Trinbagonians coming home for Carnival typically come through Customs with three A's: Accent, Attitude and their full legal entitlement of duty free Alcohol. My buddy Anthony, clearly having had too much time on his hands today, expounds humorously on all that the foreign-based Trini also needs to know as they come home for "the shortest Carnival season --- ever."
Step right up!Anthony is a professional musician who has spent much of his adult life in North America. He has recently returned home to Trinidad, the land of his birth. He is a foremost authority on all things "Fresh Water".
Step right up!
Bands have been launched -- since July.
Tunes have been released.
And the race is off!
Don't close your eyes or you might just miss to the shortest Carnival season --- ever.
The schedule for Fete, fete and more fete with a sprinkling of Pan and Mas is attached.
Panorama Sunday is Jan. 20th.
February 4th and 5th is when we take to the streets.
And if yuh not by de Savannah -- half-naked -- my camera have no time with you.
So be there or be square.... or is it?... Be there or be at work in North America -- Your choice.
Brian MacFarlane's band is playing (portraying) Earth.
The other band leaders have agreed to rotate their costumes from last year and they are all playing --'Coloured Bikinis with a dash of Feather.'
Feathers are optional and included with the price of the costume.
The hit song will be something about 'crossing de stage in a band and being angry as a zombie' as Machel and Kernell Roberts are going for their Road March hat-trick -- if they let them out of jail in time.
Anyway, if yuh coming -- bring money. 'Trinidad on a shoe-string budget' are days of the past. Most All Inclusive fetes are in excess of $500. Yes, TT.
Doubles is $3.00. (Up from $1.50 2 years ago)
Coconut is $5. (Chatting with the coconut vendor will cost you extra, so keep yuh accent in yuh back pocket.)
Don't worry -- we don't kidnap foreigners when they here because we doh really like all yuh in we country.
Now here are some crime and survival tips you will need to follow:
1. The criminals have been practicing all year in anticipation of your arrival so bring as much jewellery as you can.
2. All jewellery is to be worn at all times (until ripped off your neck.)
3. Flash lots of money (preferably in a wad) when paying $21 for doubles.
4. Complain out loud about the "pretty coloured" money in this country.
5. Wear slippers to go downtown Fredrick Street - that really makes you inconspicuous.
6. If you want to walk like a Trini -- slow down. No, slower. Ah said slower....
7. Wear lots of American Football or Basketball related jerseys and paraphernalia.
8. If you're the guy with the T-Shirt that says -- 'Don't Ask Me for S*#T!' don't bother to come here; we like to beg.... period.
9. Drive like you can't drive in North America - go ahead get it out yuh system.
10. Act like a boisterous idiot because this is your first time drinking a beer in the middle of Fred'rick Street while wearing an alpagat with socks, extra long Bermuda short pants and an ugly jersey with the number 00 on it.
11. Let everybody know you had lunch in the Food Fair upstairs of Excellent Stores and how de gyul serve you plenty because she like yuh accent and yuh remember how to 'make sweet-eye'.
12. Complain about the NCC not selling tickets for the shows.
13. Complain about the Panorama Finals being in San Fernando (like we care what you think)
14. Pretend you understand all the lyrics to the latest Chalkdust calypso.
15. Stay vex with Bunji Garlin because you can't understand his lyrics -- because he really cares what you think.
16. Tell every Trini you know that Patrick Arnold should not be running Pan Trinbago and you could do a better job. (BUT you don't live here, do you?)
Things you need to know BEFORE you get here:
1. The airport is still the same size. It's still a mess and yes, we have security here too.
2. We know yuh happy to be home but the rest of the people in the line doh need to know yuh business -- keep yuh voice down.
3. As a matter of fact -- keep yuh schupid stories to yuhself -- we doh care how long yuh away and when las' yuh was home or how much you t'ink de country change.
4. Please have all paperwork ready for immediate viewing that describes you as the Cultural Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago.
5. You could have saved all the people in line a lot of money had you told them who was 'going to win Panorama' BEFORE they bought their airline tickets.
6. De rake dat yuh hear about Phase II, All Stars, Desperadoes and Renegades is not true. They not joining forces to form one BIG band for Panorama.
7. Yes, we know MacFarlane 'funny.' But how come you so intimate with de details?
8. Park your extra-sensory knowledge about 'All Things Trinidad' at the plane door and pick it up on your way out -- back to North America.
9. As a matter of fact, park these four phrases with your attitude at de plane door:
- Cool! and
10. Yuh living in North America now. That doesn't mean you know more about living in Trinidad than de people who living in Trinidad -- get used to it.
11. Panorama will be held in San Fernando -- get used to it.
12. De Savannah no longer has a stage -- get used to it.
13. Chalkdust still writes and sings a minimum of seven verses. Dat eh change -- get used to it!
14. Byron Lee no longer comes to Trinidad for carnival.
15. Brass Festival is getting its Brass kicked by Machel’s Alternative Concept concert.
16. I don’t know the difference between the NCC, the NCBA, the NLCB, the NBA, and the NLBA -- so don’t ask me.
17. J’ouvert starts at 4AM. No, yuh cannot sleep in until 6 and if yuh ask me again – doh bodder to come…
18. If you bought your costume via a website and it doesn't look like 'the nice picture of the model' when you pick it up -- there is still no-one to complain to. (Who vex, vex! Doh play nah!)
19. Nothing has changed -- the streets are still the same place they were when you were last here. Some of the streets have signs and some don't -- even in Spanish now.
20. There are still no maps at the gas stations. Don't bother to stop and ask.
21. The garbage men will not be picking up every scarp of garbage from every street corner just because you are here. Trust me, they don't do it when you not in de country.
22. If you have a sensitive nose there are six key areas you should stay away from... As a matter of fact, just go straight to Barbados - there's "Never a Dull Moment, Never a Dull Moment" there. (So ridiculous, you have to say it twice.)
23. The Prime Minister -- Patrick Manning, in case you forgot -- now lives in a mansion with a Diplomatic Centre. It cost $55 million to build. (Nobody mentions the monthly operating costs.) Vex nah!
24. There are several new high-rise buildings in the downtown area of Port of Spain that dwarf the Central Bank towers. You will be surprised. It's a Manning thing -- you'll get used to it.
25. Dinner and conversation with the Prime Minister is $100,000. Bring cash and I could get you in. I know a guy who knows a guy....
26. Don't ask schupid questions -- Vision 20/20 is not a PNM thing. It's a United Nations thing.
27. Once conversing with the PM, please don't waste your time complaining about minor things like -- traffic, road congestion, lack of water, crime, or food prices. Remember the PM is one of us now after experiencing a 'blackout' during the opening of the Palace... sorry... Diplomatic Centre.
28. There are no more Digicel phones selling for $20.
29. Phone ahead to all your friends and relatives before leaving North America. That way you can ask all yuh schupid questions about why dis is so and why dis is not so BEFORE you leave your sanctuary. (This is key in avoiding embarrassment in public.)
And last but not least, please read as frequently as possible the following:We really don't care what you would
do if you ran de country!!!
Welcome to T&T. Have a nice stay.
PS: The half-naked part was for the ladies only...