i would get there by bicycle, to avoid the crowded trains. i was expecting it to be warmer but temperature was at 37°F. normally when the weather drops below 40° i put on my thermal underwear but since i'd be biking and getting warm, i opted to go without. besides, the forecast said the temperature would increase into the upper 50's, however that's by this afternoon, long after the rally has finished.
i cycled into boston with about a dozen other cyclists. usually i was the last rider in the convoy, with my heavy utility bike and fat 26" mountain bike wheels. many seemed to be commuting into work. when i got into boston, i cut through boston common to get to the corner of boylston and tremont. the police had already blocked off and detoured much of the streets and put up metal barricades down both sides of the parade route. planning ahead, i was hoping to park my bike on the opposite side so i could make a quick exit to chinatown afterwards, but there was no way to get across so i locked the bike to a park lamp post instead.
you come early to a parade to get a good spot, especially if you want to get photos and not get a bunch of heads in your shots. already people had staked out claim along the barriers. i was hoping to find a single opening to squeeze through. i thought i found one in front of the masonic lodge, between an older man and some teenage girls. but i should've known it was already taken because the man had his arms outstretched and later i discovered he actually knew the teenagers, and mentioned to them about when somebody they knew was coming back. i decided to look elsewhere while there was time. i returned to the inner corner, which was currently still opened, but eventually would be barricaded up with a fresh front row real estate. i waited between 2 short and pudgy older ladies and a group of coeds. once it looked like the police gave the sign, we all rushed to the barricade, only to realize it was a false alarm, and went back to the curb. when the cops gave the eventual okay, everyone rushed in like a black friday frenzy. i got a spot, but one of the old ladies didn't, so i gave mine up for her, figuring i could still shoot over her head. later when the cops pushed back the barricade to make more room for the oncoming duck boats, that created just enough space for me to squeeze to the front.
by that point it was still 10:30am, another 1-1/2 hours of waiting at least. it was surprisingly cold and i put on my hat and zipped up my jacket. i also had an insulated container of hot tea which turned out to be a life saver, even though drinking so much risked having to go to the bathroom. i felt bad for some of the girls who didn't check the weather beforehand and weren't dressed warmly enough.
though i have been to many other boston sports parade (most recently 2017 for the patriots' 5th superbowl win), i haven't gone to a red sox parade since 2007, more than a decade ago. true, they won back in 2013, but i was in chongqing at the time.
were i stood was actually a great spot, right at the corner so i could have an opportunity to catch the convoy of duck boats twice. the weather was a grey which makes for perfect exposures, with no rain. it was however still a little dark and i raised by ISO to 1600, figuring i would sacrifice a little graininess for faster shutter speed and a sharper focus. across the street they were doing construction, so that stretch of sidewalk was closed off, meaning the players would naturally turn to look at us. however what i didn't anticipate was the crowd of construction workers who all suddenly stopped working to stand by the open windows to cheer on the oncoming boats. that was enough of a distraction that made a lot of players look towards them instead of us.
the construction guys kept everyone entertained by hanging out new makeshift banners made with spray paint and tarp. some of them were a little questionable, and they took them back down just as fast as they brought them out. banners with "yankees suck" or "la sux go sox" only made brief cameos before wiser head removed them. one guy had a "where's whitey" sign on a piece of cardboard that he only flashed for a few seconds. another construction worker seemed to want people to call him, flashing his phone number with hand gestures. it took the rowdy crowd a few tries before they finally got it.
the parade actually got here faster than i expected, close to noontime. we knew it was coming because we could hear the crowd of people further down the parade route cheering. the construction guys - since they were higher up - could also see them approaching and were already getting excited. overhead, helicopters circled the sky. first to arrive were the confetti trucks, blasting everyone with colorful strips of tissue paper. that was followed by a flatbed truck with the dropkick murphy's playing onboard. the duck boats were next, bringing the players. i forgot the boats were labeled with who's onboard, makes for less guess work.
on the boat john henry (red sox co-owner) was on, i spotted pedro martinez hoisting one of the world series trophies. at first i was confused, but it seems fitting that one of boston's world series heroes and favorite player would be in charge of the trophy his team won back in 2004. the boat also carried david ortiz whom i didn't see, as well as henry's much younger and very attractive wife linda pizzuti.
i came to realize pretty quickly that despite the fact that i had a great spot, i wouldn't be able to see any players standing on the other side of the duck boat. so i didn't see david price, or alex cora, or chris sale, or MVP steve pearce, or benintendi (was he even there?), or eovaldi. however, i did see some others: dustin pedroia, jackie bradley jr, rick porcello, mooke betts, joe kelly, and eduardo nuñez. i even saw jerry remy.
it took a little over 10 minutes for the convoy to go by us, but it felt like a long time. as the crowd started to disassemble, i made my way to my bike, happy to see it was still there, surprised that nobody threw trash into my rear baskets. it took me longer to get across bolyston street than it did to actually watch the parade. the barricades were still up but the police had created gaps for people to pass through. the easier way to chinatown was just to cross tremont, but that seemed like an impossibility with all the crowds, so i went in the opposite direction, to charles street, then onto stuart to kneeland.
hungry, i got lunch first, even though i wouldn't be eating it there but instead bringing it back home. to went to the vietnamese sandwich shop on washington street to get a sandwich ($4.50) and a grilled chicken on rice combo platter ($5). i then went next door to jiaohe supermarket to check for the items my 2nd aunt wanted to me buy: prime food brand pork & cabbage dumplings with mushrooms (嘉嘉香菇豬肉水餃), shirakiku brand dashi-iri awase miso (だし入り合わせ味噌), and sinbo brand rice sticks (仙寶牌肇慶排米粉). i found everything there but the rice sticks, so decided to go elsewhere, also because i had a feeling that prices at jiaohe are not as cheap as some other asian supermarkets.
i biked to the super 88 at washington and herald, on the other side of the turnpike (more south end than chinatown). they had the frozen dumplings i wanted so i decided to buy the rest of the stuff here. they also had the rice sticks, but what they didn't have was the awase miso (they only carried red or white). i paid for my things and went further up washington street to ming's market (at east berkeley street). i was there just to see if they had the miso i wanted which they didn't. i left with a a small japanese kabaocha squash (thinking about making some fried tempura later in the week).
so i had no choice but to return to jiaohe supermarket. by then i was already carrying a bunch of groceries. i went into jiaohe, grabbed the awase miso, then paid. only then was i finally able to go home. it was close to 2pm, the parade was long over, but young parade goers were still roaming the streets. some were probably local students, but i'd guess a fair amount were from further out, who took the commuter rail to get into the city. there's lots to do (especially some good and cheap eats in chinatown) but they seemed to be just wandering about. i took the charles river bike trail and crossed into cambridge via the mass ave bridge. on a weekday pedestrian and bike traffic was especially light.
i made it home by 2:20pm, nearly 6 hours since i woke up to go to the parade this morning. exhausted, sweat-soaked, i decided to take a quick shower first, eat lunch, before running some more errands. originally i figured i could make my cafe delivery tomorrow, but the forecast called for rain, so i decided to go today. at 3pm i went to rite aid to get some halloween candy (even though i didn't plan on giving out any, i wanted just some in case, plus also some candy for myself) before hitting market basket for some groceries (pork chops were on sale, i'm going to make fried tonkatsu for dinner tomorrow night). i returned to the house, grabbed my chinatown groceries, then went to the cafe.
i returned home by 4pm, but went to the community garden to do a quick clean up of my plot, where i basically cut down and threw out anything that was still standing. i was the only person in the garden, but at one point a woman dressed like a pirate surprised me; she was in the garden for several minutes taking a selfie of herself. only then - around 4:40pm - was i finally able to come home and relax.
bruce contacted me around 5:30pm, regarding plans to see the halloween festivities around the neighborhood. we decided to meet in an hour, even though i already saw chaperoned children in costumes roaming the streets about an hour ago. bruce asked me to bring a pair of disposable blue gloves when i went over to his place at 6:30pm. it was part of his impromptu costume, "the blue wave."
this year's halloween theme on crescent street was western related. we arrived right when the honk band showed up, playing their instruments up and down the street before leaving. i was a little disappointed that nobody came knocking on my door, even though i turned off the porch light. there's always that one group - usually teenagers - that adhere to well established halloween signals and ring every single house anyway. i did have candy, but i guess it'll all to go my personal collection (kit kat with glow-in-the-dark wrappers). i saw my upstairs neighbors had turned on their porch light, but because their doorbell was broken, they left a bowl of candy on the stoop. the bowl was of course empty.
back at the house, i ate the vietnamese sandwich for dinner. i didn't bother heating it, it tasted fine as is, but a warm baguette is better. the cold cuts tasted a little weird, i think it's the pate they smear inside, it had the metallic taste of blood. next time i maybe try the grilled chicken or beef sandwich, that seems like a safer choice.