As well as spending time with my Grandad and being away from London in winter obviously I was excited about Carnival, Caribbean style. St Kitts really comes alive at Christmas time and J’ouvert morning is just the start. There are a few pageants and events in the run up to Carnival but this is where I got involved.
J’ouvert (pronounced “Jou-vay”) is derived from French patois and means ‘daybreak’. J’ouvert morning is a big parade though Basseterre town which starts at 4am. You can join a Troupe or watch from the side. Here are a few tips, thank me later…
1) Join a Troupe
My cousin from England was on holiday in St Kitts too but she’s a total pro and knows how everything works so she convinced me to join The Masquerade Devils troupe for J’ouvert with her. I paid $100 EC for a kit which included a drawstring bag, flask, light up mask and beads, t-shirt, too short shorts (that I didn’t wear) and a wristband which is crucial for drinks. The price includes unlimited drinks at your troupes drink lorry, it’s a bar on wheels!
2) Go to bed early the night before!
Don’t be a fool like me a stay up until 2am and then get into your bed hoping the hours will go by slowly. I was so angry when my alarm went off at 3:30am and it crossed my mind to just sleep through it. Obviously I had a word with my tired self and got up and ready.
3) Wear old trainers
I only took my gold Reebok trainers so of course I didn’t want to risk getting them dirty with paint and god knows what else so I bought a cheap pair of plimsolls. By the time I had given up and gone home I was so glad I got them because although I avoided the paint (braids and paint don’t mix) I had so many paint spots on my pumps.
4) Don’t drink too much
So you know I mentioned the unlimited drinks at the drink van? Well this was a gift and a curse because of course nobody measures anything. You flash your wristband hand over your flask and tell them what you want and boy do they pour, hello drunk! What I should have done is have water after every rum I had. Rum and the sun on an hour and half sleep is a big no no.
5) Watch out for little hands
They call it jamming when you’re in the street dancing which is cool I can jam but when small people as in children try and jam with me that’s a different story. I didn’t go to St Kitts to dance in the street with young boys who just creep up behind you. Apparently if you have your bag on your back it means you don’t want to jam with anyone so my bag was firmly on my back.
I lasted until 11am when I stumbled back to the meeting point for my ride home. I had the best time and would totally recommend it. The hangover the rest of the day wasn’t so fun though.
Dom Dominique xx