The practice of celebrating Carnival in the Caribbean has been deeply rooted in our African Heritage for centuries, It’s celebration is/was symbolic of our rejection of colonial oppression and expressed our dissatisfaction and mockery of the European’s own festivities.
Some sources go onto state..
Historians say they believe the first “modern” Caribbean Carnival originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the late 18th century when a flood of French settlers brought the Fat Tuesday masquerade party tradition with them to the island, although Fat Tuesday celebrations were almost certainly taking place at least a century before that. – TS
And despite the passage of time since then, the cultural roots and influences of carnival are still clearly evident today.
That being said, the primary focus of this guide will not be the historical background of Carnival, but a break down of the three main factors my Carnival Enthusiasts have expressed interest in.
If you’re like me this is the second most important thing on your list, second only to ensuring you’ve acquired adequate Duty Free alcohol before exiting the airport
(YOU WON’T FIND A BETTER PRICE AND WHITE OAK IS MEANT FOR CUTS)
My top two most frequented food locations were:
They’re both located directly opposite to each other on the avenue, Port of Spain. In my short time there I was drawn into the dispute by my friends as to which Gyro should be considered the best between the two competitors.
After having tried both, I’m a firm support of Hassan’s Mix Lamb & Shrimp Gyro with “Slight” Pepper, if you want to fight I’m available 2-4pm this Tuesday in the street between them.
Another KEY point to consider here is that my last, Shrimp & Mushroom Gyro cost me $45TT, Hassan will exchange your US dollars at 7.10 TTD per US Dollar..
So this gift from God literally costs $6.30USD with all of the works, when has Haloutte ever smiled upon us in a similar fashion?
Doubles Man Outside Massy
Alternatively, my next go too food, and an essential “Party Recovery Aid” are the Roadside Doubles you can find all over the island.
N.W – Even if you are buying one “Doubles” do not forget the (s) or you will trigger the natives.
(Similar to a male trying to sit in a ZRs “Female Only” middle front seat back home.)
Doubles cost $5TT in most cases, and if you’re wise enough to use Gyro Man’s exchange rates you can afford this kind of spread for .70USD each every single day.
The next factor on my list comes down to transport, during the initial days of my trip we did a LOT of walking, which I would only advise doing if you’re very familiar with your area or have an experienced guide.
Trinidad’s landscape is filled with rolling hills and lavish greenery, comparable to the East Coast back home but on a much larger scale.
Just outside of Port of Spain I was taken to a number of breathtaking lookout points which put into perspective just how grand & serene Trinidad truly is.
However, I’d soon discovered the cheat(s) to the system and established the most favorable means of getting around.
Trip(s) during the day
During the daytime there are a number of relatively options, when trying to reach POS from cascade I can usually find a “Cascade Car” heading into the city from a completed trip for a maximum $20TT (NW I’ve paid half of this amount for most trips).
Alternatively the local Maxi system proved to be very reliable and comfortable, Maxi’s have their own exclusive road through which they complete their routes traffic free, generally all are Air conditioned & there’s no standing.
Let’s not forget the maximum I’ve been charged by a Maxi for what I consider a significant distance (From POS to Curepe Junction) was under $10TT making them a very feasible means of getting around during the day.
Trip(s) at night
For those late night ventures I have to insist that you all download the Trinidad & Tobago Ride Share App
I found TTRS to be very similar in functionality to UBER, asides from the inconsistent wait times for vehicles and fluctuation transport costs (There’s a mandatory fare multiplier for high demand periods) the App managed to get me home on numerous occasions safe & sound!
Except for when the driver didn’t come back for me in Arima after Caesars but we are getting to that part..
That being said, I’d like to emphasize that despite any preconceived notions about the safety of Trinidad & Tobago, I believe I’ve almost fully integrated myself into the local culture & lifestyle, and after two weeks the most threatening situation I’ve encountered was from my host’s neighbor’s dog who’s obsessed with showing off how many push ups he can do every morning.
Partying! The Festival
Last but not least, the real reason you’re here..
Initially upon arriving in Trinidad I had no purchased tickets for events & no clue how to get them.. I remained skeptical
Are Trinidad Carnival’s parties really as Phenomenal as social media makes them seem?
Caesar’s Army cleared up this question for me instantly, the jouvert was supposed to proceed along a Racetrack near to Arima at 4am, We used TTRS for the trip and met a very reliable driver named Keske who I stayed in contact with for the remainder of the trip.
I vaguely remember moving off from the initial area sometime around sunrise, by which point the integrity of my shoes had been compromised and the Jouvert Fever riddled the Battalion of Caesars’ patrons.
Another Must-Do event would be Jamboree in the heart of POS, this year we had the privilege of being on stage during Machel Montano’s performance, and enjoyed the local legend’s World-Class artistry from a new perspective.
A huge commendation to the entire team & special thanks to our Family, the Amazing Nandi Yard for creating the opportunity for us!
Finally, one very under recognized party which I believe may have been one of the Season’s best is the “Las Jam” where all of the remaining Carnival bands from the road come together for a final fete.
Having attended just this Saturday I was amazed by the number of persons still on the island following the festivities, and truly enjoyed one final chance to embrace the carnival spirit, while indulging in endless inclusive drinks.
“The Las Jam Experience w/ Alec Drayton”
By the end of the night we arrived for the final time on the Carnival judging stage, and it was a sight to behold as the area was filled with vibrant lights, music, confetti & vibes.
I can’t wait for February 2020 to do it all over again.
Full album of Carnival Photography:
Oh.. www.BimVibes.com now features a FREE public marketplace to resell Carnival Tickets & Costumes this Crop Over.
Wonder where that idea came from 😉