another end of august, another caribbean parade in boston (my 5th; past years: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009). i'd been talking about it for weeks with my roommate, so of course i had to bring her along. in hindsight maybe that wasn't the best idea, since it limited my mobility, but i still got a bunch of photos, which is all i really care about.

we headed into roxbury-dorchester via MBTA. my roommate did something i thought was kind of rude when we got on the subway: instead of chatting, she put on her earbuds and began listening to her mp3 player instead. we switched to the orange line at downtown crossing and got off at jackson square. i was here less than 2 weeks ago, for the dominican parade, so i was pretty familiar with the area. from there we walked to martin luther king boulevard.

the weather was perfect, a hot day with a clear blue sky. compared to last year though, when the parade was essentially rained out, anything was better. hopefully there'd also be less drama as well (besides the parade, last year i was also going to a wedding and i ended up crashing the motorcycle). my roommate did something else i thought was strange: instead of walking around a large crowd, she had a habit of walking straight through. maybe it's a china thing, where the locals are used to mobs of people and don't even notice them. caught up in the festivities, she ended up buying a jamaica flag necklace made up of translucent colored beads (she made the decision because she likes bob marley: "what country is he from?" she asked).

every year i fall into the same trap: the parade technically starts at noontime, but in all the years i've been coming, that's never happened before. i still come early though, partly because i forget the late start, partly because i like walking around and watching everyone getting ready. the parade officially kicked off after 1:00, when governor deval patrick showed up with his entourage to lead the parade after an orchestrated photo-op with local children and senior citizens. after the initial pass of local politicians (including disgraced boston city councilor chuck turner and daughter-of-astronaut sonia chang-diaz), the real parade began.

no matter where i moved, this tall man with a camera would stand right next to me. he talked on his cellphone with one hand while snapping photos with the other. i still managed to get my shots though, the only obstacle being the crowd of photographers who rush into the parade itself to get close-ups.

this year's parade felt like a flurry of feathers and boobs. maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's to make up for last year's lackluster performance. no live marching bands this year, but a surge in speaker trucks. there was a moving steel drum platform but nobody was playing when it passed by, to the disappointment of my roommate who'd never heard steel drums before.

the parade ended when the convoy of mud people went by, followed by the city cleaning crew. it's weird seeing how much trash gets produced after a parade, by both participants and spectators. from the procession there were the remnants of tattered feathers, strands of tinsels, and sparkles of glitter dust. in the sidelines, abandoned food cartons and empty beer and liquor bottles.

coming back home, we got off at harvard square. my roommate decided to take a detour and check out the nearby harvard comparative zoology museum now that she finally got her harvard id (with just 2 more weeks left before returning to china). i went home instead, changed out of my clothes, then left for belmont via motorcycle.

only my mother was home. my father was running late (supervising a roof repair), so my mother made some fried rice for dinner, spiced up with kimchi.