Monday, August 04, 2008

Uptight white girl experiences Caribbean festival

In all the years I've lived in Toronto I have never made it to the Caribana parade. Caribana is Toronto's huge Caribbean celebration always held on the August long week-end. The Saturday has a big parade down the Lakeshore with all the beautiful glittering costumes. I was determined to attend this year. And I did. I cobbled together a group of friends and we set off.

We got off the shuttle bus just in time for a very intense, and very cold rain shower. Eventually the rain stopped and we continued on. There were barricades up on both sides of the street blocking off the parade route. We walked to a crossover part so that we could sit on the side of the street with the park stretching down to the lake. There were so many vendors all selling various types of Caribbean food lining the pathway in the park. Yum.

We found a good spot and sat on the grass to wait. It was about noon, and the parade had been listed as being from 10am until 6pm. Nothing came near us until 2pm. Just as the first float passed us, people breached the barricades directly across from us and flooded onto the streets. Suddenly our clear view was blocked. Me and the people near me kept screaming at people to get out of our way. For the most part, they did. The costumes were absolutely spectacular and the parade was progressing. Soon though there were too many people in the street. Instead of seeing beautiful glittering costumes sweeping past, I was now looking at ugly white people in mall clothing. Really, I could just have gone to the Eaton's Centre for the day and experienced the same spectacle.

Even grosser, one of the crowd went up behind one of the dancers and started dry humping her. Apart from being disturbing and disgusting to watch, it made me angry that the dancers were no longer secure. Not to mention the little girl that was standing next to us with her parents had to witness that. The guy did his little show and then walked away, high-fiving and cheering to his friends. Nice. The man next to me kept yelling at the people in the parade route, "Excuse me - are *you* a masquerader?" He was cracking me up.

At that point it was becoming so annoying and the parade was not progressing so we left the parade route. One highlight before all the chaos was seeing middle aged women with truly less than perfect bodies appearing in glittery small costumes and shimmering and shaking along with everyone else. Truly they were beautiful and inspiring. And the younger girls with model perfect bodies were gorgeous.

We went to sample some of the food. I found doubles (Trinidad chick pea patties) so I was happy, and then walked on further past the parade route and had a beer at a restaurant at the side of the lake. However, two hours after the first float had passed us, it was only about 300 feet further down the parade route. Sigh. Next year I am going to get ticketed seats at Exhibition Stadium at the beginning of the route. That way I'll see the beauty of the parade without the irritation of the crowd.

10 comments:

Roxrocks said...

This is why I stopped going to concerts, I'll buy it on DVD and spare myself the stupidity. I'm glad you're making plans for next year though!

Susan as herself said...

UGH. Crowd experiences like that make me despise humanity. Why do people have to ruin something beautiful by acting like asses?

But man, I always think those Caribbean costumes are GORGEOUS.

CoffeeDog said...

Sounds like it was a cluster! I avoid clusters at all costs.

tornwordo said...

Too many people in one place always makes me antsy. The bleacher idea sounds very adult, lol.

eroswings said...

Sometimes, crowds can be fun; other times it can be stupid. At least you made it out there to eat some food and see some of the costumes. Still sounds like you had a blast. Now you know what to do next time to avoid the horrid hordes.

Did my fave reggae/rapper Snow make an appearance?

Brice said...

My only Caribana experiences have been enduring a 3-hour wait to get on the ferry to Centre Island, more tourists than a city can accommodate, and having to walk on Yonge St because of all the cops crowding the sidewalks.
Now I try to leave the city.

Freak Magnet said...

I wish I lived closer to you. You always do the fun stuff - even if it is ruined by buttmunches.

Laverne said...

Oh man, I hate parades with a passion, and your description made me hyper-ventilate. Gah. And knowing me, I would have started yelling at the douche who was basically assaulting the dancer. I so hate that kind of crap.

I need to go breathe in a paper bag.

Dantallion said...

"Ugly white people in mall clothing"... OH the HUMANITY!

Snooze said...

Roxrocks: Ah, I do love the chaos of live events. I can't take them for long though.

Susan: Oh the costumes were so stunning. When I saw them...

Coffeedog: Yeah, I would never have gone on the crowded street and been trapped between the barricades. Too unsafe.

Torn: I know... the bleacher idea sounds incredibly Geritol, but that's still my plan

Eros: There weren't any sort of concert events at this particular time [at least not that I knew of]. And yeah, I did have a blast because of the friends I was with.

Brice: I love watching the cops in riot gear. Such a turn on

FM: Believe me, most of the time I'm as dull as dishwater. But thanks for thinking I'm exciting!

Laverne: I was in shock looking at the happy humper. I should have yelled at him.

Dantallion: You have no idea how I suffered. I feel like I was visually assaulted. I'm surprised my trauma didn't make the national news.