You may be wondering why this group of sailors is covered in motor oil and paint, drinking beer at 7AM.
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t catch us up before sunrise, drinking and getting covered in goop. But for J’ouvert (a celebration of the 1838 emancipation of slaves and inclusion of former slaves in Carnival festivities),the first big party of Carnival, we made an exception. With our alarm clock set for 3AM and our worst outfits laid ready, we slept lightly, buzzed with anticipation.
The alarm proved unnecessary – the bump of the soca music blasting from the street was all we needed to let us know that the party was about to begin. Out in the dark streets, we bought ice cold Caribs from a guy on the side of the road, and stood back to take it all in.
What we saw – Jab Jabs (J’ouvert participants) dancing in the streets, covered in motor oil (and once the sun came up, paint). Lots of costumes, men dragging lengths of chain and around, women wearing short shorts and cropped tops. Some polite political demonstrations. Packs of people dancing all around big trucks blasting soca music and distributing paint from big vats, roving slowly through the streets, painting other participants.
The conspicuous absence of law enforcement was quite a shock to us Americans – there were literally thousands of people drinking and partying for hours in the streets – but no police presence and everything was remarkably peaceful. Even when they’re partying, Grenadians are just totally chill. An event like this simply could never be in the United States.
We’d gone out without the camera (we’d been warned not to bring it)and missed tons of great shots. I ran back and grabbed it to capture just a sliver of the action as the party was wining down at around 9AM.