Monday, August 29, 2011
The Notting Hill Carnival is in its second day, and our walls are thumping with the bass line from music in the street below. I've come to the conclusion that the carnival isn't nearly as scary as our neighbors warned. I went out at lunchtime and wandered for about an hour, and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun -- there were food stalls serving jerk chicken and Red Stripe beer, and lots of drums, music and dancers in elaborate feathered costumes.
I shot this video from our bedroom window, so you could get a sense of what the carnival is like. And some long-time attendees said attendance is down this year!
Dave is not at all thrilled with the noise, and wasn't interested in exploring. Now we know to get out of town in future years!
In terms of danger, of course, things could change once it gets dark. The carnival is supposed to end at 7 p.m., but I'm not sure how even the huge numbers of police on duty could clear the streets of this many people. We'll see how it goes.
Alcohol will probably play a factor. It's one thing to have some Red Stripe, but I saw some people in the street quaffing straight from bottles of Jack Daniels. There's some hard-core drinking going on out there!
One difference I noticed between the carnival and similar events in the states: Crowd control, or the lack thereof. Here, there are no barriers along the parade route, so people can leap in and out of the parade's path and get photos taken with the dancers, for example. It's fun, but it definitely slows things down. The efficiency and safety experts (and lawyers) in America wouldn't stand for it!
(Photo: All the shops board up, but at least this one, the Village Bicycle, got into the spirit of things!)