Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Really, a year ago?

On any normal weekend, you can wander through the delightful streets of Notting Hill and come across great architecture, green commons, cute shops and a market full of every fruit, vegetable, and bakery needs as well as the antiques, gifts and a vast array of eclectic objects down the infamous Portabello Road. It really is like the movie Notting Hill, it has that beautiful romantic feeling to it, and you half expect Hugh to pop around the corner and say Hello.

Except, this isn't a normal weekend, and it was a year ago that I experienced this bank holiday weekend for the very first time.

My memories from the Notting Hill Carnival last year were quite spectacular, I have never seen so many beads, sequence, feathers, boobs and butts shaking it with everything they've got for so long. Parade after parade vehicle having colourful followers dancing and celebrating and living. It was truly freeing to see, and sometimes join in, with these woman and men who were loving the moment so incredibly much.

This year, again, the carnival did not disappoint. With a vast array of colours and people, woman letting it all hang out without a care in the world, and fathers dancing with their little girls, it was quite a sight to see. I joined in on the parade, danced my little heart out to DJ Chuckie (who was actually rather good) and had fun wandering the streets with a couple of great guys who joined in on all the action with me. We got high off the second hand wacky dacky smoke that filled the air and made memories that will last a life time.

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest carnival in all of Europe, filling streets with all types of music and food with a very strong African influence, but what I love most about the carnival, is that it doesn't matter who you are, what your background is and where you come from. Everyone can join in, party, have a great time and it be ok. You can be the token white girl celebrating and shaking your booty and no one thinks twice. You can be old and wrinkly and be playing the drums or trumpet or dancing like a mad man, and the young join in. There is no pretence here, no judging. It is probably the one and only weekend in London where you can really be you, no matter who you are, and no one cares, you can be fat with all of your muffin tops (and much, MUCH more) hanging out of your bikini and no one blinks an eye. Like I said it is very freeing.

Until, the riots start, and you get the heck out of there as fast as you can.

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