Washington, District of Columbia
April 23, 2002
Shortly after we met, Corey and I attended a local fair which was similar in some ways to community picnics that I went to while growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania. At least twenty small shacks selling conch salad, Caribbean beer and other local specialties surrounded a grassy square. Corey and I grabbed stools outside one and chatted with the proprietor as Corey ate his bowl of conch (remember, I don't eat seafood so I missed out on this delicacy!).
The centerpieces of the event were musical performances on the large bandstand in the middle of the grassy square. One of the bands Corey and I heard was fronted by a member of the Baha Men (of "Who Let the Dogs Out Fame") who quit just before the band hit it big. Ah, isn't that always the way?
The bands that performed were all Bahamian and so talented. We heard awesome reggae while we danced under a starry late November sky.
Another night, Corey picked me up and wouldn't say where we were going. At that point, I started to have flashbacks to news features about female tourists who disappeared in the Caribbean and weeks later were found decapitated in the dunes.
I didn't need to worry though. If Corey had told me where we were going - a parking lot - I'm sure I would have said "stop right there, buster!" and I would have missed out on another excellent night of music.
Once we arrived at the parking lot in question, just to the side of the bridge leading to Nassau from Paradise Island, I noticed a crowd gathering in the middle of the lot. There was a sense of excitement in the air as musicians tuned up. It was late, however local children were present and some came by to check me, clearly a tourist, out. I don't think many tourists found their way to where I found myself.
And where was that exactly? Junkanoo practice. The musicians were warming up for the big festival which takes place annually on Boxing Day (Dec. 26). Junkanoo is more than just music though - it's about the costumes, the dance, all aspects of culture. It was loud and fun and I hope to return for the festival one year.
If you'd like to learn more, check out Junkanoo info on the internethttp://www.geographia.com/bahamas/junkanoo.htm
From journal Thanksgiving in Paradise (sort of)