I love Notting Hill. So much colour, independence, cool and the exciting atmosphere. So there is no surprise that the Carnival will add to those qualities! But now that the dust has settled and the cleaners have began Operation Garbage Ben-Nevis, I can only reflect on the things I learnt throughout the crazy two days.
Be warned, it contains urine.
#1 For the love of God, know the area – never mind the route.
My friend Dina came up with this scenario: what if a newbie tourist decided to explore Notting Hill without the knowledge that Carnival was taking place? The person walks into the middle of the parade, gets caught up in-between the trucks and the dancers and will be dancing non-stop until the carnival ends.
I’ve learnt that if you know the area well, you’ll know where to relax, know how to escape huge crowds and know where to eat. Mind you, I failed in all aspects despite walking around Notting Hill for 3/4 of my life. I’ve also learnt to never trust my own directional instincts. They fail.
#2 Plan your journey or you will lose £4 on your Oyster Card.
On Day #1 of Carnival, me and my friend had malfunctioning Oyster Cards. First of all, we tried to get the District Line at Notting Hill Gate after failing to get the Central Line at Holland Park. Much to our amusement, Notting Hill Gate station was exit-only, meaning we touched in for no reason thus draining £4.
To add insult to injury, the ticket barriers weren’t working at either stations so we had another unfinished journey. £4 drained….again….for Laura.
#3 If you’re as broke as I am, bring & eat your own food.
The joys of being unemployed! When you’ve only been given £15 to spend for two days, you know that it wouldn’t last a couple of hours. As expected, the Carnival meant premium food prices; £3 burgers, £2 candy floss, £1 for a can of Coke!? Er, I’ll stick with my cheap Tesco- reduced priced pasta, Milky Way Magic Stars and Frijj Chocolate-Mint Milkshake…which I didn’t drink because I dislike mint.
#4 Go with friends, enjoy and STAY CLOSE TOGETHER.
Because it is Carnival, anything goes and when anything goes, go with friends. That way, it is more acceptable to do crazy things such as playing explicit white music through a personal iPod player at a Caribbean rooted Carnival and risk getting strange looks.
With that said, I learnt to stay close together or you’ll be lost in the ‘Route of Doom’ or ‘The Route Where There’s Not As Much Doom as the Route of Doom’, as Dina put it.
#5 Be prepared to watch random people urinating on the streets….even women were doing it. *Shivers*
You really think I’m gonna put an image of that?
Er yeah, er, hm. I don’t even know where to begin here. I’m great at sun dodging but trying to dodge streams of urine is…er.
Oh, one ‘pyjama’d’ woman decided to take a whizz in front of us. We walked away. Far away.
‘Til next time,