Besides being swamped with work and other not fun stuff, I’ve been having a serious case of writer’s block. When this happens, I usually sift through all my photos to find inspiration. Most times it works but this time it didn’t. You know what did? Staring at the ceiling. As a result, I decided to start a feature with some of my favorite hometown experiences.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good ceiling stare.
I have lived in a number of cities, and for the period I was in each city, I considered it home. However, there are two cities that hold significant sentimental value for me; Miami, Florida, and Calabar, Nigeria. These are the places where I’ve made some of my fondest memories.
Today’s hometown tourist post features the city I grew up in (Calabar, Nigeria) and one of its main attractions; the Christmas carnival.
Except for one year, I’ve watched every other carnival celebration in Calabar since it started. On one of these occasions, I was more than just a spectator. In 2009, dressed in bright yellow tops, matching shorts and coconut bras, some of us thought it’d be a good idea to be part of the parade. The outfit might have included headgear in the form of a pineapple but I can’t remember exactly. It was both fun and utterly exhausting!
At this point, going to the carnival has become a tradition for my family. We head out in the middle of the afternoon before the roads are completely inaccessible, park the car in a safe location and walk to find the best place to watch the parade. Typically the best spots (and the most crowded) are the ones closest to the judge’s points.
For most of the day, the streets are filled with loud music as the bands walk and dance around in costume, stopping at different places to give special performances in front of the judges. This is why you want to be close to the judge’s points.
The costumes are my favorite part of the entire thing; I love seeing the different colors liven up the otherwise gray city streets. Some of them are so elaborate, I wonder how people stay in them for hours on end.
At the end of the night, the bands congregate at the city’s stadium to perform a bit more before the winner is announced. Since this can go on till the late hours (around midnight), we usually watch or find out the results at home.
In its early days, the carnival was a well-organized spectacle to watch, but these days it’s deteriorated a bit in quality. However, being the fan that I am, I’m still hoping for a return to its glory days. Despite that, visitors from all over the world still flock to this small city, fill its hotels and crowd its narrow streets to experience the carnival.
Typically, Calabar is a peaceful, quiet town; but it comes alive during the festive period and my family and I revel in it.
Have any of you visited Calabar? Attended the carnival? Would you like to?. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!
Thank you for reading.
All photos shot on iPhone 6S+ and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Postscript: I’d love to know where you call home. Please leave a comment with the name of your hometown and something special about it.
same footprints, different sands