March 13, 2014

Carnival Chronicles: {Day 3} DDI & Project W

'DDI' was hands down, one of the best days of our trip.  

Note: 'DDI' - Down Di Islands (pronounced “dong di islands”) refers to islands off the North West coast of Trinidad. Many of these islands have beach houses on them and Trinis usually go DDI on their own boats on weekends and vacations. 

We got up pretty early on Saturday morning, in a bid to beat the traffic leaving Port of Spain that day. (Notice I said 'in a bid', because the reality was that 4 girls getting ready with one bathroom meant we weren't ever leaving the house on time) 2.5 hours later, and we were inching our way around the Savannah, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. We were trying to make our way to meet the boat that would take us DDI.

Unbeknownst to me, Kiddies Carnival was taking place that day and was the main reason for the traffic around the Savannah. Some of the cutest little munchkins walked by wearing extravagant costumes that were almost twice their size, and others were being dragged by their mothers who seemed more excited about it than the kids.  In hindsight, I wish I had known about this so that we could have ventured to the stadium a bit earlier than morning to take photos of this spectacle.

We finally raced out of town and made it just in time to meet Christina's family on their beautiful boat 'Trous d'Or' at the boat yard.  In my mind, there's nothing more relaxing than being on a  boat, and the stresses of traffic & rushing to get there melted away as we sped off out of the careenage. The water isn't as clear as it is in Barbados, but the coastal scenery was beautiful.

Not going to lie, I realllyyyyyyy wish we had this kind of boating culture in Barbados. We have a different kind of boating culture of course, but I love the fact that you can island hop in Trinidad, moore off in a bay somewhere and park up next to other boats. That's exactly what we did 15 mins later as we made our way to the fete spot and tried to figure out the most strategic spot to drop anchor. The concept for the DDI fete is simple: First boat to arrive picks a spot in the middle, drops anchor and every other boat simply ties off next to it, forming a long line. Everyone is free to roam the boats, hopping from one to the other and its a huge lime. If you're the first boat though, you're going to be in a pickle later on when you want to leave because you're going to be attached to so many boats. We waited a little while until a line had formed, and cleverly plonked ourselves 'across' from everyone else, with a dinghy inbetween to connect us. There was no way I was swimming in that water though; it was wayyyyyyy too 'dark' for my liking. I'm spoilt, I know. #Paradiseproblems

What followed as a day of drinking, liming and dancing across the various boats. Trinis love a party and this was no exception. You know the inter island rivalry I mentioned in my previous posts? There wasn't any hint of that here. Even as a large group of 'foreign' girls, people were so incredibly welcoming and warm, and I was introduced to a whole new bunch of friendly people who I had never even seen before. Everyone was in high spirits about the coming days, shots were flowing, music blaring.  It was a unique 'Trini" experience and I loved every second of it. 

The chaos and energy of the evening disappeared suddenly as the sun set over the hills though, and the boats were gone as quickly as a flash mob. I couldn't wrap my head around the speed at which everything happened; it was over too soon! Christina, J and I were on another boat when we saw Trous d'Or backing away, so we had no choice but to jump into the 'dark', gross water and swim. I nearly threw a fit (I HATE dark water!) and J was laughing his head off at me. We hopped back on to our boat, only to continue drinking and dancing on our way back to the mainland. It was a sloppy, soggy end to an awesome day.

We had to get the boat back to the dockyard before it got too late and we were reminded to take a nap before Project W later that night. We sat in traffic for about 2 hours on our way back, grabbed some food and our alarms were set before we passed out in bed.

Waking up at 2am for a party isn't fun, but luckily we got a second wind as we were packing our coolers for the wet fete. We thought we knew where we were going, but we got lost in downtown Port of Spain and realised the errors of our ways. We bumped into a seedy looking character at the gas station who offered to show us where the fete was. We were apprehensive of course, but our cloudy brains weren't functioning properly at this time in the morning, so we agreed to follow him to the party. Luckily, he turned out to be another friendly Trini (and not a psychopath) and lead us straight to the party. 

My understanding of a 'wet fete' is more like a foam party than someone standing over you spraying water out of a fire hose, but that's exactly what it was. The party was set in a school yard, with two water trucks parked on either side of the allocated dance floor area. We got there around 3am, so it was pitch dark when we first arrived. Once the sun started rising, they turned on the water and soaked everyone to bone. It was FREEZING and the only solution was to dance your ass off to keep warm. Not ideal, but the concept was pretty cool and the music was good too. The highlight of this fete was my introduction to shark & bake....
Having said that, Bunji Garlan was supposed to perform at this party and he never showed up. He had some of the best songs this year, so it was a hard blow to all of us when we realised he wasn't coming by 8am. At that point we were all exhausted, frozen and resembling drowned rats, so we rounded the troops and headed home. 

When we got home, we realized that one of us had unlatched the bolt on the door, which had locked automatically when we shut the door behind us. This would have been OK if we had a key for this lock, but it was hardly ever used, so the key had gone missing ages ago so we were told to use the main lock. At 8am this didn't seem like a big deal though, as Christina climbed across the balcony (on the 3rd floor!) to see if she could squeeze through the bars. Her head was too big (surprise!) and so we decided to try the next best option:

"Just kick down the door Justin!"

As the lone male amongst 4 drunken girls, it was only obvious that J would be responsible for kicking down the door in our time of need. A look of sheer determination crossed his drunken face, as he steadied himself to give the door his best judo kick.

"Maybe we should just call Nichola actually, she has a spare key."

Our eureka moment came just in time too, as we realised J may have hurt himself trying to kick down the door and wouldn't be able to play Carnival. We applauded our sensible decision and all sat down outside of the door as Christina called her Aunt Nichola.

This post is dedicated to Nichola, who left her cosy bed, drove half an hour and arrived to find 5 drunken fools passed out on the floor (Apparently J woke to let her know that he was 'protecting' the girls) She did all of this with a smile too, and gave us lots of stick about abandoning our brilliant idea to break down the door. Thank you Nichola, for putting up with us and saving the day with your spare key.

You can catch up on my previous Carnival Chronicles posts here:

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