as per the usual routine ended up standing around a bit waiting for the whole event to get started.  Once going though, it was stunning with all the lights and the thousands of people crushed in playing behind the trucks with 15' high speaker and light displays.  We joined the Carib truck and marched a couple of miles  by which time it was almost midnight and time for us to carry ourselves back to the boat.  However, we could still hear the parade making it's way around the bay and I have no idea what time they might have finished in downtown St. George's, although it was probably almost sunrise by the time the last players headed home.  Remember, we'd been up since 3:30 celebrating J'Ouvert in the morning so with the music actually making the boat vibrate, I made good use of the earplugs purchased at the hardware store earlier in the day, and enjoyed what remained of the good night's sleep.

Pictures follow and have a look at my next post for an update on Pretty Mas.

Happy hour and a pre-party check of our Mas Kits.

Everything is in good working order for this part of the Carib troupe.

Dave & Andy made sure the light sticks worked.

Everyone's ready for a good time.

Alex says, "Bring on the party!"

With those bright shirts we should be able to find each other ... even though there were a couple of thousand others in those same bright shirts ;-)

The Parade of Lights begins.

It's impossible to convey the sheer noise and energy in this huge crowd.

The sparkle of the lights was absolutely beautiful.