With our car at the mechanic and the mechanic’s watch stuck on Caribbean time we didn’t expect to see the car any time soon. In fact the car was only supposed to be in the shop for one week … approximately eight weeks ago. In any case it was an opportunity to enjoy another local adventure … and that was taking the bus to the beach. After I dared them the kids finally got up the nerve to call out “bus stop” which is what you as a passenger tell the bus driver when you want the bus to stop and let you off.
Judging from the subjects my son Eric captured, he was able to connect with some of the people he was photographing. A triumph for a young photographer!
When the parades pass you recognize that some of the mas bands represent other islands like Dominica, and Haiti. A big melting pot all enjoying Antiguan Carnival.
This year I actually played J’ouvert mas rather than take pictures, so there are few pictures save the one below. Playing Mas means that you buy a ticket to join a troupe for the evening. Everyone in the troupe is given the standard Carnival party favours like a t shirt with the name of the troupe, a bandana, and in some cases a whistle. You then get to join the party of people enjoying themselves dancing between the music truck and the drinks truck as both roll along the parade route until morning. Even if you’re just staying in Antigua for a short time, with the place being so small you’ll likely end up saying a friendly hello to a few people you’ve met. If you’ve been on the island awhile you’ll of course meet all kinds of people you haven’t seen for some time and wondered where they went.
After following the parade route the troupes make their way to the Antigua Carnival Recreation Ground stadium where they go onstage to be judged in a number of categories such as best large band. Despite all the paraders having by this point danced and in the case of many of the grown ups having sipped various forms of liquor in the hot sun all day, every one player seems energized by the crowd and the music in the stadium; the stage literally comes alive when each band gets their turn to come onstage and impress the judges.
My son Eric at age 8 is a avid photographer. Despite him having an older model flash (a hand me down from my film days) that didn’t work well with his camera we were able to experiment with setting his flash levels manually so that eventually he was able to go out photographing on his own while I photographed another part of the Carnival. Last year was his first Carnival in Antigua and it was all still new so I imagine it took quite a bit of nerve stepping past the crowd to photograph carnival on his own even though he was always under the watchful eye of his grandmother. But step out he did.