Carnivale - Part 1
Before I get into my description of the day's events, I just have to comment on how wicked cool internet radio is. I was very worried that I'd miss listening to good music until we got settled in our flat. And buy a clock radio (since the one I've been using since I was 17 is in a box underneath Jeremy's grandparent's house).
All I did was ask the all-powerful Google to find me internet radio stations and before me appeared a list of hundreds of sites. Since they all claim to be the "best radio station on the internet" I got very adventurous and clicked on the first site. Found Guy Smiley FM, a station that plays hiphop, pop, and top40 music with a little bit of old school tossed in just for fun. We've been listening to this station nonstop for the last two days and I have to say I've never heard such diversity from one station in my life. I just listened to:
"One Man Army" Our Lady Peace
"Ya" Usher & Ludacris
"Poison" Bell Biv Devoe (ya for real! I haven't heard that song in like 15 years)
"Do it To it" Cherish
"Walk Away" Kelly Clarkson
Just when you think you're listening to a hiphop station, they toss in Our Lady Peace or a rap song from 1990. It's great.
Anyway - just had to share.
If you checked the website for this event, you would know that two million people from all around the planet converge on Notting Hill (and apparently our neighborhood too) for two days every August. Neither of us had ever seen so many people in one area before in our lives and I doubt we ever will again. The streets from our building all the way past Notting Hill are all closed except for the main road, people are everywhere drinking beer and having fun, you can get any kind of food you could imagine, and the music is incredible. The parade goes from noon until 7pm, with people rotating in and out of the groups as they get tired or hungry.
Today was "Kid's Day", meaning all of the performers were under 21 years old and that more families were around. It was a good way for us to get an idea of what tomorrow's festivities will bring.
Homesickness reared it's ugly head for a minute as I thought of my friend Ledawit and how she'd appreciate this more than anybody else we know. Maybe next year some of our friends can come and join us... (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
I didn't want to bring my good camera out because it recommended to leave expensive cameras and purses at home on the carnival's website. Kinda wish I had today though because I could have gotten much better pics. Here are a few that turned out okay...
This rastafarian dude was hilarious - he kept balancing his water bottles on his forehead and hose and dancing for the crowds.
We're not sure why these people are full of mud. But they had a lot of fun pulling random people over the barriers and dirty dancing with them until they were full of mud too. One poor girl who looked about 16 and very shy got sandwiched between two guys who had to have been 250 pounds each. She was smiling at the end even though her once-white shirt was brown when she joined her friends.
Our dinner was fish & chips - super yummy and oh so healthy - and of course more beer (notice the Red Stripe brand - had to get the Jamaican brew). We sat on a side street so we could eat and actually hear each other talking. This turned out to be a good decision because we were entertained by the horse police.
They rode through the streets in black tights (even the men), police jackets, flourescent yellow blazers and the oh-so-stylish police hats. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of them because my hands were full of grease and salt, so I'll try my best to get some tomorrow. It was pretty wierd watching them ride horses through the massive crowds down the street where I go to the bank and market.
I can still hear the police cars even though the festivities have technically been over for two hours. We opted to spend a quieter night at home tonight since tomorrow will be wilder and busier and probably a much longer day.
I got ambitious and found a map of our area. We're staying temporarily in Porchester gardens, which looks like a long walk to Notting Hill, but in reality is only a half hour walk (the map is very detailed too - don't think it's missing any streets).
That half hour goes by very quickly when you've got a cold beer in your hand.
Mine appears to be empty now, so it's either time for another one or time for bed.