with the hurricane approaching boston, i was afraid they'd cancel the annual caribbean parade. what would a year be like if i can't ogle scantily-clad african-american ladies dancing to the deafening beat of soca? but the brunt of the storm wouldn't be until tomorrow sunday, so the show will still go on.

i finally learned my lesson in realizing the parade doesn't start until 1:00 at the earliest. i left the house sometime after 11:00, went to a dunkin' donuts to get some breakfast (blueberry muffin and an orange juice) before catching the train around 11:30. with rain coming this afternoon (the outer bands of hurricane irene), i didn't feel like getting soaked.

the sky was grey, the air warm and humid, but on the subway it was nice and air-conditioned. taking the orange line from downtown crossing in the direction of forest hills, i was revisiting all the stations i saw yesterday above ground when i was riding the southwest corridor: back bay, mass ave, ruggles, roxbury crossing, and finally jackson square. from there i walked to warren street, pass the parade staging area.

the weather wasn't that bad, and at one point the sun even came out. i began to have some regrets over not taking the bike, but at least i wasn't covered in sweat. and who knew what the weather would be like later in the afternoon? last year i brought my shanghai roommate, this year i was by myself, giving me more mobility.

i heard some people grumbling for the parade to get started soon, in order to avoid the rain. maybe the organizers had that in mind as well because the parade started right on time at 1:00. a convoy of politicians (nobody noteworthy, no mayor, no governor, not even sonia chang-diaz) kicked things off, followed by the costumed ladies accompanied by large speaker trucks.

normally i stand on the street corner, but there was a lot of congestion, with parade people bunching up while the flatbed trucks slowly maneuvered the corner. so i shifted tactics, shooting downhill from the length of warren avenue with the telephoto.

the smell of weed was pretty pervasive, and not the light stuff either, but the really pungent variety. at one point somebody even tried to sell me some, whispering something to me as they walked by. the police took a blind eye to the illicit smoking, although i never actually saw anyone toking up. one of the deejays was even teasing the police, making some pointed references to getting high.

photographers love an overcast because it eliminated harsh shadows that would happen on a sunny day. however, too much overcast and things get blurry because there's not enough light. that's what happened today. about 2:00 the sky went dark and suddenly the wind picked up. ladies were holding on to their headdresses to keep them from blowing off. i smelled rain before it fell, a few drops at first, then a drizzle, then a steady shower.

i would've preferred any kind of day that didn't include rain. even though it makes for some dramatic photos, camera equipment and rain just don't mix. it's hard holding an umbrella and a camera at the same time. even though i brought a rainsleeve for the camera, it's nothing more than a glorified plastic bag with a drawstring, and i'd still need to clean the water off the front of the lens. i take way less photos on rainy days than i do on sunny ones (still, i did manage to fill up my 4gb memory card today, 1000+ photos).

the speaker trucks were loud. whenever they passed by, i put a finger in my ear, which made it hard to take photos. when i saw a policeman wearing earplugs, that's when i remembered i had some in my bag. oh what a relief! earplugs actually made me a better photographer because i wasn't distracted by all the noises. it's as if the parade was on mute and all i had to do was walk around looking for interesting things to photograph.

with the parade winding down, i thought i could continue south on warren avenue to find the next nearest T station. the streets became less familiar so i decided it was safer if i just went back the usual way (a wise choice, continuing on warren avenue would've taken me in the wrong direction). by the time i got back to jackson square around 3:00, the rain had stopped.

i thought this year's boston parade was meh because of the rain. the good thing is cambridge holds its own carnival parade next month, so i'll have another chance to get some good photos.

all was normal until i crossed the longfellow bridge on the red line. i checked my watch to make sure it wasn't the evening yet, because the sky was dark again. coming out at porter square, i couldn't tell what the weather outside was like until i was riding up the final escalator. downpours. i unfurled my umbrella and stepped outside. clutching my bag and camera near my chest so they'd be least likely to get wet, i walked the 10 minutes it takes me to get home, braving sidewalks flooded with rain. i was completely soaked by the time i got back. if this was a taste of what's to come, we're in for a very bad sunday.

i called my father to let him know i was going to bike to belmont in the rain, that i would just bring a change of clothes. i was soaked anyway, wasn't that big a deal. but he was at the cafe and said he could just swing by and give me a ride home. so after i took a quick shower (on top of the one i already received), i got my ride to belmont.

my mother was out taking our relatives to do more shopping. when they returned to the cafe, my father left to meet them. i was watching storm coverage in my parents' bedroom and fell asleep. my mother returned home around 7:30, my father a short time later via bicycle. we had dinner, then later i got a ride back to cambridge.

i did something a little stupid tonight. i had a pending amazon.com order that i tried to cancel. the way amazon does their cancellations is by item, but i wanted to cancel everything, so i selected all items. minutes later i got an e-mail saying they were only able to cancel one of the items (a pair of bike toeclips and straps), which just happened to be the only thing i really wanted. to make matters worse, the revised order was less than $25 so they charged me a $6 shipping fee. doh!

(plenty more parade photos when i get around to it)