I am going to try my best to summarize this trip for you all but words cannot describe the awesomeness that I experienced. Oh gooooosshhhh!!! Ok let me try and contain myself.
Well clearly I had to find my way to Trinidad by plane. I booked my ticket last March right after carnival 2014 and put in my vacation request same time; the best decision of my life! I’m not a huge fan of Piarco Airport but whatcha gonna do? I flew in on one of the last flights and went through the painful customs line. If you plan on going in the future please make sure you know exactly where you’re staying so you don’t get held up. Thankfully I was on point with my info and was dismissed after 2 minutes at the counter.
My friend and I rented a vehicle for the week; he’s a Trini Carnival veteran so he knew where he was going. Were it not for him I would have been spending continuous dough on taxis to get around although I did have to find my way to a few places solo; however, I do not recommended it. Only by the grace of God did I meet genuinely nice people and a Christian taxi driver to help me during my solo travel moments.
If you do choose to rent a car I warn you in advance. Dem Trini drivers are crazy! Our car got hit twice because of reckless drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic who kept it moving like nothing happened. So my recommendation is to find a nice reliable and fair driver then split the cost amongst your crew.
Where you live depends on how much transportation you will really need. I originally booked the Hilton but an opportunity came to stay with a friend of a friend. I was hesitant upon arrival but after the first day I realized there wasn’t a better place to be. It was literally steps away from Ariapita Avenue a.k.a “The Ave” in Woodbrook…the place where ALL the action was. It was truly prime locale. Loud music played non-stop the ENTIRE time; I usually turn on tunes to keep me company in the shower and while getting dressed but The Ave handled all that for me. If you’re a light sleeper I don’t recommend sleeping anywhere near The Ave unless you have earplugs. But, if you’re like me and can sleep through anything when you’re dog tired you GOOD! Thanks for everything D.B.!
Prior to the trip I couldn’t believe how much dough I was spending on these fetes but after attending I have ZERO regrets. Every last fete was all-inclusive and I truly feel like I got my money’s worth. I was far from robbed. With the exception of Roast Cruise each fete pampers you with flowing goodies. There are always cups and rags but some organizers go the extra mile and distribute shades, glow sticks, waterproof pouches and more. There were numerous liquor, food and snack stations at each fete; the best part was that there were rarely any long lines. I don’t think I waited any longer than 4 minutes at a popular station. I’m not going to give you extensive details but I will highlight some key memories from each fete:
My first fete! Shots were flowing. The set up was beautiful and they gave out these unique glow cups. On top of that there was a great concert headlining Kes and Machel with surprise appearances from Angela, Beenie Man, Sean Paul and my hubby Skinny Fabulous. 5 Stars!
This was an excellent venue that was right on the pier! A straight up fete with no performances and awesome vibes! Shots were flowing, liquor fountains were yummy and I loved how they just layed out non-alcoholic beverages in ice trays for quick grabs. 5 stars!
This set up was simply amazing! Another straight up fete with no performances and non-stop vibes! It was at Soca Brainwash that I was introduced to the Baileys & Hennesey cocktail mix. The food options were so on point it was sickening, Rose popsickles, Cold Stone cake and more. I brushed several plates of lasagna and corned beef with rice! Ryan chose the best DJ’s to play until he graced the turntables. 5 stars!
The venues location wasn’t great but the set up was very nice with an impressive restroom area! The food stations were good but it seems they ran out of food a little early; the Bake and Shark line was extremely long for obvious reasons. To me, the best things about Vale were the restrooms, Farmer Nappy, Alison Hinds and the female DJ/MC for the event; she did her thang! Oh and the Grey Goose Bar! 4 stars!
Roast Cooler Cruise:
Vibes, vibes, vibes and more vibes! Leadpipe and Saddis graced us with a mini concert on the top deck and shockingly fries and burgers were served on the lower level! No stushness here! 5 stars!
On De Road!
Caesar’s Army Ambush:
My, my, my! What an experience. If you can get tickets you need to hop on this jouvert boat. Just when you think it’s ending they surprise you with Machel on the road and huge water slides at the end of the route. Slides though?!!! I swear carnival keeps West Indians in touch with their inner child; we were like big kids getting dutty in paint and powder then bouncing down water slides. Pure EPICNESS!
Dirty Dozen Jouvert:
It was a good time but it could have been better; maybe I was spoiled by Ambush. They took too long to get on the road (which means I could have slept more) and I think it would have been great to have one more music truck for the amount of people they had. I really love the shirts they gave us though! 3 stars. If I do Ambush next time I’m skipping jouvert.
Carnival Monday and Tuesday:
I had a wonderfully fabulous and amazing time on the road with YUMA this year! A few veterans said the quality went down but since this was my first year with them I had nothing to compare it to. I had a frikkin blast! I registered late and purchased a costume that I wouldn’t have normally choosen but it was fine by me. The quality was very nice and I loved the accessories that came with it. YUMA had a lovely costume presentation that looked fabulous in person. Out of the two days, I vote Tuesday as my favorite! I tried to stick with the crew on Monday as a newbie but I had to go my separate ways on Tuesday lol. As long as you’re in the same band with your crew you will see them again and again. Like they said, if we get separated just follow the trucks! The drinks were flowing and the drink trucks were never rammed when I went. The one thing that annoyed me was that they had 2 music trucks back to back…which meant the tunes were fighting against one another. I will say this though! Whoever the Dj’s were for trucks 3 and 5 on Tuesday had my heart! Every other DJ was acting like they only came out with 9 songs in soca history.
Lunch breaks were the absolute besss! The food was great (to me) and so were the snacks they had for us. I was shocked to see the hundreds of tarps that they layed out for all the masqueraders to rest on. If you don’t like being close to people this may not be for you. After hours of dancing and drinking on the road all you want to do is take off your shoes, eat and take a nap…and we ALL did that next to half naked strangers. It was practically get in where you fit in and please excuse my bamcee in yuh face LOL! When I woke up it was like a natural 5 hour energy pump! Once the sun went down the vibes increased ten fold… then PAHTY DONE! What a time! 4.8 Stars!
So what would I do differently? If I was trying to save dough, I would just do fetes and play mas outside de ropes! I think with the right crew one could have a blast watching trucks go by and witnessing foolishness while wukking up with a rolling cooler. If I don’t get into Ambush then I would definitely jump with a different jouvert band…one that was smaller but has great vibes. Ideally I want to try other fetes but it is going to be hard to tear me away from the ones I attended this year. I would definitely substitute Vale though.
P.s. Notice I didn’t talk about food at ALL! That’s because I barely ate outside of those fetes lol. There was simply no time! I don’t recall one day that I had more than 1 or 2 meals. Which is one of the reasons why I’m sitting here typing with a cold and low fever lol. My immune system is shot!
If you want to know more about my Trinidad carnival virgin experience hit me up with your questions and feel free to comment on my IG page @socajukebox!
Thanks for reading!
ext Up…the Tobago Cool Down Review!