It is carnival time in Aruba, for three days and nights the island party’s like it is going to be Lent on Wednesday.
Birds the world over had been denuded for the Oranjestad Parade. Their feathers were plucked from their soft bodies, dipped in brilliant dyes, and glued to the most spectacular headdresses I have ever seen.
For over three hours, costumes I have only dreamed off paraded a mere meter away from me.
I drooled over golden butt chains, white winged doves, bedazzled boots, one legged trousers, the signs of the zodiac realized in feathers, all- in- one dance tight jewel encrusted unitard things, and headdresses that would put a peacock tail to shame.
This was a PARADE. Old codgers sequined up to their toothless chins mixed in with total foxes and ugly ducklings. Grandmothers shimmied with drag queens; young women eager to use the parade, to parade were upstaged by fat men in tight satin.
Miss Aruba 2011 sat atop her very own custom made float, while the five runners up had to make do with sharing theirs. This certainly brought new life to the phrase, “the winner takes it all”.
As a veteran parader myself (in 1988 I was an elf in the Palmerston North Christmas Parade), I understood this was thirsty work.
They did too, as each flock of these bejeweled show ponies had there own mobile bar as a support crew.
Combine 30+ degree heat and non-breathable fabrics and you have a sure fire recipe for booze- a- rama group drunkenness. Samba, Shmamba – they were as in time as the Real Hot Bitches, and like the Bitches, what they lacked in technique they sure made up for in PASSION!
The 12 competing PA sound systems went right through you. I swear my heart started beating to the samba rhythm.
Us mere mortals on the sidelines, clapped and cheered and danced. And some people got arrested.Most families had set up camp the night before and had brought in portaloos, bbq’s, ice cold kegs, boom boxes and tiered seating!
Half way through I realized I was suffering from parade envy. I desperately wanted to shake my tail feather. I wanted to wear one of those flesh coloured yet tasteful unitards with appropriately placed golden butt chains.
But as a recently retired bitch, this was one time I had to suck it up and cheer from the side lines.
After all, you can’t fight your nature.