Carnaval in Mindelo

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Wed 13 Feb 2013 19:29
It's been one of those weeks.  Soon after getting back to Mindelo we met CA members Bob and Lin - on their yacht Ile Jeudi - and have enjoyed having their company here before they set off for Barbados.  We also met another Rival owner, Denis on Dee Rival.  The marina continues to be busy with yachts staying for a few days before leaving to cross the Atlantic.

We've been getting on with a few chores in advance of our own crossing, including repairing a leaking window and other minor plumbing and electrical work.  And, we've even had a visit from the Metropolitan Police regarding their continuing investigations into those behind our kidnapping. 

The build up to Carnaval (that's how it's spelt here) has also been great fun with a strong build up of expectation in the air.  The main event was on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon but there were parades of all kinds for days beforehand.  Every day the town was alive with the sounds of drums and whistles and cheering, people milling around in fancy dress, music blaring from here and there. 

On Monday we were introduced to the assistant Honorary Consul for the UK, a lovely lady called Isobel.  She and her partner Kevin told us where to go to get the best view of the evening parade.  We had to bag our place and wait over an hour for the parade but it was worth it - a fantastic spectacle lasting until the early hours.  After that there were noisy carnival parties that continued until dawn.  We slept through it all!

The evening parade - to whet our appetites and immunise our eardrums

Tom, an Irishman who's read our book, very kindly invited us to watch the afternoon parade from a balcony above his new cafe/restaurant called Simpatico.  All the balconies were full and even from above the atmosphere was wonderful.  The whole event defies description.  The photos can't do justice to the fun, happiness, noisiness and whackiness of it all.  Everyone loved it.  It's remarkable that a small community can achieve so much. You'll have to imagine the audio onslaught and we hope we've whittled down the pics enough not to bore you! . . . .

Nobody was sure when it was to start, the crowd was happy to wait  . . .

 . . .for the first splash of colour

Then someone raised the stakes - upward was the way to go

then the loud brigade turned up - but 'what's he doing dressed like that?

It's difficult to concentrate, and remember to smile

A delightful splash of lime - but the feet are already aching and costume failure is annoying

'Oi - you're supposed to be paying attention to the red group'

The blue team were testing a new conical ski

Ahem - take your eyes off those drummers, girls

'It's a grand view from up here.'

They keep on coming

'Can we get a drink up here?' . . .                                         'If you stare too long you'll be turned to stone too!'

Surely all those people can't be looking at Lynn Rival - she's on the right hand end of the nearest pontoon

At last - the lady in purple . . .                                     . . . but I'm not sure how to describe these chaps and chapesses

What's green and white and very loud?  I think it helps (the loudness) that they are incredibly well in time

let's not be restrained with the colours

And it's not just the youngsters who are proud of their small country

That was, we hope, a representative selection.  If you want the full experience you know where to come next Shrove Tuesday.