metal barricades were up and people were already crowding either side of the street. ideally i wanted to be on the other side of the road (chinatown side), but it was too congested to get across so i just locked my bike to a light post in the park then walked to my usual location at the corner of tremont and boylston street. there were no barricade spots so i took a position standing on the curb, which gave me a slight height advantage.
i spent the next few hours waiting. the parade officially started at 11am, but from past experience i knew it wouldn't arrive at tremont-boylston until 12pm. the wait wasn't too bad as it was an unusually warm day (temperature would eventually hit the mid-60's today). i was more worried overcrowding and possibly standing behind a group of tall people blocking my view, but a bevy of short girls were in front of me creating a buffer so i felt safe for the time being.
unfortunately by 11am the police decided to push back the metal barricades, and all those people that were formerly standing in the street now crowded onto the sidewalk. my worst case scenario came true when i was suddenly surrounded. not just by ordinary fans, but by obnoxious bros, with their family-unfriendly conversation, chanting 4-letter bombs, smoking their juul, drinking their alcoholic nips, and eating slices of pizza from their backpack. not all of them were bad, but it only took a few to taint the whole group. at one point somebody in the crowd asked them to tone it down, which got them incensed but nevertheless stopped the obscene chanting. an old chinese man was trying to get across and one of them was making fun of him (another was actually trying to get his friend to stop). at another point one of them threw a nip into the streets which got the attention of the police while they played it cool. when the sun broke out and flooded the corner with bright sunshine, that was the excuse i needed to find a different place to watch the parade.
i ended up on the muddy banks across emerson college. had i known this was where i'd be watching from, i could've arrived later and not get here so early. the wet mud from all the snow melt was like glue, threatening to unshoe me with every cautious step. fortunately i wore my hiking shoes but i saw many others who weren't so lucky, trampling in the mud with white sneakers. there was another photographer who had already staked out the area in front of a large tree, armed with a long telephoto lens.
at almost exactly noontime we heard the roar of cheering fans before we saw the convoy of flatbed trucks and duck boats to arrive. the first was the confetti truck, filling the air with red-white-blue confetti. that was followed by a duck boat with robert kraft, jonathan kraft, and ty law.
i saw josh mcdaniels, bill belichick, and tom brady. hoyer was on brady's duck boat, hoisting up one of the trophies.
next came gronkowski, who was topless for some reason (along with a few other teammates), wearing a fluorescent police vest. he made out with a goat doll somebody had thrown to him. also on that same duck boat was james white, sony michel, and rex burkhead. for some reason the bud light king from the tv commercials was also on one of the floats.
there was center david andrews, comfortable with his body, getting a february tan and drinking a beer. i saw hightower, who was the only person who didn't seem to be having fun. he sat next to van noy (holding one of the trophies) and ja'whaun bentley. finally i saw julian edelman with chris hogan and cordarrelle patterson.
looking like the end of the procession, i left and started following the duck boats like the horde of other fans walking across the muddy boston common. i stopped midway, as it seemed to be getting more and more crowded, and i was heading to chinatown anyway, in the opposite direction. i went to retrieve my bike, still attached to the light post. i waited a bit for the crowd to thin out before making it onto the road. the way to chinatown was still barricaded, so i took the longer way, charles to stuart to finally kneeland. the city was crowded with people in patriots jerseys, like one big costume party.
i parked by the chinatown gate, then went to c-mart to get some weichuan noodles for my mother, some ugly oranges (they charged me $1.99/lbs when it was clearly advertised $1.49/lbs), and a bottle of taiwanese black vinegar. i went to eldo's cake house to order a 10" chestnut cake, for pickup on friday morning. i paid with the credit card my mother gave me. finally, i went to the new saigon sandwich shop to get some grilled chicken with noodles for lunch ($5, only yellow chinese noodles, they were out of rice noodles). it took me a while to pack everything into my bike baskets. i also stripped out of my jacket until i was just down to a t-shirt, it was that warm. i then biked back to the cafe via the charles river bike trail, across the mass ave bridge.
it was 2pm by the time i got to the cafe. i tried to eat my lunch but it wasn't that good and i barely managed to get through half. i left with some beef broth one of my parents' friend gave to them. i finally got home around 3pm.
sandy came home around 6pm, right when i was about to eat my leftover noodles. she cooked some dinner in the kitchen, videochatting with kelvin the whole time.