Trinidad & Tobago – The Cephalopuch

How Low Can You Go?

We’ve all taken a crack at shuffling under the limbo bar. In fact, the Sip Advisor is quite adept at the limbo, thanks to flexibility and willingness to do stupid things. Well, we have Trinidad and Tobago to thank for this dance style. Let’s take a closer look at the popular contest:

Limbo goes all the way back to the mid-1800’s. Before its days as a party contest, it was used at funerals and wakes under a more somber tone. To signify death turning into life, the bar was set at its lowest point, rising in progression. I don’t think this would work for the Sip Advisor, as I’m planning on having my entire celebration of life centered on TV show theme songs: The Price is Right, Family Feud, etc.

Invisible Limbo

The general rules of limbo has each competitor shuffle under the bar with their backs to the floor. If the bar is touched or the dancer falls backwards to the ground, they are eliminated. Once everyone has gone, the survivors move on to the next round, with the bar lowered a little for the next challenge. The process repeats until there is a lone winner.

Today, you can often see the limbo being contested at Caribbean and Hawaiian (although used to celebrate luaus, the limbo was not created in Hawaii as some people have falsely theorized) resorts and aboard cruise ships, with travelers taking turns to see who is the most limber vacationer. Some daredevil limbo lovers will even take their dance moves to the extreme, such as lighting the limbo bar on fire. Next up, the Sip Advisor’s razor and barbed wire challenges!

Julia Edwards (born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad) is known as the First Lady of Limbo. A celebrated limbo champion, her dance troupe helped spread the limbo across the globe, appearing in a number of films, as well as touring the world’s hotels, clubs, and restaurants, all for the expansion of the dance and its contests. After retiring from active dancing, Edwards stayed in the game as a choreographer. In 1991, she was awarded the Trinidad and Tobago Humming Bird Medal Gold for Culture.

Beware of Limbo Dancers

Limbo was actually popularized outside of the Caribbean by musician Chubby Checkers, thanks to his song, “Limbo Rock”, released in 1962. The track rose to #2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and popularized the question: “How low can you go!?” Other popular songs made specifically for limbo, include “Limbo” by Lord Tickler and the Calypsonians, “Limbo Break” by Brigo, and “Limbo” by Denzil Laing and the Wrigglers. Even David Hasselhoff entered the fray with his “Do the Limbo Dance”.

The World Record for limbo is an astonishingly short six inches. That’s right, the average penis size can be limbo’d under! The man who achieved the feat was no spring chicken and was, in fact, 55 years old. The women’s record was set by Shemika Charles (aka Limbo Queen), who passed under a bar only 8.5 inches off the ground. There have also been records set for performing the limbo wearing roller skates, including rolling under as many as 39 vehicles.

In the sci-fi cartoon Futurama, in the year 2980, limbo has become an Olympic sport. Jamaican national Hermes Conrad is a limbo enthusiast and competes in the event, which resembles hurdles, but instead of going over the bar, athletes have to go under. Hermes also applies his skills in other areas, such as using the limbo to get under a door and other obstacles that only have clear space at the bottom.

Trinidad & Tobago: The Cephalopuch

Cephalopuch Cocktail

  • 1 oz Kraken Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings

Some folks may debate which limbo is more painful… the one where you try to squeeze under a bar or the whole stuck between heaven and hell concept. To the Sip Advisor, this is a ‘pick your poison’ scenario and neither one is all that appealing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink wasn’t so bad. The flavours are all right, with Rum, Coconut, and Pineapple coming together. I still love garnishing a drink with Coconut Shavings because they look neat and are so fun to chew during the cocktail consumption.

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