rose parade 2011

whew, had great fun at the rose parade. was a very long combined new year eve and day. the good news is i’m not sick! the two poor sisters are as sick as dogs. i hope the kids enjoyed the show in super BRRR weather.

image found on google

rose parade is a tradition here in Pasadena. This year marks the 122nd event. People from other parts of the US travel long distance here to see it the 1st of every year. Typically, the “event” begins around noon on Dec 31st when people start occupying blocks on the sidewalks to reserve space. If you come a bit too late, you park yourself around small street corners. Then the waiting game starts in plunging temperature. Even though it’s Los Angeles, temperature can drop to below 10°C after sunset. That sounds quite warm except if you sit around killing time for 18 hours. Then at exactly 11pm on new year’s eve, the police blow the whistles, and madness breaks out. Everyone at once rushes to the street behind a taped blue line to claim front row seats. push and shove is not uncommon at street corners where the late people are trying to grab the same spot. I did this once with a friend visiting from Munich. everyone was rolling up sleeves ready for a fight (not me of course!) luckily no blood was drawn…

Then the night rolls in, you are very tired, cold, hungry, and the party has just begun. at midnight, horns, honking, screaming, hidden champagne, toasts, all merge into one deafening “noise”. the young people think they can pull an all nighter. it’s rowdy, it’s cold, you’re desperately trying to get some sleep on the freezing ground in some flimsy sleeping bags. finally around 3am, things settle down… then at 5.30am, the first wave of early risers buzzes up.

image found on google

By 6.30am, streams of people pour in from all small streets to fill up the spots that were claimed by their friends/family over night. The line to the portable toilets are getting longer and longer. finally, at 8am, the b-whatever bomb-stealth something flies above to signal the official start of the event.

It’s actually great fun to hang out when you have enough friends and energy. I did it once and that’s really enough! However, the last 2 years, I live right “on” the route of the event. 1 minute walking out the door and voila. A colleague left town for the holidays and gave me his 2-BR apartment key. Another colleague offered some space that would be reserved and guarded overnight by his group, all i have to do was to drop off a couple of chairs! Such opportunities don’t come by often, so i gathered 2 sisters with their 3 (quite) little kids (+ 2 husbands) to come to friend’s apartment the night before. It started out rough when we couldn’t turn on the heater. The original plan was to walk out and see the night light. These are really plans for the single people :-). with the kids, i quickly realized it’s not quite possible. We did drag them out for a short walk. the combined freezing temperature + dragging kids soon killed the mood, so we were all back inside after 1hr preparing for bed. on the way back to my flat, i stopped by the reserved spot to say “hi” to the colleague and dropped off a couple more stools. They needed someone to take the 6am-8am shift, and since the group had been sitting there guarding our spots for 12 hours and another 6 hours coming up before I was needed, it was the right thing to do to agree :-).

alarm sounded bright early on new year day, and a quick check on the temperature had me boiling up 2 bottles of tea+water, dressing in 4 top layers, 2 bottom, 2 socks + boots, hats, gloves, reinforcements for sisters, before heading out. the nice people lined up my chairs and stools directly in front row!! soo great! at 7.45am, 1 sister family showed up, and the little guy camped on my lap seeking warmth. so cute.

I didn’t quite realize this: the US is very big into military stuff, cowboys, (violent-typed) football, marching bands, cheer leaders, beauty pageant… of the total 47 or so groups, at least 3/4 of them must be those just mentioned. marching bands are great for the little kids. my nephew enjoyed the music quite a bit. My favorite this year are the pacman float and green band japan marching. also included below are a few photos from the parade. probably i’ll manage soon to put together a slideshow of the cool photos brother-in-law took (while i kept nephew busy).

china airline

i impressed!

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About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

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