Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Caribana - Toronto Carnival 2016

Man I’ve been trying to get my life together to write this Caribana blog for 4 weeks. Have I gotten it together yet?  No! But here goes…
Haven’t been to Caribana since 2013, for those not in the know Caribana is Toronto’s Caribbean carnival.  Even though I had a good time in 2013 I didn’t return in 2014 because I found out when I touched the road march that it’s a DRY carnival, meaning NO ALCOHOL *ZOINKS*!  In 2011 and 2012 I was a stormer (didn’t join a band, just bum rushed the parade).  So in 2014 I decided to try out Crop Over in Barbados instead.  Crop Over was fun, but it’s pricey (over $2K) so back to Caribana I came.  Toronto came in under $1K (flight, lodging, car, costume, & fetes) and I can say that I left feeling like I got my moneyz worth.

No need to go hard in the paint like we do in Trinidad with nonstop back to back fetes.  I had old people fun this trip.  What is old people fun you ask?  It’s a mixture of fete’n and relaxing. 
Landed bright and early Friday morning and headed to the hotel of the homies that flew in Thursday night.  We didn’t hit a day party Friday cause we had a ton of errands to run.  Went to pick up our costumes at Saldenah Mas Camp, the craft store so I could make a minor alternations to my costume (booty cheeks were ALL THE WAY OUT and my booty aint that sexy), hit the grocery store to stock up our condo, and of course hit the liquor store. 
$59CAN = $45 USD 
I pay $19 for a 1/2 gallon of Bacardi at home
As I mentioned in my 2013 Caribana blog Liquor is HELLA expensive in Canada, I would have to turn to hard core drugs if I lived there cause I couldn’t afford to indulge like I currently do.  Traffic in Toronto is nasty, all dayym day, for reasons we couldn’t understand.  Wasn’t rush hour, no construction, like 5 lanes of traffic going each way, but just endless traffic. Le sigh! 
Instead of getting a hotel we rented an adorable 3bd room condo. It was small, yet spacious (if that makes any sense), wierdos had enough room for yoga movements!

The condo owner had to stop by and fix the apple TV so we could play our chunes.  He saw our liquor stash and was like, “WHOA you know you can’t have a party right?”  No sir, we aren’t having a party, we just drink a lot!  *side eye*  Oh the joys of being Caribbean *wink*

Friday evening we went to One Big Dutty Jouvert which was in an indoor jouvert. DAMMIT nowhere online did I see anything about it being an indoor jouvert. When will promoters learn that jouvert belongs OUTSIDE?  This jouvert did have a small outside water truck area, but it gets cold up there at night and I wasn’t trying to catch pneumonia, so we just ran away from the truck whenever the water alarm sounded. We bought the all-inclusive package so the non-stop alcohol helped us forget our woes, especially since we found a lil corner close to the door that had a better circulation of air. 

Saturday morning was carnival, well we didn’t get there till early afternoon.  Luckily our condo was walking distance from the parade (definitely came in handy when people got drunk outta their Got Dayym Minds later). Knowing that Caribana is a dry carnival and you can only bring so much liquor with you, we were on a mission to get NIIIIIICE before touching the road.  I won’t say any names, but some of the roomies ended up LOST IN THE MUTHA *BEEPn* SAUCE. SMH!!!  
It took us forever to find our band, although in my opinion finding the band didn’t really matter since we weren’t gonna get any liquor from them anyway. Was at the parade for about 5 hours and lost each other a million trillion times.  Eventually I turned off my phone and stopped trying to find people and just enjoyed my day. 
I may just make a costume and storm next time I come to Caribana.  There is no masquerader wrist bands and we spent a good portion of the day just jumping with random bands… why the heck not.  I like to save $$$ and maybe that way I can afford more of that expensive azz liquor they sell up there and won’t run out so early.  

PS:  here is a DIY tutorial on the collars we had on if you want to make your own http://www.angelapanama.com/2016/07/diy-mini-carnival-feather-collar.html
Saturday night we headed to Carnival Kingdom Concert Party.  Lots of great performers such as Majah Hype, Olatunji, Kerwin, Rupee, Bunji, and some other folks. I not a huge fan of live events, but it was fun.  Like jouvert it was just so far away, must find fetes closer to home if we return.  We got a juicy nap after carnival so we were able to make it till the end of the show. 
Sunday afternoon was the Saldenah Boat Party.  Sadly by Sunday we had smashed all the liquor in our condo (drunkies) so we started off the day kinda sober *No Bueno* Luckily our homie Wiz was on the boat and saved us with plenty plenty liquor!!!  We did eventually get tore up from the floor up and had a frekkin blast. 
After the boatride we went into tourist mode and did some cruising around town, ate some street food, and had a few photo ops.   It was a good time just chillaxin with the crew.
Toronto is such a clean & polite city.  Thanks for tolerating us Canadians! Didn’t do anything Sunday night except sleep our lives away & rest our old bones.  Nothing like a vacation were you get to balance fun with relaxation.
We would have liked to have a breakfast fete in the condo Monday morning, but as I stated previously our thirsty azzes smashed all the liquor by Saturday evening.  Were forced to eat tasteless turkey bacon by itself for breakfast.  Cole world!

Only nutrients left was wack azz turkey bacon

We did however have a nice likkle airplane fete later in the day *whoop whoop*

I leave you with a quick recap video, from here we begin the countdown to the next carnival

Friday, August 5, 2016

DIY Carnival Bracelet

This is a very easy DIY carnival bracelet if you ever find yourself with a costume with no bracelet or a basic bracelet that you want to upgrade. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

DIY Mini Carnival Feather Collar

While big feather collars look great for your Road March photo shoot, they are a pain in the *BEEP* when you are tryn to Get On Bad in the blazing sun. For my upcoming carnival I decided to go with a mini collar creation.  It was a lot cheaper than a regular collar and I think I may be able to endure it a lot longer on the road.  Here is a video tutorial of the making of the collar.  ENJOY!!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Houston Caribfest 2016

I haven’t been to Houston Carnival since 2012. There are definitely a lot more fete options now a days. Seems that Houston carnivals best fetes were early in the week, but I wasn’t about to take off work to attend them.  Scorch hosted two events carnival weekend.  A cooler party Friday afternoon with none other than DJ Private Ryan on the 1s & 2s and a pool party Sunday afternoon which is odd since it’s the same time as carnival.  The fact that Scorch came to town should give the carnival some more credibility. 

I would rate Houston carnival at a Tier 4.  My first Jamaica carnival back in 2013 I mentioned the different tiers of carnivals (in my opinion).

Tier 1 – Trinidad, Brazil, Barbados
Tier 2 – Toronto, Miami, Jamaica
Tier 3 – Atlanta, NY, DC (the old DC carnival, can’t vouch for the new Baltimore/DC carnival)
Tier 4 – Smaller carnivals
Now keep in mind there is nothing wrong with Tier 4 carnivals, I attend them regularly to help me control my Carnival Tabanca. The great thing about Tier 4 carnivals is that they are dirt cheap.  My entire Houston trip (flight, lodging, car, fetes, mas tshirt) cost less than my Jamaica carnival flight.

Houston is so spread the *BEEP* out.  To keep the driving to a minimum, I tried to find fetes that were in the same general area.
Landed Friday afternoon and headed to Madd Colors mas camp to pick up my t-shirt and have a likkle drinky drink with the band.  Checked into our hotel, power napped, and then headed to Jouvert.  I went to Jouvert back in 2012 and that place was a MAD HOUSE, an endless sea of people.  There was a lot less people this year, I suppose due to the fact that there are many other fete options, but there was still plenty plenty people in attendance.  The event cost $20 and included an open bar, can’t beat that. It was in a very spacious area, with plenty of parking.  In 2012 we had to park about 1 ½ miles from the venue. #MADDNESS  Eventually linked up with the Madd Colors fam and had a dutty good time.  There were even food vendors in the venue so didn’t have to do the drunk search for food after. 
Saturday afternoon we were supposed to go to the DAYBREAK: Project H20 Wet Cooler fete.  We arrived 3 hours after the designated start time and they still didn’t have their SH*T together.  Plan B: we headed to our aunts house and had an impromptu family reunion / pool party. 
Saturday night were supposed to go to Climaxx at the Air Terminal Museum, but were too exhausted from swimming all day.  Judging from the pictures, the venue and the event looked very nice. 

Sunday afternoon was the Caribfest Road march.  May I just say that the Texas heat is NO MUTHA *BEEPn* joke. OMG!!  We honestly only lasted about 3 hours, I was wishing I had tickets to that dayym Scorch pool party.  But I had a good time the few hours I was there. 
Got to finally meet a long time IG friend, I just love friendly people! *Hey Boo*

Because we didn’t exude too too much energy Sunday afternoon, we were fully charged for the Ultimate Mega Fest Sunday night with none other than DJ Crown Prince on the 1s and 2s.  I guess I have been following  Crown Prince around this summer cause I just saw him at DC carnival the week before and would be seeing him at Caribana the end of July *Wink*
DJ Crown Prince
I gotta share a picture of our Struggle Cooler for this event.  We had consumed all our rum by Sunday and Houston doesn’t allow hard liquor sales on Sunday.  We spend like 30 min in the grocery store trying to find the wine with the highest alcohol content.  But after a few glasses of wine, we were OVER IT.  Luckily Madd Colors came thru and shared their RUM RUM RUM RUM

The next day was the 4th of July and we headed home to spend the day with our peeps...   I now leave you with a quick recap video of Houston Caribfest Road March.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DC Caribbean Carnival

I know I said I was only doing 3 carnivals in 2016 and according to my trusty Excel Travel Spreadsheet that # has doubled, but I don’t know if DC Carnival Weekend really counts as a carnival.  So Confused!!! 

I haven’t been to DC Carnival since 2011 which happens to be the last time they had a road march (parade).  The road march discontinued apparently because of funding issues and debts owed to the city for police services.  Word on the sKReet is that the parade will return to DC in 2017. I know there has been speculation about the road march returning in previous years, but people seemed to be sure that it would definitely be returning in 2017.  We shall see.  So here is my run-down on the fetes of the non-carnival, carnival weekend. 

There were so many events going on all weekend, not bad for a carnival weekend with no carnival.  I landed early Friday afternoon and headed to Hookie Pool Party (www.hookielife.com).  Hookie would be the DC version of Scorch _uckWork.  Caribbeans love any excuse to skip work and fete.  Like I said I haven’t been to DC carnival since 2011, back then Hookie was held a hotel and utilized its pool.  To accommodate more people this year they moved it to RFK stadium  and had a huge above ground pool. 
Maybe I’m just paranoid, but for various reasons I just didn’t trust the pool so I opted to fete by the stage.  I had a great time in the dry zone, but I can see how some who are used to the hotel pool vybz could by vexed by the location change. I suppose sometimes as a promoter instead of trying to accommodate more people, you just gotta UP the costs each year to keep the vybz in tack. In this case as an attendee you either gotta suck it up or keep yuh rass at home.  

Our carnival bodyguards were in the building.  Regardless of what country we're fete'n in they got our backs
There were some fetes going on Friday nite, but we took our old asses home and rested up for Lions Pride Jouvert (www.hookielife.com) in the morning. 

Jouvert is LIFE, especially one which has a truck and route vs a fixed location.  I wasn’t properly briefed on the alcohol situation, I thought they would be selling alcohol out there so I only came with a small amount.  The veterans who knew there would be no alcohol sales were very generous with their libations and I was able to quench my thirst the entire time.  If I had my own liquor I probably woulda got tore up from the floor up, so it’s probably a good thing that I was relying on the generosity of strangers (more like friends of friends). 
Because we were so rested from the night before & didn’t get WASTED at jouvert, we headed to the Guinness Lime & Day Party (http://dccarnival.com) Saturday afternoon.  I want to note that it was hot as *BEEP* out there.  We were lucky enough to score a covered spot that had two industrial size fans blowing, our own likkle VIP. 
Mr. Third Bass decided to fete with us
Uber ride there & back : B4 & after #FanLife
Saturday night we headed to XEN Live Concert (http://dccarnival.com) where King Bubba and Third Bass were performing.  Before leaving the house we decided to play this stupid drinking game called, “Let’s take shots until the Uber Driver arrives.” So we walked in the fete already feeling NIIIIIIIIICE! I even committed a cardinal sin of knocking over and wasting my drink in the spot.  Le Sigh!   It was a nice venue and we had a blast.  Third Bass came over to fete with us again and we partied till the lights came on at 3am. 

A friend of ours went to an All White Party Saturday night worth mentioning called “Richards” (www.richardscarnival.com) judging from the photos, it looked like nice upscale vybz.  Might have to check in out next time I’m in town for carnival. 

Sunday afternoon it was off to the A.M.Nesia Boat Cruise (http://dccarnival.com).  This fete came with a steep $90 price tag because was all inclusive.  The food was delicious, the bars were plentiful, the DJs were amazing, but it we could have used an extra hour or two.  1pm-4pm just wasn’t enough time to get $90 worth of wotless.

DJ Crown Prince
Straight from the boat ride we headed to the Cool Down Party (http://dccarnival.com). *WAIT*  I lied, we stopped by the house to have some drinks after leaving the All Inclusive fete and before heading to the bar. It’s important to drink after and before you drink...

 Anyway, I must note that the Cool Down Party was held on the 4th floor of a venue with NO elevator and you best believe I CUSSED the entire time up.  Luckily my homie Winston was waiting on the top with drinks for us. 
He drinks and knows things! 

Chill vybz at Cool Down Party although I hear it got much crazier later in the evening, but I had to take my rass home and go back to doing what I do best, “Drink and be Merry!”

All in all, I had a blast! Shout out to my homie Charmaine for hosting us.  Very cost friendly carnival / non carnival weekend.  DC has 3 airports all with public transit, so it's usually a fairly affordable city to fly into.  PS: The page below is worth mentioning if you find yourself heading to DC and are looking for fete info.

Oh and shout out to this young man who was seated next to me on the return flight. He said he reads my carnival blogs.  *MIND BLOWN*  I told him I pretty sure that I'm usually talking to myself (not that I mind talking to myself). I officially have 1 reader *whoop whoop*