Carnival Antigua: August 3-6 & Montserrat: August 6-9 2014 (Part I)

[Cross posted at Peter Marina’s blog]

Montserrat must wait; it’s carnival time in Antigua. The boat leaves for Montserrat on Wednesday, the day after carnival. I found an affordable air-conditioned hotel in the middle of St. John’s in the heart of carnival festivities.

Sunday is J’ouvert, a celebration that consists primarily of loud “what did you say, huh, whaaaaaaaat?” carnival music, including soca and calypso, blaring on the streets and people grinding each other. Continue reading

Barbuda: July 30-August 3 2014

(Cross posted on on Peter Marina’s blog)

Fred, the blond-haired French woman who organizes the boat ride to Barbuda, took my money in exchange for a two-hour bumpy, crazy bumpy, puke your guts out, boat ride to the flat, near-deserted island of Barbuda (cost of ticket is $150 EC). Unlike boat rides to other Caribbean islands, one can barely spot Barbuda until close to the island. It is flat with no real docking area, marina, buildings, stores, tourist hustlers hustling, taxis, and skyline of any sort. It is just a flat, sandy rock with almost nothing on it. Continue reading

Notes & Reflections on Antigua & current events in the US (with a brief comment on killing black kids in ghettos)

(Cross posted on Peter Marina’s blog)

After spending the weekend in the Dominican Republic it was time to get back to work, back to Antigua, my home base for all of this extensive research.

It’s a mixed feeling, going back to Antigua. Antigua is in many ways an undesirable place to live. The unrelenting sun beats down hard on an island where running water is in short supply. Apparently, the government gave away the country’s water rights to a private corporation. That’s right, they privatized their water, an act that would cause revolutions in some countries (see Bolivia). Moreover, the government failed to use tax-payer money to pay the corporation. As a result, the corporations shut off the running water, only turning on at unpredictable times and usually only for moments at a time. In fact, Continue reading

St. Martin July 11-13 2014

(Cross posted at

The airplane roars just above Sunset Beach Bar where drinking beach dwellers photograph low-flying planes on their approach to an airstrip just feet away. St. Martin’s dual personality, Dutch on the south side and French on the north, give the island a distinct character and it’s just a few miles from the neighboring islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. I joined Reverend Nigel, or simply “Rev,” on the plane in St. Kitts that had just made its way from my adopted third home of Antigua. Continue reading

Traveling & Research in Dominica: June 18-21, 2014

(Cross posted at on Peter Marina’s blog)

Dominica (dom-eh-NEE-ca) immediately impresses as a volcanic island that does justice to the word awe. The rolling hills and towering mountains, thick rainforest and hot sulfur springs, the stunning waterfalls and bubbling lakes, and perhaps best of all, a Caribbean culture yet to be tainted from tourism, make this island stunning and magical. The plane circles the high mountains of the island making even seasoned flight commuters squirm in their seats at the thought of their airship landing – or crashing – into the mountains. The plane descends unevenly into the mountains, somehow navigating in between them towards a tiny airstrip which looks like a thin piece of scotch tape.

Though the beauty of the island is flowing and flawless, ethnographically speaking, things fell apart immediately. Continue reading

Barbados, Summer 2014 – Notes: July 15 – 18

(Cross posted on

From New Orleans, the plane headed straight to the rolling hills of Barbados where Pastor Michael Alleng picked me up near the capital Bridgetown. Alleng heads Evening Light Pentecostal Church in Arch Hall, Barbados. He is a tall, lanky man standing at about six feet two inches and drives a green car. He travels frequently to other churches in Barbados, the Caribbean, and the United States, guest preaching at the churches of several leaders he knows through PAWI (Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies). For example, Continue reading