if there was a way to reintroduce me to the american diversity after 2 months of chinese uniformity, then attending the boston pride march this saturday would definitely be it.
i steamed a red dates zongzi for breakfast. video chatting with sunmeng, it went from friendly to hostile in a split second when i suggested that her mother could also get a job that pays RMB10k (like sunmeng and her father) and then her family could afford to buy 3 condos. she got angry that i mentioned how money much she and her father makes, something about thin walls and the jealous neighbors can hear everything. as a joke i spoke even louder, which made her explode. she said i was childish and that's the reason why i'm not married, plus i'm lazy that's why i can't find a job. also something about being naive and not understanding how the world works, especially about china. she said she needed to find a more mature boyfriend. later she deleted me from her qq account so i couldn't see her online anymore (although her final text to me was an e-mail address, in case i absolutely needed to get in touch with her). all i could think of during her tantrum was how just a minute ago everything was fine, and then suddenly it became relationship apocalypse. of course she's erased me from qq one other time before, then added me back a few days later. this time i don't really care.
this was my first time riding into boston since returning from china. the weather was overcast with enough chill in the air that i wore a long-sleeve henley shirt. forecast said possibility of rain in the late afternoon so i brought my umbrella (which i normally do anyway, being new england and all). i also wore my new bern helmet, curls of hair poking out from the edges. the helmet didn't get much use during the late winter early spring because the weather was still too cold, but now the perfect biking headgear heading into summer. i rode my dependable trek cargo bike.
i followed the same old route, until i got to the longfellow bridge. this 110 year old bridge has been under a state of repair since 2008. that was the year when they banned observers from standing on the bridge during our annual independence day celebration (that used to be the best spot to watch the show, with the hatch shell next to the bridge, a majestic view of the boston [back bay] skyline, and the fireworks over the charles river). beginning in 2013 they closed outbound traffic (towards cambridge) and soon shut down the pedestrian walkway on the southern side of the bridge, the side with one of the best views of boston. scheduled for completion this year, the work has been extended due to historical preservation reasons, and now won't be finished until the end of 2018, another 1-1/2 years. anyway, work has now shifted to the northern side of the bridge (the side facing the science museum), so i crossed the bridge on the southern side, which i haven't traveled across in ages. there is now a dedicated bike lane, which just means half the normal pedestrian sidewalk is reserved for bike use. due to the construction on the other side of the bridge, there's two-way traffic on a single sidewalk, which includes bicycles. the towers are still undergoing repairs, standing at various stages of restoration. it was nice being able to see boston again when crossing the longfellow; that used to be the highlight of any bike ride into the city.
i parked my bike on the corner of clarendon and columbus and waited across from the back bay T entrance. i walked down towards copley square for a few blocks before turning back around with the noontime start of the march approaching. there didn't seem to be as many people as last year which may be due to the weather (overcast with a chance of rain); plus last year was a watershed year, with the supreme court's decision to legalize gay marriages.
i was joined by an older man who arrived via bike. he was especially chatty, which i didn't mind, but i still prefer to shoot alone. abe was his name and he heads a theater group in boston. he used to march in the procession but decided to take a year off so he could watch from the sidelines (you can't really see the whole march when you're actively participating in it). he seemed to know everyone, and kept calling out people and running out to chat and hug them as they went by.
the march seemed to be especially long this year, with the final group passing by around 2:20pm. a lot of corporations (a lot of biomedical companies), a lot of church groups (seems like one for every town). at the midway point it began to rain. abe told me that rain only seems to hype up the marchers even more, as vehicles passed us by with damp streamers.
after it was all over i meandered my way to haymarket. the rain had stopped by that point. i used a shopping bag to cover my wet seat, but lining of my bike helmet was soaked as i put it back on my head. as many streets were still closed because of the march, it seemed like i had parts of the whole city all to myself.
this time of the year cherries are in season so i picked up some rainier cherries for just $1 a bag. they were of course haymarket-quality, which meant some were on the overripe side, but given the price, and the fact that i could eat several pounds of cherries in one sitting, it was definitely worth it. i also got: 6 plums ($1, later i found out they were sort of sour despite the deep color), a papaya ($3), asparagus ($1), cilantro ($1), and 2 boxes of strawberries ($1 each) for a total of just $10. i keep converting it into RMB, which comes out to RMB65. certain things - like vegetables - are super cheap in china, but things like cherries would most likely cost RMB40-60/lbs. so overall still much cheaper than china.
almost near home, i heard a group of girls behind me yelling, "happy pride!" i turned around to find a trio of ladies in rainbow beads riding in a car, must've been at the march as well. i turned to wave hello.
for dinner i ate the 3 alkaline water zongzi (碱水粽).