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 ST. LUCIA, CARIBBEAN 

Carnival time in St. Lucia
July 19  It's my birthday!!
 Since the buzz was that there was the Carnival Parade happening in the nearby town of Castries, we made arrangements to take in the festivities.
We squeezed into the local bus, the usual Caribbean mini van that travels the highways picking up people at random for about $1 per ride. Along the road, people were getting into the swing of carnival. Where did they get those glasses? That's my size for happy hour, never have to jump up and down to refill!

We got off the bus at the traffic circle outside of town where the parade was forming for the start. Costumes being assembled, drinks being poured, already the music blaring from huge speakers on the semi trucks.
Things were scheduled to be underway by 10 am but in true Caribbean style, it was already 11 am and things still looked relatively disorganized. So we walked along the road toward town in search of a good vantage point to watch the parade under some kind of shelter from the sun and rain.

Finally after a lengthily wait, we could hear the chest vibrating thumping of the music coming down the street right about the time the skies opened up. A torrential tropical downpour forced spectators to run for cover but the marchers in the parade had to put up with the driving rain.

The band members in the parade got soaked, feathers flattened and limp, body makeup streaking down their faces.
But their spirits remained high as they danced (liming) through the streets. Bali dancers with their temple-like headgear; Africans bands that look more like native |American Indians.


Finally the rain subsided and the party in the streets started to reach a frenzied crescendo. Blazing activity of vibrant color and imaginative costumes. The numbers of participants weren't as great as the parade in Trinidad, nor were there the floats and steel bands, but the level of energy was certainly equivalent.

The Carnival players were all shapes, sizes (a lot of really big mammas) and ages. There were even a surprising number of white folks dressed up and participating in the Mas. More often than not though, they just didn't have the inherent beat and raunchy hip action of the locals. Gord put it this way. White people express their beat through their shoulders. The blacks find their rhythm in their pelvic parts! (and aren't afraid to display it.


As the day went on and the reverberating trucks leading the lively bands supplied the marchers with beverages, the scene got more and more exhilarating.

The spectators were as entertaining as the parade. I loved the intriguing art gallery, a prime vantage point perched high above the street.
I am always drawn to the amazing hair on the Rastas. They stomped and limed to the beat of the tunes along the road.

Finally the heat of the day became overwhelming. But that didn't stop the antics of one very flexible young girl who took every opportunity to show her bendability!

Finally we crammed into the bus and headed back to Rodney Bay. Before dinner, we shared ice cream with new friends we had met at the marina.
All in all a GREAT DAY.
What a wonderful way to celebrate my 60th!

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