This is the time of year that a great majority of Trinis both here and overseas look forward to more than Christmas, New Years and other sundry long weekends combined. Carnival! Yes, Carnival 2012 or 2K12 in some circles. The lead up to Carnival commences from the day after Christmas but really gets into full mode following New Years Day. Last Year the season was an exceptionally long one as Carnival 2K11 was in early March. This year Carnival is set for mid February, 20th and 21st February to be exact; and as usual locals are hitting up nearly every carnival related event that they can get to, while nationals residing abroad are flying in from all over. With the main influx of arrivals due between Thursday and Friday.
During my time overseas during College I never had the opportunity to come home for carnival as the dates always fell a few weeks before Spring Break, either way I probably would not have come home anyhow. For starters I am not much of a carnival person, I refuse to go all Gung-Ho crazy for it. There were a few reason that I looked forward to carnival back when I was growing up:
1. The long weekend! For part of high school I lived with my dad over on Tobago, and it was pretty much a given that I would spend Carnival weekend in Trinidad with my mother, siblings, step-father and visiting relatives. Coming to Trinidad from Tobago for that weekend was like going on R&R. And that is exactly what I did, relaxed. No home work! The only time I would pick up a text book the entire weekend was on Ash Wednesday morning when I was on the first flight from Trinidad back to Tobago.
2. New Video Tapes. This was back in the BC Days( before cable), the one local TV station would be tuned into carnival related events, which meant that there would be nothing else to watch. My relatives from the States would always record and send somewhere between two to three tapes worth of recorded cartoons. This was long before Cartoon Network, when all the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, UPN, WGN, WPIX/WB) all showed cartoons on weekdays and on weekends, particularly on Saturday morning. Anyhow, my siblings and I would watch all three tapes over and over from the moment I arrived till my last day before returning back to Tobago. In addition to the tapes, there was also the boxes of cereal that we would get, once again this was back before the local groceries started to stock a lot of the popular named cereals from overseas. Back then if you wanted to get a box of Trix, Pac-Man cereal, Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs you would have to wait for relatives to bring them in. Needless to say by the time I was ready to return to Tobago the majority of the cereal would be finished. Between my brother, sister( who is a bottom less eating machine) and I, the cereal never stood a hope of lasting long.
3. An opportunity to catch up on my other reading. For a while during the school term my dad had banned me from reading any books that were not school related. No comics, no magazines, no novels...nothing...it was text books only. Whenever I came to Trinidad it was an opportunity to become re-acquainted with all the comics I had to leave behind and finally get to read the novels that I had to hide from my dad. Eventually the ban on reading non-school related books was lifted after my dad saw me reading a Physics text during a trip to the beach. That and my mom telling him that I could not study 24/7 and needed to read other books to relax.
When I got to college I knew that it would be impossible to make it back home for Carnival, and the last thing that I wanted to do was to fly down to Trinidad on the Friday, spend about a week only to have to pack up to return to the cold of Rochester NY just as I began to thaw out and regain my tan. Besides, spending my Spring Break at my friend's house in Liverpool NY was a blast in itself( will do a post on that in the future).
I recall a few years ago watching the news about heavy fog and bad weather in places like Atlanta and Houston Texas causing a lot of flight delays and cancellations. As Atlanta was a main transit point for passengers making their way to Miami to catch connecting flights to Trinidad, I wondered how many T&T nationals wound up missing their connecting flights to Trinidad because of the fog and bad weather? If they were flying out of Houston Texas to Trinidad then the delay would not have been that bad, as the G.W. Bush International Airport is in my opinion the best airport to be delayed in, as it feels more like a shopping mall than an airport. There is so much to do while waiting for your flight.
For the next few days, if not already, locals and visitors are going to be all more hyper than kids on sugar as the week moves towards the weekend and right into Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Then come Ash Wednesday they will all be going through carnival withdraws, skipping work and school to go to the beach to cool down then begin counting the days till Carnival 2K13.
As for me, as stated earlier I am not all that much of a carnival person and will most likely spend the weekend relaxing, catching up on and getting ahead on a whole lot of reading and maybe some writing. With a new kindle in my possession, I will need to use the time to get through all the books stored along with the new ones added. There is a plan somewhere in my future where I plan to travel out of Trinidad and Tobago during Carnival, I mean why not? Seeing as I am not doing anything here for Carnival, why not go somewhere else for a change and do something different? Only time and a bigger bank account will tell. (When that time does come, my vote will be for either St. Martin or Aruba!)