Saturday, July 5, 2008


It was a lovely Fourth of July.

I got up in time to go see the parade, though I did miss the first few floats.

HB is enormously fond of its parade; people start staking out their places as soon as they are allowed, using tape, chalk, and signs to mark their boundaries. Some folk bring big trucks with bleachers. All in all, it is quite a festive event and worth going to just for the people watching.

I'm not, myself, quite patient enough to sit through the two hundred and some floats; instead, I walk down the line taking pictures as I go. A lot of other people have the same idea, so what with the crowds and stopping to take pictures, it takes a good couple of hours to reach the pier.

There's a street market there this weekend, a much more blatantly commercial market than the usual one. Our usual market is full of handmade items and farm-fresh fruits, giving it an air of authenticity and innocence. The Fourth of July market, on the other hand, is replete with plastic, chock full of chemicals, free samples, and ads.

Actually, the free samples were quite disappointing this year. Starbucks was good and had quite a line waiting for their little cups of mint mocha. Then there was the usual energy drink, the same one, I think, that shows up every year. And there were folk from Sobe handing out something called "Life Water." It has ginseng (so the label says), bright orange food coloring, lots of sugar, and no apparent flavor beyond "Flat, sweet, and vaguely chemical." It was cold and free and the day was hot, and I still couldn't finish it; judging by the number of partly full bottles I saw in the trash cants (and, alas, left on the street), I wasn't the only one with that opinion.

In any case, the real fun is people watching, and there are scads of people to watch--see the pictures in previous posts, for example.

I got home in time for a late lunch, wrestled for a while with the Mage Trio aka the Troublesome Trio and enjoyed a lovely barbeque with the family.

Then came time for the real event of the day; fireworks! My sisters and I walked down to the pier to join hundreds of others waiting for the city show. We thought it was crowded when we got there, but by the time the show actually started, we knew what crowded really meant. There wasn't a bit of space left.

Well, not by American standards, anyway. As the one who's been in Mexico pointed out, there was still some space between people.

HB puts on a spectacular show, so it's no wonder the crowds come. I filled up my card before the grand finale, but the pictures should give some idea.

It's the first time I've taken pictures during a firworks show, and I found watching on-screen and real time simultaneously fascinating; the little frozen pictures on the camera catch moments that I don't notice while the fireworks are in full blaze and burst.

After the half hour show finished, we joined the slow but steady shuffle off the beach and down the road, gloating over our good fortune in living within walking distance. Foot traffic might have been moving slowly, but cars were not moving at all--not for many, many blocks.

It was a good night for a walk, too.

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