Dennis on the Road

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

it keeps getting better!

Band Launch

Sunday night we had a taste of what Trinidad is most famous for: Carnival. Although Carnival is only officially two days in February, the festivities stretch throughout the year. In Carnival different “bands”, groups from 20 to 10,000 people walk, dance, and drink through the streets of Port of Spain. Each person who participates (which is nearly everyone I’ve met) buys a costume from a particular band, which entitles them to march with that group. Food and drinks are all inclusive.

Around this time of year, the larger bands have their band launch parties. Sunday night we went to the launch party for one of the largest bands, The Island People. I’m guessing 5000 people gathered in the stadium parking lot, turned party zone. The Island People presented their costumes for the 2006 carnival, which were magnificent. Folks said they were the nicest they’ve seen: colorful, ornate, and of course very skimpy. There were even guys on 15+ feet stilts (moco jumbie... a tradition with African origin). Immediately following the costume presentation, actually with all of the models still on the stage, Machel Montano (no relation to Jason and Fred), the nation’s most famous contemporary calypso artist, took the stage. Everyone was dancing, jumping, and waving bandanas. The air was charged with more energy than I think I’ve ever felt at a show. The dancing (“wining”) is very sensual, full contact, with either strangers or friends. I had every size butt thrust against me. After Machel, the DJ kept the crowd moving, even as the rain soaked us more than our own sweat already had.

Small World

The island is small enough that the country’s most famous cricketer blocked us into a parking space for a minute; I went to a concert with a well-known anchorwoman; I’ve ridden with a former world record holder and a former Olympian; and after only one week, I run across people I’ve met before daily.

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

I have two files of photos on-line. The first is of week one, including cycling (most photos taken on a 100+ mile ride with temperatures nearly that high!); my wonderful hosts; food! and a bit of scenery. To see the photos, click here and then go to the first Trinidad folder.

A second folder is all from the Island People Band Launch I wrote about above. Warning... these are some mighty spicy photos!


I love racing in a small country! The photo here is from last night’s TV news: we made both channels. Here is a link to the article in this morning’s paper about the press conference yesterday.

Off to Tobago

The team will be going across to Tobago early tomorrow and returning after the race on Monday. I don't expect that I will have email access until Tuesday.


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