Monday, July 1, 2013
Musicians and vendors set up in the streets to sell their wares. Steel drum players were on every corner, people in colorful costumes danced in the streets to the calypso music. I wandered by them, taking everything in. The girls were beautiful, dressed in bright colorful dresses. One girl danced up to me and threw several beaded necklaces around my neck. She laughed as she pulled me into her dance, I tried to follow along, but she was too fast for me. I laughed and threw up my hands as I wandered over to where a vendor was cooking some kind of meat on a kabob. It smelled wonderful. I bought one, and stood to the side while I ate it. I love listening to the musical voices of the local people mixed in with the metallic sound of the steel drums. It sounds like a rhythmic, living song. A small parade of people wearing shiny masks danced by. They threw candy and more beads to the crowd as everyone cheered and yelled for more. After about a half hour I had twenty strands of beads around my neck.
As it grew later the streets became more and more tightly crammed with people and it got harder to get around. Normally the crowds would have bothered me, but I was too distracted by the Mocko Jumbies. I’d read earlier that the meaning comes from Moko, an African god, and Jumbi, which is a West Indian term for good spirits or ghosts, so they are "Good Gods" or "Good Spirits." They danced in the streets on high stilts and wore colorful costumes with masks. Their presence was said to be a blessing, to mock evil spirits and scare them away. I was fascinated by how well they could dance on their high stilts to the lively Calypso of the steel pan drums. As they danced they touched people’s hands and posed for pictures. One of them danced over to me and I held my hand up, but then froze. He was wearing a mask, but I knew those eyes. He was the taxi driver who gave me the necklace. He winked at me, but before I could say anything he danced away.