Imagine... Destra, Kes & Machel ... All On the same Island!
And we're not talking about Trinidad.... but CAYMAN ISLANDS!
Cayman Airways flight #109 touches down in Grand Cayman around 8:20pm on Thursday May 5th from Miami introducing Batabano virgin Dr. Ram Dass alongside 2nd timer P.S.I (Party Scene Investigation) Juice and myself as this year's TJJ cast.
A quick pit-stop across the street from the airport at Coconut Car Rentals to secure our rental, which by the way happened to be a left-hand side drive (like last year's rental). Yes folks, driving a left-hand drive vehicle on the left-hand side of the road is a really BIG thief head, especially when driving back and forth between the Caribbean and the US.
We were particularly excited about this year's Batabano for two (2) reasons. (1) The growing buzz about the carnival internationally bringing new visitors to the island AND (2) The massive lineup of entertainment. On both Thursday and Friday nights, there were two major events taking place. And though it would have ideally worked out for the better to see CRAZY (Masquerade Fete) and DESTRA (Bacchanal) perform at the same party on Thursday, the vibes at both events held its own and did in fact work.
On the Friday night, it was a Reggae vs Soca clash of the titans. But the scheduled timing by the promoters/Batabano committee worked out perfectly allowing us to head down to the Royal Watler Terminal early (5:00pm-11:00pm) to take in the soulful reggae sound of The Wailers for the very 1st time. Yes, the very same Wailers that have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide together with Bob Marley.
Managing to not get lost ... since all we really know is the stretch between Downtown George Town and our hotel ... we arrived at Swanky Mas Camp (Automotive Arts) in good timing for ONE 'THE CONCERT' which was featuring KES THE BAND as the headliner and Vincy's Skinny Fabulous (now a household name in Cayman Carnival). Now on Thursday night @ Bacchanal, it was nice to see Kees and his band liming and enjoying the vibes. So on Friday night, it was only fitting to see Destra do the same. And then I look to my left in the VIP section, and there's Machel Montano up in the mix. Well yes, DANCE IS NICE ... TWICE!
Two great nights, two great set of performances thus far. WE READY for D ROAD! Parade time is 3-6PM, so we had more than ample time to rest, eat and palance before hitting the road. As expected Swanky International was the biggest band (300+ masqueraders ... which is like a TRIBE in Cayman by comparison) copping the "Band of the Year" title once again. Swanky also won Best Individual ("Geronimo") and Spirit of Batabano ("Wild Wild West"). Congrats and keep up the great work Festa & team!
Both Cayman Bacchanal and LIME always represent well in numbers at the street parade, but it was Batabano Chairperson, Donna Myrie-Stephen, promotional "RoofTop" float that was most eye catching. We hope you're ankle injury is full recovered for 2012 Donna!
We Carnival lovers would still love to see the parade route extended, but for most people ... especially the timid and light-hearted that frown on the 12+ hours jump in T&T Carnival, Cayman Carnival jump up is PERFECT! And as Machel nicely put it ... "Besssssss".
Based on last year's experience, you don't have to ask twice where we were going to be come Sunday. Two words ... "RUM POINT"!! And with our expectations so high and plans not falling into place, it just wasn't the same fun as last year. We can safely say that the early bird does in fact catch the worm!! However, we will let you guys in on a little secret ... look out for an official Trini Jungle Juice "Cool Down" event in association with all of the big promoters come next Cayman Carnival Sunday. Truss.
With our usual 7:45am flight back to Miami on the Monday, we had to cut our lime short and miss out on Machel bubbling a pot of pelau (yeah, the man wanted to prove he can handle his stories in the kitchen) and some All Four's (when last? ) to tie up some business. Yeah, we at TJJ actually do have our priorities straight from time to time.
Gentle Peoples, this Carnival has LOADS OF POTENTIAL! And to echo my statement from last year's round-up, once all the local promoters & mas bands work hand in hand with the Cayman Carnival Batabano Committee for the Carnival week, Batabano will quickly become a huge success story on the international Carnival Calendar.
Special thanks to LIME for keeping my Cayman BB swag alive and to the Cayman Carnival Batabano Committee (Donna, Delfia, Laura) for working with us once again to allow the rest of the world to see the true "Spirit of Batabano"!
ps. Dannel & the entire Singh's Roti Shop family, thanks for the usual hospitality ... the roti was bess as always.
"You like to drink ... so do WE!"
Dre aka The Carnival Jumbie; and the 2011 TJJ Batabano
Catch our "You, TJJ and Carnival" Carnival show Every Tuesday from 9:30-10:30PM (Trinidad time) with repeats on Wednesdays at 10:00PM on T&T local channel WIN TV (Channels 37 and 39 on the UHF band and Channel 12 on cable service - view online/check schedule @ www.wintvworld.com).
"You, TJJ and Carnival" is now also airing through out the Caribbean on Caribvision (Flow ch. 31 in T&T - check schedule @ www.caribvision.tv) and in the US (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) on Cablevision (ch. 1104 - check schedule @ www.cablevision.com)
Don't worry .... all espisodes will be posted on our website (TJJ TV) so you can watch on repeat!
Want YOUR Carnival to be FEATURED on "You, TJJ and Carnival" TV show? Contact us today @ or call Stephen (302) 312-4611