i was relieved to learn that i had not miss the pride parade this year. it's the boston parade to go to for the most fun and the best photo ops. this morning i met bruce at home (jack didn't want to come) and we caught the subway into boston, picking up ed along the way at the central square station. we got off at charles/mgh and walked through the boston common, taking a bathroom detour at the four seasons hotel (bruce and i stole napkins that were thick enough to be towels), towards the south end, around the same spot we stood at last year. we got there early, about 40 minutes before the parade would actually arrive at where we were, and waited patiently as more spectators started showing up, along with some of ed's friends and joe. the weather was hot and humid, and i decided to wear long jeans, which in hindsight wasn't the best thing to have on for staying cool, but i just let my southeast asia training take over. this being my third pride parade, i knew what to expect: a motorcade of police vehicles, followed by the biker chicks then the biker boys, signalling the start of the procession with the loud revving of their motorcycle engines. behind them, the usual: politicians, church groups, gay-friendly communities, corporate sponsors, local businesses, and various GLBT organizations. everyone eagerly awaited RAMROD and MACHINE, usually the two best floats in the parade (best as defined by the loudest speakers blaring technodance music and the most number of scantily-clad dancing gay men throwing confetti and beads). finally, the arrival of the latin float (followed by the throngs of people dancing behind it) signaled the end of the procession.

we went to the boston public library to have some lunch in the courtyard. later we took a look at the restored triumph of religion murals, painted by john singer sargent (between 1890-1919), on the third floor of the library. bruce was awestrucked that he never noticed how beautiful the library interior was, and said he'd come back at a later date to more carefully appreciate the paintings. while ed and joe went shoe shopping, bruce and i walked to park street and caught the subway back to cambridge. pretty wedding couples could be seen at boston common getting their photos taken.

my self-sent postcard from myanmar arrived in the mail today. i wasn't sure if it'd ever show up, figuring things like postcards aren't high priority burmese mail items. i fell asleep for an hour while watching the red sox-cubs game. wasn't worth watching anyway, red sox ended up losing. i woke up and got ready for amanda to show up around 8pm.

amanda rawson, whom hasn't visited me since i first got my place almost 3 years ago, was briefly in town before embarking on a rare family outing to some tropical island. she was late due to some congestion on storrow drive, driving a car without any air-conditioning. we talked about her current situation and my recent trip, before she asked, "do you have your motorcycle here?" turns out she's never been on a motorcycle before and wanted to go for a ride, a ride into harvard square to get some bubble ice tea, something else she's never experienced before. while i gave her a helmet to wear and to get ready to go, i told her about all the dangers of motorcycling, standard disclaimer stuff before i take anyone on the bike. it didn't seem to scare her, and if anything, made her more excited.

amanda clutched me from behind as we rode into harvard square. her vice-like arms wrapped around my midsection (amandaconda-like), our helmets occasionally clinking whenever i accelerated. i took her to lollicup, which to my surprise and horror is now a boston tea stop. i've been to the boston tea stop before, when it was above the chili's restaurant (is that even still there?), and i wasn't impressed by their selection, nor was i happy with my bubble ice tea. fortunately, tonight, they did a better job (we both had the thai bubble ice tea). amanda and i walked to au bon pain and sat on the stone ledge, briefly accosted by a young man begging for money "to buy beer" and chastised us for not sparing any change but more than willing to pay for our own drinks. we drank our tea and watched the various harvard square denizens walking around.

later we walked around harvard square a bit, then got back on the bike. "can we go the long way home?" amanda asked. so i took her onto memorial drive, my old commuting route, with the scenic boston skyline shining across the charles river. we crossed the longfellow bridge, before i turned around for an encore trip down memorial drive. we made it back to my place, chatted some more, gave her some presents that i got from southeast asia, before she left for an early wake-up to go on her trip.

i realized originally we got together to have dinner, but neither of us ended up eating anything. i went into the fridge and toaster ovened a french bread pizza, eating it while watching 4400 on television. a loud whistle and a pop made me look outside: somebody exploded a firecracker near my motorcycle, a cloud of smoke rising near the bike. ah neighbors!