Trinidad Carnival is only a couple of weeks away - Soca mixes are on repeat, packing checklists are being reviewed, last few outfits & costume accessories being purchased and now it’s time to make sure the rookies don’t get left in a ditch, so here’s 5 basic Rookie Rules to live by while enjoying The Greatest Show On Earth & ensuring your 1st won’t be your last:

#1 - Pace – You are not a VET, so don’t try and keep pace with Trini’s as Machel says it’s “In We blood”. Trini’s know how to fete and fete and fete, you may think you do ....but you don’t.  A couple of NFL players came down talking about how they pop bottles in VIP all night & hell, they are elite athletes in top physical shape .....except by day 3 they were done done – couldn’t even make it through half of de road march.  So PACE yourself. We’re talking about pace on how many fetes you attempt to hit (as a rookie I don’t advise more than 2 per day), how much you drink, dancing – chippin & nice wuk up is very different from the 8 million dancehall moves you learned watching 90’s & 2000’s videos, leave dat at home & fellas ... if you think you strong and want to lift gyals over your shoulders all day and night good luck with your back brace and making it to/through de road march --- just enjoy a nice wine & you’ll be good.

#2 - Liquor is not de bess chaser for liquor – people will offer you shots (especially with all of the all-inclusive fetes .... I tellin yuh now – yuh gonna be done done too quick. A shot of Puncheon followed by a Stag is not going to help you stay on your feet or remember whatever epic fete you were in.  It’s a marathon not a sprint! I live by the 2 for 1 rule in while in Trinidad (because it's a marathon of fetes & it's hot) - for every 2 alcoholic drinks you have drink 1 bottle of water – when you’re doing this for 12+ hrs a day you can’t do it without rehydrating.  Remember, stick to your favorite drink ....mixing & matching all types of liquor will have you mashup bad bad (watching people do shots of puncheon, followed by Stags, then some celebratory glasses of champagne and then on to Johnnie’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion – you just can’t turn away but you know it’s not gonna end well.

#3 - Don't ask when Pahty Done – This is the fastest way to never be asked back/included in future. Pahty done when it done, no sooner.  If you came with a crew & you ain’t feelin de vibes yet, either cool out and trust in the natural evolution of a fete OR go make de vibes yourself.  If you're tired you have a few options: find a new wining partner who gives you life, suck it up, go for a bathroom break, go for another drink, find a wall to sit on or rest against ...but do not ask your friends if they are tired or ready to go.  **You only leave a fete early to head to another fete**

#4 - Emergency Money – Carry some emergency money just in case you get separated from your crew so you can get home and/or maybe make a stop for food – KFC, doubles, and roti are all like a five star meal after back to back fetes. Whether you put it in your shoe, your bra, or some secret pocket – make sure it’s somewhere it can’t just fall out, be accessed by someone else while you’re busy wining, etc. I’d advise $40-$50 US = $250-$300 TT

#5 - Muster Point – Always have a muster point & make it as consistent as possible because you WILL get separated from your crew at some point – like always front left of the stage of a fete. If you’re on de road the maybe it’s the back right corner of Truck 3 or back left corner of Truck 5 .... whatever it is be consistent so your crew can find you when phone batteries have long since died, phones get lost, or you walked off for some private time at a fete or on de road.  Even if you’re separated from your crew for several hours on de road you should determine a final muster point in advance of Carnival Monday & Tuesday based on the route of your band – whether a spot near the Savannah, Mandela Park, or a particular bar on de Avenue .... doesn’t matter, as it’s well lit & easily identifiable for all in your crew.

These are just 5 Rookie Rules to enjoy your 1st Trinidad Carnival, but if you’d like to ensure you really make this an epic experience you can pick up a copy of the Carnival Doctor’s Book:  & consult your veteran friends ....each will have something unique to add to the mix and help you be as prepared as possible to enjoy The Greatest Show On Earth!

Veterans, please add your suggestions below - let's make sure Rookies get to safely enjoy & remember their 1st Trinidad Carnival.

‘Til next time, Soca to De World
Jouvert Mike