Usually we get woken up in the morning by roosters. Yes, actual roosters. Cockadoodle doo! Yes!
Seriously, there are chickens and roosters all over the island, thousands of them, and from about 6 a.m. on there's this cacophony of crowing. The poultry don't belong to anyone, heck it's a rare day when there aren't a half a dozen of them in our yard. There are a couple of hens out back clucking right now. And the roosters don't just crow when the sun rises, they crow all damn day and sometimes at 2 in the morning.
But the roosters weren't the culprit this morning. Oh no. I wish it had been roosters. The roosters are nothing. We got woken this morning about 6:30 by the loudest music I've ever heard. And I've been to a few stadium rock concerts back in the day.
Think the loudest pickup truck stereo you've ever heard going Boom-da-da-Boom-da-da-BOOM!-da-da-BOOM!!! Now imagine someone parked that truck in your bedroom.
Turns out this morning was J'ourvert, part of Festival. Every Caribbean Island has its own festival, and St. Croix's is in the weeks before and just after Christmas. We're in the last week of Festival right now.
J'ouvert is the morning tramp - a tramp being when they put a band or a DJ on the back of a truck and drive slowly down the street with people dancing and bouncing in its wake all the way into town. They do several of them during Festival. And J'ouvert is the one they do in the morning. I don't know why, but there you go.
Now, understand that this Jouver't was forming up THREE BLOCKS from our house, and that tells you how loud the music was. It was fucking LOUD. About 8 million decibels, I'm thinking. Louder than a jet plane, that's for sure. I know this because a jet plane actually flew over our house while this was going on, altitude no more than a thousand feet as it descended towards the airport, and I didn't hear a damn thing. THAT'S how loud J'ouvert was. And it went on for about an hour before the truck got moving and they finally faded from our range of hearing.
And the good news is, they started late. They were supposed to start at 5 a.m., according to the schedule. Thank goodness for island time. Nothing starts at the advertised time, unless you're running late and then it's early.
And all that noise didn't wake the kids up.
I'm looking forward to (seriously, I'm looking forward to it) the Saturday Festival parade. It starts about five blocks from here, and it's sort of a super tramp (for those who like their '70s references musical. Get it? Super tramp, Super Tramp? Never mind.) Bands on trucks. People dancing down the street behind them. The winner is the band that gets the most people following its truck. They toss out T-shirts and CDs to get people following them. I've seen photos, and the street is just a mass of swaying, writhing bouncing dancingcelebratingfunhaving humanity. But it starts at the relatively decent hour of 10 a.m. And we'll be there, dancing.
In the Caribbean - you don't WATCH a parade. That's for wimps. You dance it.
UPDATE: A story on Tuesday's J'ouvert, including a photo that really gives a feeling for the event (click on the photo to make it big enough to see anything), is online at The St. Croix Source Web site. The Source is the online newspaper (a paper with no paper) that I work for. Judging from Bill's story, I must have several of the details wrong. I don't care. It looks like fun!