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Paint, powder transform J'Ouvert

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Carnival 2014
A reveller sprays powder during j’ouvert celebrations on the Foreshore, Audrey Jeffers Highway, yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

There was a noticeable decrease in mud and oil bands as compared to previous years as paint and powder seemed to rule the road for J’ouvert yesterday morning.


Port-of-Spain was transformed into one large street theatre as J’Ouvert masqueraders paraded through the streets in paint-splattered clothing.


A young man wearing a bib and diapers turned to his girlfriend, smacking his lips against her cheek, a beer in his hand and a smile on his face as music blared from a set of speakers on Ariapita Avenue.


At around 4 am, characters pranced through the streets, calling out friends, dancing with strangers and sharing one commonality, smiles that stretched from the lips to eyes as they welcomed the early morning festival.


Large crowds gathered near the bars with the loudest speakers, enjoying their own street party as steelbands such as Caribbean Airlines Invaders and Starlift made their way through the fray, beating sweet musical notes out of steel.


As rapso group 3Canal passed with their band, black paint was pasted onto waiting faces.


Near the stadium on Wrightson Road, big trucks, blasted soca music from speakers as people in matching outfits squirted pink, yellow, green, blue and red paint onto each other’s bodies. One woman, in J’Ouvert band iJouvert, stood on a truck spraying pink paint onto a jumping, waving, wining crowd from the tray of a pickup truck.


Drivers of the many vehicles on the road seemed impatient with revellers as they recklessly moved through the streets.

This did nothing to dampen the fun or activities as a man lifted a plastic cup to his lips as Ravi B’s voice called for a bottle of rum per day.


By 5 am, J’Ouvert bands were squeezing past each other in St Clair as masqueraders from separate bands mixed and mingled, enjoying each other for a few moments before moving apart with their own trucks.


Near the large, dignified structure of the Archbishop’s House on Queen’s Park West, empty paint bottles and beer cans lay strewn across the road as the rich scent of cocoa from a large J’Ouvert band permeated the air.


Brown liquid trailed down red t-shirts and different hues of skin as women and men displayed their ability to bend, move and gyrate on the Savannah grass and pavement, with pink poui trees overhead.


Arms spread in joyous abandon as music blared and Machel Montano’s voice declared him the happiest man alive.


At the sight of photographers, groups of friends stopped the dancing to pose for pictures before asking which website they would be able to view the images on.


At 6 am, J’Ouvert band Dirty Dozen, along with what appeared to be a few hundred revellers, danced past Kapok Hotel in Maraval, pausing to allow an ambulance to pass them on the road when requested by their DJ.


As bands passed, employees from the Port-of-Spain city corporation along with employees of the Community Environmental Protection Enhancement Programme (Cepep) swept the streets and placed garbage into bags. 


On St Clair Avenue, a big truck played the song Rolly Polly as soca icon Austin ‘Super Blue’ Lyons was jammed from a heavy-set woman on a truck carrying drinks.


In Woodbrook, the pungent scent of urine was overwhelming as young women relieved themselves behind cars and men used the walls of the community’s residents as a urinal.


As the sun started reflecting from windshields and windows, revellers began putting on sunglasses and the atmosphere transitioned from bliss to an awareness that brought with it signs of violence.


Where before, the predominant sound was soca music, police and ambulance sirens began a different melody in the streets and blood mixed with paint as bottles flew through the sky.


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