Dunkerque: What happens at Carnaval stays at Carnaval?
After our Luxembourg trip, we took the train to Dunkerque for Carnaval:
We started walking around and the city itself is actually kind of colorful even without Carnaval:
We eventually made it to a square in search of food. We took our coats off and sat down outside in the sun for the first time in months; there was a bar blasting music and a man making gauffres that no one seemed to be buying.
We sat and people-watched for a while. There were tons of blackface costumes and later in the day, I even saw some Native American and Asian ones (just offending all the minorities I guess?):
We were eventually approached by a group of guys from Dunkerque who asked why we weren’t wearing costumes, and we explained that we were from out of town. One of them was wearing what looked like blackface, but I decided to be a little charitable and asked about their costumes (and was also thrown off by the blond wig and dress with the makeup…), and sure enough he said he was “Zulu.” I asked him why and he said something about it just being a “feeling” that he had. At some point I told him that something was offensive in the United States and he apologized (though I’m not sure that it was about the blackface specifically or something else). So not sure what the blackface was about, but according to my roommie all the cross-dressing was because when sailors returned from sea, they didn’t have any clothes to wear so they’d wear their wives’ clothes instead.
The Dunkerquois told us about a costume place down the street, so we went to check it out but it was closed, so we ended up improvising with some make-up I had in my bag.
After a while, the square started to fill up and a parade began through the streets:
We followed it for a while then bought some fries and basked in the sun some more before stopping by our square for my friend to grab a gauffre from the guy we’d been near all day. We then headed back to the train station (apparently at night, fish would be thrown from the belltower! However, trains tend to end early around here).