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Carnival Tribe is not about Carnival … it’s about printing money and pushing THEIR idea of the Carnival experience

Playing mas in Trinidad is a bucket list highlight for many people, especially those second and third generation Trinidadians who’ve only heard about how great Trinidad Carnival is while playing mas in New York, Toronto, Miami etc. As a veteran “fete sket“, I’ve crossed the stage multiple times with Poison and now Tribe and to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t give two shits about “crossing the stage” NOW … but I do remember my first time playing mas, and crossing the stage was the culmination of the carnival experience and the icing on the cake.

I remember the excitement I felt, while waiting to rush on the big stage to “gallery” myself and making sure to tell everyone at home when I was going to cross the stage. On Carnival Tuesday, Tribe administration made the decision not to cross the stage … hence denying their masqueraders (especially the first timers) the opportunity to cross the stage.

There were two trains of thought I had here

  1. Personally, I couldn’t care less that Tribe didn’t cross the stage. Here is why :
    • Tribe is a fashion band, a “Be Seen” band, a packaged experience that has as much to do with Carnival as it has to do with Oktoberfest.
    • Tribe has never won “Band of the Year” … and has never attempted to compete for it, since it was never their focus.According to National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) president David Lopez; “Tribe registered to enter the competition, but you have to pass three out of the four judging points (to be eligible for placement). Since they started, the most Tribe has ever done is two. Tribe disqualified themselves”

      He said the NCBA understood this was how Tribe usually operated, and as such, were in discussions, with the band and security forces to allow the band to cross the stage. He said the there was much discussion before Carnival to decide the route and nobody had any reason to assemble or go up Frederick Street, and when the band started to get too near the prison, security personnel had to intervene.

    • Tribe is popular because it offers crappy bikini costumes with pretty foreign and local girls. It offers convenience and an all inclusive packaged experience.
    • This being said … Tribe will never EVER be about the “Spirit of Carnival”.
  2. If I were a first timer and I didn’t understand the history and ethos of this band, I would be very, very upset. I would be even more upset that I had no recourse with the band. Tribe will launch next year, people will forget that Tribe denied their masqueraders the opportunity to cross the stage.
    • The administration claims it was done for safety. I counter it was done so Tribe didn’t have to pay for 4 hours more of security, music and drinking.
    • The beverage trucks had already started running out of liquor and we’re not being resupplied.
    • Masqueraders have a choice in their Carnival Band and they will choose Tribe again and again … because Tribe understand that their core demographic has no concern about Carnival. They understand that their demographic just want to brag and boast that they played mas with Tribe. END OF STORY.

Tribe sent out the following “apology” letter on Ash Wednesday

The Tribal Spirit Will Not Be Broken!

Dear Masqueraders,

TRIBE sincerely thanks you for your continued patronage of the band for Carnival 2012. Remember TRIBE is your band and every decision made is in the best interest of you – Our Masquerader!

The TRIBE team expresses its sincerest apologies to you, our masqueraders, who may have felt your Carnival experience was compromised with the band being prevented by the Officials from crossing the Savannah stage. The Savannah stage incident was unintentional and certainly regrettable. Rest assured TRIBE will be working with all the major stakeholders to ensure that this will never occur in the future.

Our masqueraders are our first and foremost important stakeholder and despite incomplete and inaccurate reports, we wish to advise you of the facts surrounding the band not crossing the Savannah stage before we respond to any other stakeholder.


On Carnival Tuesday morning the band left its start point en route to the official route when it encountered several other bands, which were now assembling on the official route (Abercrombie St.).  Assembling on the Official Route is a violation of the rules outlined by the NCBA.  Due to the fact that the official route was blocked by such bands that were not even moving but now assembling, the TRIBE Road Management team took a decision to make a detour (to Frederick St.) in order to keep the band flowing and to move the tail of the band out of the way of other bands. This action resulted in the officials choosing to penalise TRIBE for not sticking to the official route despite the fact that several other bands who also flouted the rules were allowed to access the Stage. However, TRIBE does acknowledge and take responsibility for deviating for the official route.

Later on in the day, the TRIBE team was informed of the reversal of the decision preventing the band from entering the Savannah, but the Road Management team could not at that point take the band back to the Savannah for what would have been a lengthy wait.

Please be assured that TRIBE made every effort to gain entry to the Savannah Stage for our masqueraders within a time frame that would have been safe and minimised the wait. Enduring a 4 hr wait with all the ‘unsafe’ incidents that usually take place during this period was not an option for our masqueraders.


This is a time for change, a time to improve and re-structure the management of our Trinidad Carnival. This incident highlights a major problem that Parade and Road Management teams struggle with every year – the fact that there is a “rat race” to the Savannah Stage every Carnival Tuesday morning, with several bands flouting the rules and assembling on the Official Parade Route creating a Carnival Band Gridlock! The problem is growing with the increased number of new bands, all trying to start as close to the Stage as possible. This massive convergence of bands in and around the Stage is a most serious concern for the Parade management and a huge disadvantage to those bands that start at their designated Start point  (TRIBE Started on Stanmore Ave.).

TRIBE’s Management wishes to assure you that we will continue to work towards creating the Ultimate Carnival Experience for you – the Ultimate Masquerader. We also wish to thank you for rallying with us despite the disappointment of not crossing the stage and transforming it into one of the greatest street parties throughout the streets of Port-of-Spain!

The TRIBE team thanks our wonderful masqueraders and the many members of the media (foreign and local) who left the Savannah stage to come to capture the Spirit of TRIBE on the road, a Spirit that will never be broken!


Still…The Ultimate Carnival Experience!

This was an excellent PR adjusted response that hit all the right notes, except a major one. Unless you’re offering a significant discount or add on for other masqueraders next year, this was all crap. Tribe will not offer this  because they don’t have to do it … the hordes will come again.

Dean Ackin and his team will continue to print money and the Tribe shitshow will continue to go on. They will continue to laugh at us.

I for one will not play with Tribe again. They won’t miss me and they won’t miss anyone else who doesn’t play with them next year, because Trinis are too fucking stupid to ever vote with their choice or their wallets. Tribe administration knows this … hopefully you know it also.

Moka Explosion 2012 – What can $1500 buy for you?

After all the Carnival festivities … it’s back to the rest of fetes for the Carnival season prior. As much as I might complain about the prices of this fete every year … it does guarantee a phenomenal all inclusive experience and is one of the two “Be Seen” fetes on Carnival Sunday (The other on being Brian Lara’s shindig).

In keeping with the price increases over the year … there were limited early bird tickets for $1000 but then that went up to $1200 and then $1300 … outside the door the scalpers started asking for $1500 for a ticket. That’s a lot of moolah for an afternoon out … approxmately $215 USD at local conversion. Remember what the price progression has been

  • 2004 : $300
  • 2005 : $400
  • 2006 : $600
  • 2006 : $750
  • 2008 : $800

Now this fete aside from being a very well organized but “posh” event … it’s also the only fete which I’ve developed a ridiculous but satisfying tradition – the tossing of the full glass of Johnny Walker Blue scotch.

It’s the only way I feel better about myself in the morning with these all inclusive fetes. There is no way that a human could derive any sort of value from these fetes … so my tradition of trying to dump at least 1/2 to a full bottle of Johnny Walker Blue makes me feel better about the world.

After the dunking of the JWB … then it was on to start eating. The food is the other highlight of this fete … no one really cares about seeing Kes the Band or whoever they can scare up to entertain the Indo-Trinis at this party. It’s about getting drunk, inappropriately “wining” on relatives and stuffing your guts till you’re ready to burst.

They changed up things this year with by moving the stage to a different area of the compound and creating an avenue styled experience where the local movers and shakers could expand their waistlines.

Here’s the video experience

This is also the only fete I know where you can openly sashay and chug bottles of Champagne

So there you have it for Moka … in a nutshell …

  • Great food
  • Awesome alcohol … although they charge for Dunhill cigarettes
  • Insipid, uninspired performances … because no one really care about Kes or whomever they get to entertain.

Ultimate Lime 2012 : Hyatt Regency Trinidad … Yet another “Be Seen” fete

Well typical overpriced fete …but well organized, good food and definitely unlimited drinks down the line. Now the definition of “Liming” in Trinidad, is really where a bunch of friends or family gather for a nice little intimate time together.

This was definitely not a small lime, when you think of the definition …

One of things I really couldn’t give two shits about is the which “psuedo – celebrities” are flown in for these events. For the fetes I want to go to, I want to know how much champagne and scotch I can throw away to ensure that at least they didn’t make money on my head.

From last nights fete … my throwaway count was the following

5 bottles of Champagne
1 bottle of Malbec
1 bottle of Grey Goose

For those of you, who are going to criticize me for throwing away perfectly good alcohol … my first and only response will be … when you pay for “Be Seen” fete, I will attempt to extract my personal value at any cost.

I do care a lot about what I’m eating and there was definitely a good sampling of food there. All the local favorites were there from the WildMeat, Gyros, Corn Soup …

To “gourmet doubles” … yeah seriously … they attempted to give m a doubles with Channa, Goat, Pulled Pork and Shrimp … but you know what? It was actually quite tasty … surprisingly!

As for the bars and service … those were excellent. The service speed, level and drinks flowed like water and there was no cutting back on liquor. In fact, at most times, there was too much liquor poured into your glasses.

The music was good, but to be quite fair, I really wasn’t taking the music on – which is unfair, since they had many artistes on the stages : Black Stalin, Iwer, Ronnie McIntosh. However a fete in Trinidad is not a fete unless Machel comes on!

So all in all .. good time, good food, good liquor and I got my money’s worth … in tossing enough Champagne for a good face wash with some fresh dessert! I do think that could have offered a small map to find things … it took a while to explore things and find the high end stuff … and stupidly I lined up once for Grey Goose vodka … for 5 mins, when on the side bars, you didn’t have to line up at all … I won’t make that mistake again.

Passing time at De Rock Beach Bar on Accra Beach in Barbados

Anytime I’m in Barbados for a quick one nighter, I’m always stopping in at De Rock Beach Bar in Bridgetown after walking down the boardwalk … just before sunset.

It’s at the end of the Hastings Boardwalk at Accra Beach. De Rock Beach Bar is a tiny little bar but she does serve up some food or more importantly will have someone bring over some food for you.

There are a couple of little beach shacks around the beach too like Miss P’s and Oasis Beach Bar

But I only head over to De Rock … Patricia and Earl are great and will introduce you to all the people, expect to meet friends here year after year and to meet up with your new friends all over the island and back home…you’ll have a drink and a laugh with people from all over the world. Patricia has been nominated for many awards from the Barbados Tourist Authority.

8 types of travellers that I’ve seen in the airport

As a frequent flyer, I spend a LOT of time in airports. Travelling is cool when you actually get somewhere, but the process of actually getting to where you want to be, can be a mind blowingly frustrating or boring experience. So I have a great game you can play when you’re stuck in the airport with nothing to do because of crappy weather in <Insert your large airport of choice> you have very few things to choose from unless you’re in Hong Kong or Heathrow.

From my gazillions of hours spent in airports, I’ve found 6 types of people who are roaming the airports.

  1. Broke and/or stranded traveller
    The funny thing is that there are actually travel bloggers who sleep in airports to save money on a hotel. Good for them! They think that suffering travel martyrdom by sleeping on a disgusting, filthy, shitty airport floor gives them travel cred … then good for them. There’s even websites that can help with sleeping in an airport. There are some pros and cons to this … and hence these people’s madness
    • Pros of Sleeping in Airports
      • It’s free. NUFF SAID
      • It’s quick and no transfer/travel time to the airport. You don’t have to transfer buses and metros, since you’re sleeping at the gate bitch!
      • There’s places to find food, gadgets and magazines. You can eat, read and surf on your phone all day while waiting on the dirty carpets/floors.. There are multiple restaurants and shopping arcades at most airports. Some even have fitness rooms, salons and spa services.
    • Cons of Sleeping in Airports
      • No Comfort : Have you tried sleeping on a park bench or an airport chair.
      • There’s no realsecurity … sleeping in a public place has its risks. You shouldn’t attempt this if you have kids … if you can’t pay for a hotel for your kids, then you should head immediately for sterilization.
      • If you’re in a small country or the Caribbean … not all airports are open 24 hours. Some smaller airports close for the night after the last flight arrives. God help you if you’re in Vietnam and you get kicked out of the aiport at 2 a.m., you might have to sell your soul to find a taxi that won’t rape you on price.
  2. The Veteran Business Traveller (VBT)
    Since I’m a business traveller, this is the type of traveller I see more often than not and I’ve noticed two sub species of them
      • The first type travel with a briefcase and a newspaper only
      • The second type travel with an overnight case.
    • When a flight is delayed, trying to find a working spot in one of the executive lounges can be like an obstacle course. The front desk counter staff also become nasty Nazi types … god forbid that flights be delayed and you bring in a guest into the lounge with you.
    • Business travellers generally act like  they’ve never left the office. Headphones plugged into iPhone or Blackberries running conference calls, while typing emails and ignoring everyone around them while they are always too loud and generally annoying everyone else around them. They’re always in a suit, which annoys me because it is counter intuitive. Wearing a suit gets you perceptually better treatment (front desk staff will attempt to listen to you), wearing a suit is the mark of the neophyte business traveller. The more clothes you wear, the more you have take off to get through a line.
  3. Hippy backpacker traveller
    You know the type … typically douchy male wearing a sarong and some white chick looking like a “pastafarian”. God I hate this type of traveller … I think I hate them more than dairy, which I hate a lot. They think that suffering and being poor for the sake of experience maks them better than the VBT. They’re typically associated with the Broke/Stranded traveller. This type of traveller can be found in sarong and headphones sipping on fair trade tea trying not stroke their balls. They go out of the way to look blase about being in an airport, because it’s a necessary evil on their self actualization journey. God I hate them hard! Ironically, you’ll see one of these pulling out a iPhone to text their friends or facebook, even though they’ve made a vow of poverty by studying Latin or English Literature or other useless shit in university.
  4. Wide eyed, Overexcited Traveller (WOT)
    They’re so excited to be out of the house and going somewhere different that they will take a picture of everything, up to the shit they took in the airport toilet, since it will be part of the slideshow that they post on facebook, to their friends who will be jealous of them.To  be fair, it’s rather nice to be excited about travelling and maybe I’m a little jaded with all these miles on the road. The problem is when I’m stuck being these people, and for some reason I just happen to always be stuck behind or around the Asian Overexcited travellerThis sub species is even more annoying, since they have group travel traits.If you’re ever been around an asian tour bus that drops everyone off for the same pictures etc, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you have 500 photos of air planes parked at the airport gate you are an Overexcited Traveller.
  5. The Gift Shop Traveller
    Walk into duty free and you will probably see these traveller with tons of bags. You can be sure that they’re going to buy tons of useless souvenirs and knick knacks to remember every moment of their trip. I’ve almost always found that these travellers are couples Like the overexcited traveller these travellers will always have a partner.
  6. Can’t travel without my posse travellers
    Typically, this is a sports team or family reunion or bachelor/bachelorette party type situation. They’re all wearing the same outfit, with different names and all within a pack at the airport. I generally like this type of traveller, since they’re wide eyed and bushy tailed about being with their people and there is always an alpha dog that project manages the entire affair so that the group is controlled. This is not to be confused ever with an Asian tour delegation …
  7. Technocratic power seeker traveller (TPS)
    You know this type of traveller. They’re going to be on the ground or a chair, next to a plug/socket/wall outlet. They will have 12 devices hooked up to a USB hub to ensure max connectivity and WiFi access. I’m VERY VERY guilty of being this type of traveller. I make hotel choices based on WiFi speed.TPS travellers are like drug addicts, especially if they are not also business travellers (since all lounges have free WiFi). You will see many TPS travellers just outside the doors of business lounges, since they are trying to tap into that precious supply of free reliable internet.  I’ve skipped out on food and drink (but never the use of a bathroom – since I can check facebook on the throne) and so do other TPS travellers, so they can update facebook and twitter with their rants about how airport, airlines, airline food and lack of airline WiFi sucks.
  8. Super New Anxious Traveller (SNAT)
    They check everything. What time the plane is? The distance to the airport? Weather conditions. Economic reports? Donkey killing rate in Laos? You want a weird negative fact about a place  and these types of traveller will give it to you. If you ask them if they’ve actually been to the country that they’re afraid of, they will create a diversion … Ninja Smoke Bomb or impromptu earthquake … anything to avoid actually answering that question.

American Express has a great tool to find out more about the type of trips you can take, you should try taking the Nextpedition survey to find what type of traveller you are : http://www.nextpedition.com/travel-profiler/quiz.

I had the following profile

  • GastronautSM

    Everybody loves to travel with a Gastronaut. Whether regaling your mates with tales of yesteryear over a pint or just mulling over a snifter of brandy by the fire, you’re always good company. And, with an insatiable appetite for history, you bring more to the dinner party than snappy threads and a bottle of vino. You bring tasty lore and witty repartee.

  • HistocratSM

    Oh great and wise, wandering Histocrat. When others can’t remember the name of that guy, who did that thing, on that date, you do. Because you know all. And, are determined to have been everywhere. You’ve been to the ancient city and studied the forbidden scrolls. You dominate trivia. Intimidate professors. You even know where to get the best sushi. And, if you don’t, your smartphone does.

  • TechnologianSM

    Can you hear the world beckoning, Technologian? Is it the wind or the call of the wild inviting you to frolic with the other woodland creatures? But, first you must find them. Grab your GPS. Don your kinetic-powered, moisture-wicking threads. And, go forth to play amongst the ancient pines with your high-tech toys.

Every man should pack the following 9 items for Trinidad Carnival …

As I typed the title of this post, I do know that it sounds slightly off … and no this post is not about packing men into your bags (Ladies or gentlemen) …

The most popular question I’ve gotten from friends and strangers alike for Carnival is “What to wear?”

I’m only going to answer this from the male perspective, since the female perspective of this question could span volumes and frankly I don’t have time to waste. As a man, I’ve learned that not packing the appropriate gear and amenities for Carnival will leave you miserable and inconvenienced … and more importantly, you will have to waste time wading through the abyss of Trinidadian traffic conditions and malls!

For a 5-7 day Carnival trip to Trinidad, every man should pack the following 7 items.

  1. Sunscreen (One with high SPF and a spray on version)
    Sunscreen is the single most importation preparation for Carnival days, especially forfairer skinned people who aren’t accustomed to spending long periods in the sun.The sun can beat down on your skin and leave you red as a lobster. It’s amazing how many men will not pack sunscreen (including myself … I’ve learned many a lesson from bad sunburn and heat rashes). Make sure that your spray on sunscreen is tearless … nothing is worse than a burning sensation in your eyes from too much sunscreen.
    Here is an example of not applying sunscreen to your head and wearing your carnival costume.
  2. Aloe Vera gel
    You will get sunburnt chipping in the daylight. The Aloe Vera will help heal and cool your skin.
  3. One bottle of your very best cologne (Just One bottle!)
    Women in Trinidad like their men or all men “smellin’ sweet”. If you hope to pick up, wear some great cologne. Good cologne is expensive in Trinidad and women can smell the difference.
  4. Two of your best disposable razors
    Don’t attempt shopping for disposable razors in Trinidad. They’re expensive and there is no selection. Take along your own shaving cream and not that Gillette gel crap.
  5. Camelbak
    Seriously. Although your costume and band will come with all included drinks, nothing says friendly more than single malt scotch from your own personal stock. I’ve always wanted to play mas with a Camelbak … also you could always have cold water in it and not have to brave the lines at your truck. Here is the version I’m getting … It’s also phenomenal for a cooler fete!
  6. Compact toiletry kit with a dependable Swiss Army Knife
    • You should have some band aids for the road. Always great for helping out the females.
    • Your Swiss Army knife can help any fashion emergency, open bottles and cut most things or people. (Nuff said there)
    • Wet Wipes. Seriously! You’re going to have to use a toilet and it will probably be one of the mobile toilet stalls. You don’t want to be sitting on that .. with your bare skin. Take a pack and you will thank me forever.
  7. Unlocked Cellphone
    You will need a cellphone with a local SIM Card. You can get these in the airport. Phone rates are cheap and will save you tons on roaming. Additionally, no local person will call your foreign number.
  8. Great Shoes
    Do NOT cheap out on your shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking and chipping (Trini Speak for half dancing and half walking … it’s the standard, shuffling dance step of Carnival.) Get great shoes that fit right and won’t cause blisters. Blisters are the bane of every Carnival feter. Nothing is worse and bothersome than a blister on Carnival Tuesday. NOTHING!!! If you can match your shoes to your costume, even better.
  9. Condoms
    Be safe, don’t come home with any souvenirs from Trinidad unless it’s KFC or a bottle of pepper sauce. Also you will never find the brand you like in Trinidad or more importantly, when you need them.

Bonus Item:

  1. Sewing Kit
    There should always be one person in the crew, that has some extra stuff like this. Some bands, like Tribe, have personnel on site when you pick up your costume, who will make alterations free of charge. Not all Carnival bands offer this service; it’s advisable therefore, to travel with a small sewing kit, fabric glue, extra Velcro, safety pins and pair of extra shoelaces to make your own adjustments, if required.