• Amanda Kenise

THE LONDON AND NOTTING HILL EXPERIENCE


As I returned to London, memories of past visits flood my mind, and I'm immediately pumped! No matter who I was with or when I decided to go, London always provided a good time and this time was no different.

Sigh... If only I could afford to live there.

Anywho, my purpose of returning was to attend the Notting Hill Carnival. Notting Hill Carnival, similar to Caribana in Toronto, is a two-day Caribbean street festival. Considered one of Europe's largest street festivals, you'd find millions of people coming to enjoy London's Caribbean community's culture through music, bands, and food.

The carnival was the talk of the town. From people I met on a bar crawl to store clerks at a local grocery store, everyone was counting down to Carnival. Learning that the first day of the carnival is considered Family Day, I decided to explore some of surrounding neighborhoods. Exploring led to making new friends and invites to some awesome carnival parties. That alone led to a night full of laughs, drinks and salsa dancing.

The day had finally come! The Grand Finale of Carnival! Following the crowds of Caribbean flags led me right to the parade where I joined the people in bright, beautiful costumes following behind the music blaring from the speakers. Ready to participate in the fun here's my take on the bands, food, and music.

Bands

I've always wanted to play mas, but the way my body's set up... let's just say I'm not as confident as the others. As you follow the bands, you are surrounded by the beautiful colors and outfits of good-looking men and women celebrating a culture as they shake their bum- bum to the beat. Can't get too wild now because there are judges. They let that be known at the end of the parade as people got in position and all extras were pushed to the sidelines or the back.

You can't help but want to catch that beat right quick as you travel along with the masses. It also doesn't help when they grab you to join in the fun as you get lost amongst the crowd. Oh and don't let the alcohol kick into overdrive because a new person is born to the sounds of the bands.

Food

Your nose becomes overwhelmed with the fantastic aroma that comes from every tent. You'll find everything from the Caribbean to African to even Indian. Don't even know where to stop because you want it all but I was forced to go to the only tent that took a card. I never understood the importance of cash until I didn't have any and that's all they took. The food was good, but limited on choices meant I missed out on some good food. Devouring my jerk chicken and rice and peas on the curb of the busy street, I took note to have cash next time.

Music-Concert and DJs

I'm used to the DJs setting up in a random spot playing music to make you want to dance, but a concert? Singing Amy Winehouse at the top of my lungs, I eagerly waited for Lily Allen to perform some of her hits from back in the day. I was super excited because I used to love her and I always wanted to see a concert in another country. Can we say double WINNING!!! That was until the little teenie boppers jumped in front of me, rolled up over five blunts, and started pushing. Yea, that's when I was quickly reminded myself of my age and clawed my way out the newly formed mosh pit. I was beginning to suffocate from the constant rotation and in dire need of fresh air. The contact was too real that I thought I was going to pass out. It sucks because I wanted to see Craig David perform. Oh well. Easily lost walking through the crowds I stumbled upon different DJs blasting music as people rejoice and rock to the beat.

Mission complete.

Thanks London for a great few days. Until next time.

London Love, XOXO


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