I’m still here

So it’s been a minute, but I am still here in paradise. Tons of big changes since TWO YEARS ago when I last posted, like a brand new job at Island Publishing Services. The gig includes doing a bunch of fun things, including writing for the Limin’ Times.

Here’s one of the first things I wrote when I started. It appeared in the weekly Island Life column in the July 28th edition.

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Ready for de road

Join the Festival Fun

(or how to have the best possible August Monday in the British Virgin Islands)

You might think that the best way to enjoy August Monday is to find a shady spot to sit while watching the parade, but that’s not true. The real secret is to find a spot in a parade troupe. This year will be my third time in the August Monday Parade (and my second with the Tortola Dance Project — hey ladies!), which tells you that the experience is worth repeating. Here are my top six reasons why:

  1. The view: Being “on de road” offers the best people watching. You get to see the other parade participants while you wait around for things to get moving, and then you get to see everybody who’s watching along the route once the parade gets under way.
  2. Camaraderie: The best way to join the parade is with a lively friend, but even if you don’t know the folks in your troupe, you’re sure to bond quickly and make a few in short order. I’m still friendly with some of the people I met in my first parade back in 2011.
  3. Photos: My fellow social media junkies will have already noticed this one. After festival time the fabulous new profile pictures pop up and Facebook fills up with photo albums from the parade. Since all the territory’s best photographers work the event, you’re bound to wind up with several flattering shots of you and your friends.
  4. Vibes: Over the years I’ve noticed that whether the troupe is filled with disciplined performers, casual “freestylers,” or the members of a community service organization, band or sports group, the folks that care enough to form a troupe and show up on parade day are a positive bunch. Even if a day on my feet in the sun wears me out a bit, the positive vibes leave me feeling uplifted for days afterward.
  5. Music: Every year artists from around the region put out new music especially for the various Caribbean fetes. On parade day, between the DJs and the bands that play in the parade, you get to hear mixes, covers and originals curated by music industry professionals. If you love to dance like I do, it’s a great education on the season’s best tunes.
  6. Wardrobe: Being in a troupe is the perfect excuse to get out your beads, bedazzle your jeans, customize your t-shirt, and generally bling up. It’s probably too late at this point to get a feathered headdress for this year’s festivities, but hey, there’s always next year!
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More on my first festival parade

I'm all decked out for the parade.

Last week I shared the story of my first Emancipation Festival Parade, but there were a few things I left out of that story — some just didn’t fit, others weren’t fit to print in a family newspaper.

Here’s a shortlist of my favorite funny and odd things that make up the rest of the story of my first festival parade.

1. So sober. Part of the refreshments provided when you’re in a troop includes basically as much booze as you can handle, but my fear of embarrassing myself more than necessary in front of the whole territory helped me decide not to enjoy any of my beloved rum and cokes until the parade was practically over — right about when the speakers quit on the band’s truck, if you read the Beacon article.

2. Asian Persuasion. At least 6 sets of people had me pose in pictures with them and they were all — at least to my eye — Asians. Not sure if they were spotting me as one of their own or if I just happened to look friendlier than the other folks in my troop, but there it is.

3. Petticoat parade. I actually wore a petticoat under my dress. It was more like a tutu since it was so short, and it’s pink. The folks who made it called it a can-can. This is the part of the costume I really hope I have an excuse to wear again sometime.

4. Vintage Babe. That’s actually what it said on all of our dresses. It seemed particularly appropriate when I realized that a lot of the people in our troop were real grownups and not the swarm of 19- and 20-year-olds you see on Carnival-style parades on television.

5. Winning at wining. My favorite compliment of the whole festival: “You dance like a Caribbean girl.” Uhm, thanks!