christmas in calabar


wow. another whirlwind carnival has drawn to a close. i got in to calabar last sunday in ample time for monday's festivities. was seated along marian road near the governor's stand by 11AM for the parade, set to begin at 2PM @ millennium park. according to one of my journalist friends, the governor cut the ribbon two hours behind schedule, and it was a couple more hours before the procession got down to where i was. it wasn't until 6:00PM, after the sun had already set, that the first band passed by.

calabar carnival is said to be the longest street parade on the continent. so long that the bands kept filing past us from 6PM until 10PM and, after completing the 12KM parade route, arrived at the stadium for the finale at 2AM. this year's theme was 'our strength and resilience: the bedrock of our future.' there were dramatizations of calabar's colonial history from slavery to independence; depictions of the state's natural resources, culture and tourism; and celebrations of the region's rich cultural diversity, interspersed with more dances, music, floats, and pageantry than i've ever seen in one place.

besides the parade, i caught shaggy, p-squared, duncan mighty, the mo' hits crew, and d'banj at the stadium; visited the calabar old residence museum; got palm wine and plantain at atinbo in akpabuyo; took a trip down to the bakassi peninsula; visited the marina resort and tinapa, both of which were oddly non-functional (ie, no power) during the pinnacle of tourism season; lost my flipcam (sigh); and ate a hot plate of yam and beans at my granny's house. have to say that it's the most fun i've ever had in calabar. i highly recommend this little fish spot on marian by old ikang road. there's a cameroonian woman there who roasts fresh tilapia and plantain with the most delicious pepper sauce. you eat with your hands and, when your done, wash it all down with a guinness stout. (just the thought makes me hungry. :)

not sure i'll make it down for carnival next year, but it's definitely worth the trip. read more here. --AL.

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  1. AL, in all these, you speak in the single person. Are you going to all these events around Naija by yourself?
    BTW, thanks for opening the window for us to have a view of your adventures. It's very much appreciated. Keep 'em coming.

  2. @nanasei: sometimes i have a posse and sometimes i fly solo, it just depends. calabar was definitely a posse! :)


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