Sunday afternoon we decided to check out the local Carnaval parade…
I took earplugs, and Matthew promised that if the crowds got too rowdy for me, we would go back to the boat, but both precautions were unnecessary – it was a family-oriented parade, and it was on island time! We arrived an hour after the start time and still had to wait an hour for any action. And then it was one slow-moving display about every 10-20 minutes. The first hour was local businesses, which was pretty lame, with one notable exception…something we would never see in Canada…the McDonalds restaurant float had jiggly girls in spandex and fish-net stockings walking ahead of the float carrying their sign, but that was nothing! On the back of the float truck were two dancing girls, of the kind seen in men’s clubs (thong and all) with their skin painted with the Big M logo and colours, strutting their stuff while throwing kiddy-meal coupons to the families lining the route! A very different kind of corporate image here than at home! Sure got a laugh at that!
Next came the kids groups and sports teams – roller-bladers, tae-kwon-do kids, ballet classes and school bands, which were cute enough I suppose, but honestly, watching the spectators was more interesting. Lots of the grownups were wearing the traditional dress of Carnaval, and their kids were running around everywhere, many in costumes of the Halloween variety (cowboys, Robin Hood, Disney Princesses) playing and getting into mischief. Left to their own devices, they were having far more fun than the kids in the “structured” parade. Kids as young as 4-5 years old running around with whips – how fun is that? Apparently cracking whips is a part of their Carnaval tradition, to remember the suffering endured by the slaves. And these guys could really make an incredibly loud Crack!!
Finally there started to be a few of the more professional-looking groups in the really well-done costumes you expect to see.
By this time we had been standing around for 3 hours, so after a few more of them had passed, we decided that we were too hot and tired to wait around anymore and went back to the boat for a nap. That was good family fun, island-style.