A most amazing party. Carnival, Martinique.

We are in St-Anne Martinique at the southern end of the island, where we arrived a few days ago.  It’s a lovely spot, a charming little town with long sandy beaches and more cruising boats than you can count.  And, nearby is La Marin, home of the largest, if not the largest, marina in the Caribbean, with access to most anything that you might need for the boat.

It’s quite quiet, St-Anne, a welcome break from the craziness of Forte de France, the constant ferry traffic and the noise of Carnival.

We stayed for much of Carnival but decided to skip the last day even though we likely missed the biggest parade of the four day celebration.  However, the third day of celebration, “the day of the devil” was crazy enough with thousands participating in the parade and perhaps even more spectators, nearly all dressed in red.Each day had a different theme and some participating in the parade showed up with a different costume on each time.  This guy was one of the most elaborate and was clearly enjoying himself, mugging it up for the crowd. This was him the day before.  And yes, he knew then that he was fabulous then as well.Not to be outdone, this was also quite the get-up. And, from the back, making his best impression on the day of the devil.  Oh, you devil, you!

A high point for many participating in the parade was to coat themselves from head to tow with cane syrup, mixed with ashes, a slimy gooey mixture.  You could smell them coming.  I can only imagine how nasty they must have felt in the heat and humidity.  Earlier in the afternoon, near the beach coating each other from buckets and liberal use of paintbrushes.  If it were me, I’d have hightailed it to the beach to wash off after only a few minutes. The parades, and each day had it’s own theme, was louder and louder with huge crowds lining the route.  The procession of revelers went on and on for hours with some groups coming by time and time again.  I doubt that this car has much use outside of Carnival. This rolling “boom box” was just one of many vehicles piled high with speakers,  all louder than the last.  And where there is noise, responsible parents do their best to protect the little ones. “Mommy?  Is that man hurt?  No honey, he’s just channeling the devil.” Amazingly, in spite of the throngs, there is very little police presence and unlike the good old USofA where there would be ambulances and firetrucks along with heavily armed troops everywhere, here it was just thousands of people having fun with a minimum of mayhem.

And the fun they were having,  drink in hand.  Of course, you do have to stay hydrated. No getting face cramps for trying to smile for hours.
There was also an endless “parade” of spectators dressed for the occasion.  I asked if I could take a photo of them. They where thrilled and agreed provided that I took a photo of them with their camera as well.   For my money he was a more convincing as a woman than she was as a guy.  Perhaps it was her glasses that gave it away.  Or was it the vinyl bikini top?  Hard to say.  Funny how both women and guys want to dress up as a woman and yet, not generally the other way around.  “Honey can I wear your jeans?  You know, the ones that you wear half falling down below your waist?”  Not likely. “OMG dad, did you see that?”Again and again the “cane sugar crowd” would pass by.  You could always smell them coming.  “Hugs, anyone?  Hugs? “And speaking of hot and sticky, I wonder how it feels to be inside this.Or this. Real wigs?  Only their hairdressers know for sure. “Does this dress make me look fat Charles?”  Only when you aren’t smiling so just shut up and have another beer.”  Do you think they talked that morning before they got dressed?  What to wear?  What indeed!
Love the hat. Here kitty, kitty, and a matching purse.  Perfect. Some political statements about pesticide use. “Yes Mom, I’ll be home soon, I promise.  Just out picking up a few groceries.”
This woman would move along a few meters with others in her group and then stop to strike a pose.  Something about clay.Daddy,  can I march in the parade next year?I just love face painting.  There were a lot of elaborate costumes, day after day.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of chiffon and devil horns. Colors from every part of the rainbow. And pink, red and pink. And, of course, what’s better than a guy in drag with horns.What is a parade without stilts.  I’ll bet that the view from up there was terrific. Loved her headdress.  However, nobody had quite the “stage presence” as this woman.  Let’s call her the “Budwiser girl of Martinique”.  That’s a LOT, LOT of bottle caps and pull tops.
These guys were into the moment and came by multiple times.  If it’s worth parading once, it’s worth doing it again.  Besides, wasn’t it once said that “these  boots were made for walking…”I liked this little guy the best.  However, I doubt that he will wear this costume when he’s a teenager.  Perhaps then he will be in drag just like the rest of his friends and probably his dad.   Bumble bee or not, I’ll bet he’s a bit of a devil himself. Yes, he was having a blast, just like everyone else at this most amazing party.

Carnival,  Martinique.

4 responses to “A most amazing party. Carnival, Martinique.

  1. Woah!

  2. Maureen Woodroffe

    Cleverly written.

  3. The last photo of the child is the best. All the rest, guess you and Brenda needed a sundowner to decompress from over stimulation. Yet what a woot to have been there. Oh, wish I was there with you !!!

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