Tag Archives: Dance

Torn pants… A successful Oktoberfest 

The day at Oktoberfest can start as early as you’d like, but considering our morning in Hurry up and wait! we chose to enjoy the slow beginning and take our time. Plus, we planned on spending a majority of the day walking around the festival and soaking in the warm sun. For a past similar experiences, check out Oktoberfest, outside of the tents.

To start off, we headed for the main train station and walked from there (with the other few thousand). 

    
   
Arriving to the festival, you’d think you were at any other state fair or large amusement park.  With happy crowds of all ages, the sound of excited kids is barely heard over the screaming from the passengers strapped in to the sky high carnival rides. The smell is sweet at times of all the roasted nuts and candy coated treats. If you’re near the edges, the scent of bratwurst battle the air with fried chips and smoked fish.

     
This stubborn German (such a rare find – to be said in an exaggerated voice) said I could only take a photo of his “stein tower” if he was in it or I paid him.  Jokes aside, I got the pic. 

      
 
2 things about the next collage. 

#1. I love the sea of dirndls and lederhosen sitting so patiently waiting for the ride.

#2. I wonder if the graphics on the backdrop would be allowed in the United States. Just a thought.

   
 
Even our girls hopped on one! 

 
Check out these swings.  A single person or doubled up… I want to do both! 

   Not up for the stomach twisting tilt-a-whirls? Just hang out with the other thousand sitting by the famous Bavaria Statue.   All of the upside down activities not treating you well? Just look for the red cross balloon!  
After hours of wandering around, we decided for one last hoorah in a tent. Instead of the rowdy group, we went for an old fashioned tent with traditional dancing and locals that… lets say… this isn’t their first go round. 

     

   
  This was a first for all of us. Chairs up and last ones out of the building? I’m honored. 
 As you can imagine, leaving the festival provided a show for itself with stumbling toes, unrecognizable conversations (if you call them that) and plenty of smiles. I’ve been coming to this event for years and there never seems to be room for fights. I think that’s amazing considering the amount of adult beverages consumed in such a short time. Keep up the spirited energy! The bottom photo is Florian actaully passing out high-fives, well done my friend… Well done.
 Coolest photo of the night was snagged by Carina. Gorgeous!    
The final train ride home and a walk of fresh air was the perfect ending to our festivites. 
  
“Hayden, are your shorts torn”? Oktoberfest was a success!

 
I predict a solid night sleep ahead…

  

Question:

If you only got one day at Oktoberfest, would you choose an outside experience or a day inside the tents?

 

Dear Feathers… please move.

K-A-D-O-O-M-E-N-T (sounds like kuh-doo-ment): Is the grand finale parade that draws the ending to the week of Crop Over. Formerly called “Harvest Home”, Crop Over is a traditional festival in which celebrated the harvesting of the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. In 1688 it began with singing, dancing and music from shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. They had eating and drinking competitions as well as the popular event of climbing a greased pole! (Imagine that one in costume now days). Time to fast forward to the present…
Caution: The following post may have questionable content for all ages.  

Just like last year, we got the privilege of a hired bus (thank you Aldo and Jane, who I’ve officailly titled the Unofficial King and Queen of Kadooment) to pick us up and drive us to the beginning of the event. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize the other option is a controlled chaotic way of tucking and rolling from your ride as it swerves through the round-a-bout as it passes by the starting line. That might be a little exaggeration, but the bus… its prime!  

    Waiting at the beginning gives everyone time to greet friends, adjust costumes and make the decision if the stage is worth passing over this year. Confession: I crossed my first two years… then not again. For the fun of it, here’s what the stage looked like back when I made a run for it.  

 This year I decided to hang around and enjoy some quality conversation with friends. These lovely ladies are originally from Australia and now live in England after being in the Caribbean for sometime. I love it!  
 The winner of best Crop Over cup goes toooo… Aldo!   
My roomie, my homie… the one and only, Jason!  
Look who I found (or actually found me)! Dwayne is one of the first I connected with years ago. Here’s a collage of our kadooment days.   
Dark clouds and a cool breeze is an amazing break from the scorching sun however, around here just means water from the sky is coming soon! My favorite seen was this bunch huddled under the nearest tent trying to avoid a feather soaking.  

 

How did I dodge the free shower? Found a friend that was in a frontline costume (the elaborate one) and ducked under their tower of feathers. Ladies, I love the team work here! 
 Similar to J’ouvert, the real party starts when the soca music rolls through the crowd that has already huddled around the drink trucks (a mobile bar traveling at a walking pace serving only participants unlimited beverages of their choice). Like a herd of preschoolers being guided by the ice cream man, we start our way on the path celebrating what traditionaly is known as the grand finale to Crop Over.  
     

  
   

  

    
    
 It just keeps getting better! This bright eyed girl has caught my attention every year since we met. Sincere, independent and one-of-a-kind. Thanks for the smiles Katherine Ann!  

 A few more then and now comparisons!      

 Dear Feathers… Please move.
  
What parade would be complete without spectators lining the streets?

    
     

I saw these adorable kids on the side dancing along with us, so I went over and offerred my jewelry. The innocent smile at the end was well worth the small pause on this brilliant day.      
Watch out now, if you get too close you have the chances to becoming a part of the dance routine.    

 Leave it to Ryan to carry out the duty of including everyone… even when they don’t want to (although they really do). Check out the expressions on these faces when I zoomed in. Priceless!  

If you can’t find Ryan jumping around the crowd or grinding on an observer, just look up.  Often you’ll find him birds eye view with a smile.  Last year and this year I caught him!  
For the rest of us, just keep dancing!
   
 
I’ll end this post by highlighting the (my) official King and Queen of Kadooment.  Aldo and Jane, thank you for opening your home, your arms and your perfect pool for our Crop Over neeeds.  Your love doesn’t go unrecognized.  Much gratitude! 

 

Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

It’s been labeled “Photo Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or my favorite, “Urban Projection,”. This is when underground artists use huge structures, such as sky scrapers, to cast their own digitally animated images for display.

“Digital Graffiti” at Alys Beach is the first outdoor festival specifically organized to showcase these unique talents. It reminds me of the white walls in Malaysia that welcomed local artists to draw, paint and tag till their heart was content in a structured and encouraging environment.

For one night, this beach-town of white stucco buildings turns into a living gallery. A dark neighborhood is lit by pathways of colored lights and innovative artwork. The event coordinator explained it simply, “Our town literally becomes their blank canvas.”

Here’s a day time shot to give you an idea of the distinctive buildings that make up the famous Alys Beach.

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After the sun went down, the stimulating lights came on and the digital art was displayed for all the guests to view. If you’d like to see video of these photos in motion, go to www.digitalgraffiti.com.

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After observing the extraordinary art scattered about the neighborhood, we found ourselves at a dance party, otherwise known as my “happy place”. The Dj did a fine job keeping a crowd along side a chill Vegas-styled pool (that was extremely tempting as we all stood in the Florida humidity trying to look cute and pretend that you didn’t feel the sweat dripping down your back).

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A complimentary photo session invited friends to line up and pose for a picture that would probably be used later as friendly bribery and/or memorable laughing material.

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Before going on, I’d like to point out the gorgeous blonde in the photos from above. Julia Cole is an upcoming singer/songwriter that I met through Tyler (the gentleman in the post “Beaches, boats and ballads”). I highly suggest checking her out (my favorite song is “Sweetheart”) and let me confirm, her stunning looks match the remarkable voice that comes out of her sweet smile.

Julia, thank you so much for the pleasant path crossing, hopefully next time we’ll get more time! Cheers to you and the journey ahead.

Ok, so this is where my night goes from amazing to heartbreaking. Without boring you with the details, just know that at this point, my body signals the call it a night siren and I decide to head home. Enter sad pouty face here. Feeling like a 9 year old that gets sick at Disneyland, I exit the fantasy evening holding high hopes that I’ll get another opportunity to experience it to the fullest.

A special thanks to Tyler and Andrew for making this a possibility for me!

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Please note, many photos from above were borrowed from other sources.

An “Orbit Gum” commercial, Bajan style!

I’ve been lucky enough be inducted into the local scene of Carnival here on my favorite (yes I said it, favorite) island in the world, Barbados. Crop Over festival is the most popular and colorful event hosted here and I’m honored to be a part of it! Its origins can be traced back to the 1780’s, a time when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest, hence the name “Crop Over”.

With several different options for excitement, it’s in ones best interest to pick the favorites and go big! One of events I most look forward to is Jouvert, pronounced joo-veh -meaning “day break”. This coincides with the emancipation from slavery in 1838 when people smeared themselves with mud or paint to avoid being recognized while partying down the street late while the wealthy were sleeping.

The collage below is a splash of last years shinanugins. Click here and enjoy the mud and paint post from 2012!

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This year I’ve returned to visit my darling friends and of course partake in the high energy parade full of Calypso music, dancing, mud and paint! What a perfect combo for a welcoming party. Let the Foreday Morning Jam begin!

Step one – prep the shirt.

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Step two – Eat a solid dinner that will last you for the next 12 hours. We went with local fish, steamed veggies, beans and rice, sweet potato, garden salad and plantains.

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Step three – Get to the bus that shuttles you to the starting point and let the morning begin!

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If you recognize this fun gentleman, that’s because Ryan was my host last year as well. We met years ago and have maintained a connection while being oceans apart.

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This is what the crowd looks like as we all eagerly await the moving of the midnight launch.

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1:15am – A typical Bajan late start with no worries and all smiles!
With the motion of the drink trucks (a mobile bar that travels with the parade so that all participating remain hydrated with adult beverages), the shuffling of 10,000 excited participants start what is the next hours of dancing covering 3.5 km (a little over 2 miles).

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1:45 – Mud has been distributed ever so equally and gently amongst the… Yeh right! Mud and paint has started to fling, smear, fly and cover the crowd with the excitement gaining momentum. I could narrate the next set of photos, but I’ll just let them do all the talking!

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All righty, I’m assuming by now that you’ve got the point. There’s mud, there’s paint, there’s people and a whole abundance of white teeth!

As the sun starts to rise, we round the final corner where we can find the shower (a water truck unloading gallons of water through a fountain). This is also accompanied by breakfast which is fish or chicken sliders and corn soup.

We sit, eat, rinse and head home for a bed time of 8:30am.

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A quick shout out to an up and coming local photographer that clearly has a talent behind the camera. Here are a few energetic shots captured by Luke De Freitas. For more of his work, please check out his website at www.lukedefreitas.com

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Germany meets Folsom in Costa Rica

Meet Charles aka Chaps (and “Charl-les” if you’re in Central America). He is the most intelligent teddy bear that will keep you smiling until your cheeks crave a rest. This week brings him right into San Jose for work, which happens to be the exact city I’m picking up my next surprise guest! Here we are at my departure party back in 2011.

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And now we reunite in Costa Rica for a quick weekend of fun. Tonight is bowling with his colleagues. Yeh, I didn’t mention that I had done it before (sneaky giggle here).

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These guys invited me to take a tour in there home country of China. Is my journey about to take an unexpected detour? Maybe!

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This is a native adult treat that is created with an olive being soaked in the local liquor. It reminded me of black licorice that had been set on fire then put out with olive juice. As you can see, some went unfinished… but I’m glad I got to try it!

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The next morning brings a huge present that is being shipped to me all the way from Recklinghausen Germany… Carina! Here we were in 2010 at the famous celebration of Oktoberfest in Munich!

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This round is it’s all hot weather, new food and bikini based adventures!

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“Carina meet Chaps… Chaps, this is Carina”.

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We decided to take a day trip to Isla de la Tortuga with his colleagues to enjoy a day of more sun, food, and new friends! The bus ride departs at 6:30am in order to get us to the boat on time. Then the festivities begin!

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After an entertaining 90 minute boat ride full of dance music, cold drinks and fresh food, we arrive to the island which welcomes us with more music, local food and more cold beverages!

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Although when translated, it’s “Turtle Island”, we were graced with the presence of these fun animals!

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Having fun in the sun! (Do you remember writing that in the your school yearbooks?)

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The ferry ride back to our hotel is all smiles and brings our last photo with all three of us together. Chaps, you made the beginning of Carina’s trip even better than expected. We are still sinking about all of the memories! Thanks for everything and cheers till next time!

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