“Welcome to Trinidad & Tobago, and to the biggest party in the universe!” It was 1999 when Wendy Fitzwilliam unveiled her country to the world, and there’s no greater stage than Carnival Tuesday. It’s when Carnival crescendos, when the passion soars to its highest point on Trinidad (and levels off with survivors taking refuge on Tobago the following day) and when Harts truly unleashed the #UltravioletJungle.
J’Ouvert warnings were plentiful in advance: cover yourself in baby oil to make it easier to wash off everything else, be ready for every shred of clothing on you to be destroyed, pace yourself because it’s not even Carnival Monday yet.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 4 years since we met at Miss Universe in Moscow. Since then, Carey Ng and I have crossed paths in Shanghai, Milan and Miami, as well as twice in Kuala Lumpur as she took the Miss Universe Malaysia pageant to a new level. This time, I came back to Malaysia to join a crew of #MissUniverseAllStars for the ultimate pageant of them all: her wedding to celebrity footballer/restaurateur Roen Cian Nagapan.
I’m not really sure what we did when we arrived at Hart’s for the first time on Monday. If J’Ouvert was streaks and splotches of mud and paint in the darkness, Hart’s Carnival was an explosion of brilliant color in the tropical daylight of Port-of-Spain. More than the chaos of J’Ouvert and the pageantry of Carnival Tuesday, however, I think it was the freest of the three days: pure, unplanned, undiluted joy.