Ok so did you know that London (more specifically Notting Hill) has this carnival every year where they try to mimic Rio's 'Carnival'?
Well I didn't. In fact I was so oblivious that when I showed up I thought I was going to a run-of-the-mill carnival. You know?, with a Ferris wheel and stuff.
Anyway, there was a parade of 'floats' (trucks with DJs and Speakers) that had themed dancers behind them. They were pretty awesome. The dancers were great and the costumes were all pretty impressive. There was a fair bit of wait time between each float, but I think that is just because we were there fairly early in the day.
The food was ... interesting. I had curried goat. It was nice if you disregard the fact that giving someone curry full of bones and rice to eat with a spoon and no seating is not the easiest combination.
As the day went on, it got more and more crowded. Then it got crowded to the point that I could not move or see what was going on. Tip to anyone deciding to run a carnival: if you hand out maps at the start, then change your mind and try to divert a crowd of hundreds to a different location, it gets a littttttle squishy. It started to remind me of a music festival, where I realise that I am right at the height of the elbows and armpits of the tall people of the world. I never enjoy this reminder.
Ok in the scheme of things, I didn't have the best time at the carnival. I was not nearly intoxicated enough, so found it difficult to ignore the trash piling up on the streets, the half naked drunk youths getting increasingly promiscuous and/or aggressive around me, and the standing around for hours waiting for people to decide how they wanted to spend the day. The little voice in my head was complaining so much, I felt... well.... British (little British humour there, sorry England, I love you!)
None of these things were the carnival's fault. Travelling in big groups is always tough for making plans and it is not Notting Hill's fault that I am short. Don't let this throw you off checking out the carnival when you are in London. The music is good, and I am definitely glad that I went to check it out... it just didn't end up being my scene. They also openly sell pot while your walking around, which was not something I am used to experiencing back home.
I did enjoy watching this party that was happening in one of the apartments overlooking the streets of the carnival. There was a group of verrrrrry attractive people in pin-striped suits and dresses laughing, eating cheese and drinking wine and beer. It was so perfectly wonderful and clichéd that I am devastated I did not think of an excuse that would get me into that party. Turns out finding alluring formal clothing whilst crammed between hundreds of sweaty British youths is no easy feat.
Hands down the best part of the day was the company. I went with some of the people I met at the couch surfing dinner the day before, and some new people. Kim, Andrew and Kim's best friend (the English primary school teacher who's name I have forgotten.. sorry!) were some of the new people I met. It was fun spending the day with them because I genuinely like them. There were a couple others in the group who... well... I wanted to throttle a little bit. But that is all part of the travel experience right?
Till Next time