Monday, August 28, 2006

Carnivale - Part 2

Two posts in one day! Apparently now that I'm a Londoner (again) I've got lots to say.

There really isn't much to tell about Day 2 of Notting Hill's Carnival except that there were even more people in the streets today than yesterday. An astonishing number of people.

We set out with our cheap beer (8 king cans of Fosters for 6.35) and made our way towards the festivities. A few things became immediately obvious:

1. People were much drunker than yesterday.
2. Anybody with children had opted to stay home (for the most part).
3. The number of police officers in plain sight had tripled.
4. It was going to take us way longer to get to Notting Hill because the crowds started pretty much out our front door.

This is a view of the street where my bank is... about 2 minutes from where we're staying.

Since the parade route was wider today we were entertained by the fabulous music for most of our journey. When we finally arrived to the barricades, we noticed a very large number of police standing around, blocking a road. At first we thought it was just to control the crowd, but then we noticed this:

Apparently there had been an incident with a gang.

Ordinarily hearing this bit of news would be enough to make this small town girl turn right back around for the safety of our secured-entranced flat. My worry was immediately erased when I saw the WALL of police, standing shoulder to shoulder as they held the unruly men against a brick wall. Nobody was going anywhere. People were rubbernecking and taking pictures - something I was about to joke about until I noticed that there were some horse police, so remembering my promise in Part 1, I pulled out my camera.

If you look carefully at the background of the picture you can see the wall of police. Pretty impressive...

Didn't have time to try for a better picture because the policemen on the horses started yelling through bullhorns for people to clear out of the area or they'd join the unforunate men behind the barricade.

Didn't have to ask me twice. Those dudes looked CRANKY and my general rule of thumb is that a cranky person with a gun and the authority to arrest me gets to be the boss of me.

We found yet another good spot to stand and watch some of the parade. Since the crowd and performers were a little older, things were a little bit sexier too - it was very entertaining though. At one point we burst out laughing as this teeny girl leaned over and stuck her butt out at the guy behind her, who immediately jumped up to her and started knocking her forward with his hips. All of the dancers looked like they were having a great time and once again the costumes were incredible.

My little camera phone took a lot of blurry pics - sorry the quality isn't better, but I wasn't risking my pricey one with a crowd of 2 million people.

Jeremy & I at the parade

So our first experience with "The Carnival" was a pretty good one. It took forever to walk anywhere because of the insane number of people around, but most of the time people were in happy moods as they sang and danced along with the music. While walking down the main road in Notting Hill (Ladbroke Grove), Jeremy commented that it felt like we were in a giant conga line. I had to agree.

At one point we smelled food and realized we were hungry. Following the yummy smells, we and about 2,000 other people sat on the side of Portobello Road and had dinner. Jerk chicken was really expensive, so we went for the more-affordable oriental food - spring rolls, chow mein, and satay chicken. It was delicious. We tried taking a picture of the crowd on that street, but they all turned out really blurry:

On the way back down the road, I realized we were on the street that one of the characters in"Oliver Twist" sings about - "on Portobello road". Very cool and definitely one of my favourite things about living in London. The history in this city is mind-boggling. We're always joking around how "this brick wall / sidewalk is older than Canada". Guess in time the novelty will wear off, but I hope it never does completely. I've never lived anywhere like this and am starting to be very happy that we made the decision to go on this adventure.

I still miss home and WILL be going back to Canada someday. Because it's home. And you always go back home.

But for now this is a hell of a cool place to be.


  • At 8:12 AM, Blogger Laura Coubrough said…

    Sounds like you're having a fantastic time Mel. I'm soooo jealous. I can't wait to get to Europe this week! I'll have to post a lot of pics when I get back.


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