Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WE Carnival - Essential Carnival Survival Tips

By Antoinette Ifill



Persons visiting Trinidad Carnival for the first time would often hear the rhetoric that it is “The Greatest Festival on Earth”. To maximize your enjoyment of the festival as a first time masquerader, or even a veteran, here are some very handy tips complied from years of experience playing mas:

· Mas stockings are not your usual panty hose which do not have the strength to stand up to the rigors of Carnival Monday and Tuesday leaving the uninitiated with runs and tears. The proper stockings are sheer to the waist tights that are made with lycra. You can get a variety of non shiny, flesh toned stockings at stores that sell tights for dancers or in Trinidad at Micles and Samaroos.

· If you plan on wear mas stockings to prevent your toes from cramping, cut off the toe part so your toes will be free. Remember to use clear nail polish to "seal" the edges.

· Use Sun block, sun block and MORE sun block. Apply showering in the morning, apply while waiting on the band, apply when you stop for lunch, apply often, apply liberally, and just make sure you apply it. The sun in Trinidad can be brutal and you will burn without precaution.

· Always carry a small "survival pack" on the road. Use a small pouch that can be secured to your person and carry items such as sample sized sun block, wet wipes, safety pins, pain killers, clear nail polish (for stocking runs on the road), a cell phone, money and makeup.

· It is imperative to wear comfortable shoes, sneakers or boots. If wearing sneakers or boots make sure you "break them in" at least 1-2 months before carnival. Some people often play mas in gym sneakers because they are already "broken in" and comfortable so it gives support all day. For additional comforts use gel insoles.

· For Carnival you need lots of stamina, so start doing brisk walks at a park, on the treadmill at the gym or even up the street. Wherever you can go walking, do it because it helps come Carnival Monday and Tuesday. The additional benefit is that it helps you to loose the weight. The ideal time to start a work out plan is about 3 to 4 months before Carnival.

· Drink lots and lots of water when playing mas and for every alcoholic drink consumed drink at least 8 oz. of water to prevent dehydration.


· Make sure and EAT BREAKFAST!!!!


· It's a good idea to designate a pre-arranged meeting area in case you or anyone else in your "crew" gets lost. Also, have the address of where you are staying and a contact number for someone close to you on hand

· You do not have to wait until the costume collection day to pay the balance on your costume. All bands accept part payments towards your costume periodically, for example you can make payments monthly. Not only does this ease the burden of having to pay up the balance of $2000.00 in February but it also saves time when you go to collect your costume.

Even though Carnival is a time to "free up" always make safety your first priority. DO NOT accept drinks from strangers, DO NOT wear expensive jewelry and DO NOT wander away into lonely, dark areas. If you need to use the toilet always go with a companion. Some bands provide mobile restrooms, if yours does not many bars that line the parade route allow you to use their facilities for a fee, take along a friend as some of these bars may have seedy characters loitering around. Ensure that you have secured a ride to and from your destination on Carnival Monday and Tuesday

1 comment:

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