Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Par-tay Day

I went to Mardi Gras once, long ago at the end of high school. Drove down to New Orleans from Kansas City with my at-the-time boyfriend. We were young, stupid and blinded by drugs, as well as depressed by that long drive south through Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana en route. During the 1960's, the south was a truly frightening place, a sad landscape.

What I remember about Mardi Gras is vague. It was loud, as I remember. Colorful and crowded. The more drugs I did and the more I drank, the less I liked the scene. Finally after a big argument, my boyfriend and I got back in the car and drove home. Pfffft.

Fast forward twenty years to when I went to Carnival in Trinidad with my at-the-time husband. Now THAT was a blast. Colorful, crowded and LOUD beyond belief, Carnival in Port of Spain was so much fun. I was not doing any drugs, sipping rum drinks, yes, but not overindulging. That helped a lot. I love steel drum music and calypso music, so that helped me enjoy myself, too. We bought coconuts and roti from street vendors, walked for miles, attended the calypso monarch contest, and danced our asses off, just like everyone around us. It took me a week to catch up on sleep, but was well worth it. I cherish that memory.

Mardi Gras is never a big deal in Washington DC, especially this year. That's OK by me. Still, I wish anyone who celebrates a rowdy Mardi Gras. Put on your costumes, let your neck hang heavy with beads, eat a po' boy or two, oh yeah!! Cheers!


Linda Sue said...

The first photo sent me into appreciation spasms! What a shot!
Love your stories of frolicsome youth. Every time someone says "Trinidad" I am compelled to go on- "and the big mississippi and the town Honolulu and the lake Titicaca." sometimes I think it is a sort of tourettes glitch in my brain...nobody should ever have to learn the geographical fugue- ever. It gets annoyingly stuck.

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, that's right. Fat Tuesday is today. I've always wanted to go to Mardi Gras but never have. Your recounts of both Mardi Gras and Trinidad were engaging. I don't sleep much when I'm out like that either. I can sleep plenty when I'm dead.

There's usually a lot of ta-ta flashing at Mardi Gras too. Flaunt 'm if you got 'm, I guess for tomorrow starts the lean days.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah, the boob flashing. Forgot all about that (conveniently).

I am not a big crowd sort of person, but in Trinidad I enjoyed it. Who knows why?

Tom said...

Yeah, we don't celebrate Mardi Gras at all. Why? What I loved about visiting New Orleans...riding around in the streetcars packed in like sardines and walking down the street with a Hurricane the size a hat. hic.

who said ta-tas? where!?

Elizabeth said...

We used to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday
in England
pretty tame huh!!!

glad you are digging out a bit

Reya Mellicker said...

Pancakes? Yeah - that practice is associated with St. Bridgid's day, too. Sounds right up my alley these days! Forget the rum! Bring on the pancakes .. well .. gluten free pancakes, that is!

steven said...

wickedgood snow reflection in the beetle but reya where do you find such clean cars and why do people have such clean cars there?!!! some days i wake up with a mardi gras in my head and i take it on the road and see where it leads me . . . sweet dc evening reya. steven

willow said...

Speaking of pancakes, I made myself a huge plate of homemade buttermilks last week. I hadn't eaten any in years! Oh, gosh. Heaven!

(love the parking note)

Barbara said...

The last photo resonates with me, after having parked not once but twice in DC today, in both cases with great difficulty. I must have been 8 feet away from the curb on 8th St. near Groovy with no way to get over the mound of snow to reach the sidewalk. The only good news was the car in front and truck in back of me were equally far away. Mayor Fenty has a lot to learn about snow removal.

Reya Mellicker said...

Well, we live in the south, so why would we have any real snow removal equipment? I imagine some parking lot somewhere full of rusted, broken plows. That's DC, before and after Fenty. Oh yeah.

The parking places are so weird looking with the walls of snow all around them. I give thanks every day these days that I do not have a car.

Mary Ellen said...

Wish I had ever experienced Mardi Gras - have been a northwestern/northern girl all along. I think the north could use a good, hip-swinging festival around this time, though. (Note re. the last post - I loved the Snow Queen - happy to be reminded of it.)

Susan said...

I've never been to a really good street festival - always seem to gravitate toward the quiet things.
Sounds like Trinidad could change my mind!