at 9am i finally knocked on her door. i asked if she was still interested in the parade. she said she read online that the parade starts at 12pm and finished at 6pm, so there was no urgency to go early, she'd catch it in the afternoon. i didn't bother trying to talk her into it, maybe she had other plans and this was her excuse. she said she was going to do some grocery shopping at market basket and asked if i had one of those folding shopping carts. i told her she could use the bike, and when i showed it to her, she said she'd walk, maybe take the bike some other time. with that she was gone.
i left for boston at 10am. i wore a navy t-shirt over jeans, and a dark grey henley pullover on top of that. in my messenger bag i packed my canon EOS 80D with the 55-250mm lens. i also brought the 18-200mm lens which was probably a mistake since the two lenses have a good amount of overlap. i brought my fuji 3D camera as well, along with the gopro. i packed an umbrella in case of rain, and an insulated tumbler full of hexagon ice cube and water.
it took me 27 minutes to ride to the clarendon street garage, in front of back bay station. it was an easy ride, made more so as i approached copley square, as streets were closed off for the parade, so i had the roads all to myself. i locked my bike and waited at my usual perch, with 30 minutes before the parade started.
there hasn't been a pride parade since 2019, 4 years ago. 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to the covid pandemic, while 2022 was cancelled because of infighting between the LGBT organizers. i thought there'd be a low turnout because i didn't see much activity when i rode past copley square. but when the parade finally started around 11:15am, the crowd of people was enormous.
it was good parade photography weather, overcast but bright. i was annoyed when the sun would occasionally peek through the clouds. it wasn't cold, but it wasn't hot either, but comfortable. at least for the time being. photographers seemed to have discovered my favorite spot to shoot - the crest of clarendon hill - and were crowding the middle of the street to get those money shots, blocking my line of sight, as i prefer to shoot stationary.
lauryn texted me via whatsapp. i thought maybe she decided to come to the parade after all and needed directions, but she was trying to work the washing machine and couldn't figure out how to start it. this text exchange went on for a while before she realized she needed to pull the dial in order to start the washer. i was tempted to send her a photo of the fun she was missing but decided not to.
i don't know how many pride parades i've been to, but it's been a lot. so all the usual groups were there. politicians included boston mayor michelle wu and congresswoman ayanna pressley. senator ed markey was there, but elizabeth warren was a no-show. i was hoping to see the first lesbian governor of the US maura healey, but i only saw her lieutenant governor. later i learned healey was there, i just didn't see her. there were school groups and the church groups. i didn't see belmont this year though. there were also the corporations, more than half seemed to be biotech companies, besides the banks and airlines. freebies, a lot of rubber wrist bands. a conservative amount of beads (i managed to get half a dozen). TJ maxx gave out some cool jumbo-sized plastic tote bags. delta gave out some biscoff cookies. a lot of groups were also offering up candy. the days of free condoms and lubes seem to be of the past now.
i was hoping to see the taiwanese pride group but they were a show. tufts wasn't there either, and now that i think about it, not a lot of college groups were there, although i did see harvard. i remember in years past there'd be some really rowdy floats, like male gogo dancers or the infamous machine night club with the speaker cars. there was none of those this year. despite the large turnout, i think the attendants seem to be less than years past.
the thing i've always found with these large parades is how to photograph everything. there's so many things going on, not only the parade participants, but also the people watching the parade. often times i see something that looks like a great photo opp, but i'm not standing close enough, or the procession goes by too fast to get a good photo. sometimes i fantasize about being able to stop time, so i could then see the parade from all locations and angles, line up the shots to get that perfect photo.
after the parade went by clarendon, i got on my bike and rode to berkeley street to catch the tail end. but the procession was short enough that by the time i got there, most of it had already left, and it was just the last few groups.
i continued down columbus avenue (no traffic) to arlington then headed to ming's market around 1:30pm, after my mother called asking me to get a few things for the cafe. ming's was just as crowded as the last time i was there, i still have no idea why business there has suddenly jumped after for such a long time it looked like the place might close. i still had on all my colorful pride beads, which i think might've confused some customers, but nobody said anything. i grabbed some bokchoi, some bean sprouts, scallions, and some fried tofu wedges ($3.99) for myself. i forgot to bring a shopping bag, but had that TJ maxx tote bag which i used to hold my groceries.
i left ming's close to 2pm and started heading back to cambridge. no sooner had i gone a block before it started raining. i stopped to check the doppler radar. a big blob of rain was heading this way. i could try waiting it out, but it looked like it was going to be a long duration event, and i didn't want to get stuck in boston for the next hour. so i decided to try and outrun the rain.
i attempted to get back to cambridge via the fiedler footbridge, but that turned out be a big mistake, because the parade route went down charles street. i thought i could squeeze through with my bike, but charles street eventually became a bottleneck, and i couldn't get through, so i had to backtrack, get into the public garden from bolyston, walk the bike through the park, and get onto beacon street. naturally the entire place was crowded so it took a while to navigate, which ate up precious outrunning-the-rainstorm time. when i finally got to the esplanade, the rain gradually started to increase. by the time i got to the mass ave bridge, it was pouring, with no place to hide. when i arrived at MIT, i parked the bike underneath a tree and opened up my umbrella, no choice but to wait for the rain to stop. hiding underneath a tree also wasn't the best idea as i heard loud rumblings of thunder (though i didn't see any lightning).
i didn't have to wait that long, 10-15 minutes, before the rain slowed down to a point where i could ride again. my soaked jeans were stuck to my legs. the only good thing i could say is at least it wasn't very cold. in fact, the sun started to peek out again, and i scanned the sky, hoping to see the possibility of a rainbow (during the pride parade no less).
i made it home by 2:45pm. lauryn came out of her bedroom, told me she didn't bother going into boston because she saw it was raining. actually some of her coworker friends were in chinatown today, at a karaoke bar to send off someone who was leaving, she didn't go to that either.
afterwards i stripped out of my wet clothes and took a quick shower. i changed into some dry clothes then rode to the cafe on the motorcycle just as they were about to close to drop off the vegetables.
the newly sprouted grass on the front lawn looks amazing. all the sprouts look long and tall, different from when i reseeded the smaller front lawn area, where the germinating grass looked tiny and growing haphazardly. not sure what it could be: the abundance of naturally rain, special grass germinating soil, mixing the grass seeds with the soil before applying to the lawn, the warmer yet cool weather (but still at the ideal 60-75 degrees range).
while my father and i were outside inspecting the rain barrels, my mother came out and pulled up a large clump of cilantro for dinner. we had xuelihong (salted mustard greens) mixed with chicken broth noodles for dinner. that fresh homegrown cilantro was super pungent.
afterwards i discussed traveling to flushing with my father: by bus or by car? my father thinks car is the better option, but the front tires on the toyota both have slow leaks. we went outside to check, and like clockwork, the left front tire was completely flat, the car resting on the rim. after we inflated the tires, my father decided that we should get both tires replaced. i opted to get it done at costco, although the tires might not arrive in time before we leave. my father prefers having his usual mechanic do the work, even if it means slightly more expensive (though we might get the car back sooner). who knows, maybe the mechanic will say the tires just need to be patched, and don't need replacement.
i was researching cheap electrical cars from china with my father, when i heard on the news that it was going to rain soon. a check of the doppler radar showed a large storm front heading our way, traveling west to east. i could wait it out, but then i might be stuck in belmont for a long time. i decided to risk and rush home immediately. so for the second time today, i was trying to outrun the rain storm. things were more in my favor this time around. the storm was behind me as i returned to cambridge, and i was on the motorcycle, which is much faster than a bicycle. when i looked ahead the sky was still relatively clear and bright. but when i looked behind me in the side mirrors, it was nothing but dark clouds. at first i felt a few drops, but i got enough of a clearance that i was dry the rest of the way. i made it back just in time, as it started to rain minutes after i got home.
after a shower, i downloaded the parade photos onto my computer and started sorting through them, all 2000 images. i think i got a few good ones (which i'll upload soon).