The music, colors, energy, and food of yesterday's Notting Hill Carnival were incredible.
We arrived before noon and luckily got in a few hours of parade watching and relative calm before the crowds hit. And by crowds I mean nearly every Londoner between the ages of 16 and 30 coming to drink and dance the rest of the evening. I'm all for drinking and dancing but this was the kind of thing that you had to be mentally prepared for - we definitely were not. There were DJ stages set up on streets surrounding the parade route and by the time we were ready to leave, those areas were so packed that it took us an hour and a half to find a way out of the carnival zone! There were moments where I got a little freaked out...like "crap, we're the only sober people here!" while everyone around us carried forties or home-made cocktails in large water bottles. Drunkenness in England is a whole other story...
Craziness aside, it was great to get a taste of Carnival culture without traveling too far from home. Brazil is next ... I will definitely prepare for that :)
see more photos here