Today was the first and last taste of Antigua's 2009 Carnival, the Parade of Troupes and Group Las Lap. This parade is the culmination of the entire week that comprises the Carnival celebration here. All of the monarchs have been crowned. I was anxious to see the costumes and colors of the groups in the parade. The last time we attended this parade in 2007 I really did not know what to expect. This time I was prepared and was more bold in getting out into the flow and taking photos.


Cohen and Hayley had very little interest in the parade, and this was compounded by the scheduling. There's the official time, as listed on the web site as "11:00 am" and then there's the real, island time when the parade actually commences, and that is around 1:30pm. So, punctual me, despite Jenn's insistence that "remember last time", we left the house to get to the parade at 11 am to find the parade route all but deserted. In fact, people were still setting up. So we asked a few folks what time it actually started and got a range of noon to 1pm, so rather than drive back home and come back, we found a spot and just waited.



The parade eventually started in fits and starts. Unfortunately, and strangely, by sitting near the beginning of the route, some of the floats were entirely empty, such as the Calypso Monarch's, which is a pretty important title. But eventually it got going and at one point, got going TOO well as it jammed up for a good 30 minutes. The group that was stuck in front of us was a Dominican group dressed in full-body monster costumes made of various materials such as strips of newspaper, plastic or rice sacks and a latex monster mask. I can't imagine how hot these people were getting, but they were constantly supplied by cold drinks from a pickup behind them.


IMG_6450.jpgThe crowds swelled as the parade went on and we were majorly annoyed by a group families from (I believe) Greece. People call Americans rude? This was the most annoying and brash group of white people I've had the misfortune to be near in a long time. They forced their kids upon the paraders for photos, they stood right in front of people who had waited hours for their spots. They were all around obnoxious. Yuck. Good riddance.


After a few hours of parade, we left, though there was probably a few hours more of groups and bands to pass by. I got a lot of great photos and a great dose of loud Soca and calypso steel drum music. I forgot how amazing a tractor trailer full of steel drummers sounds. I don't think video does it justice. You can FEEL it.