Who doesn't love a parade?

Yesterday was a national holiday on the Rock, celebrated with a parade. Figuring that in our first year here we should probably do as much of these types of things as possible (just to say that we've done it), we headed into town yesterday morning on the Vespa, early enough (we figured) to find ourselves a spot to sit along the parade route and get some good pictures. Wrong. While the parade was scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m., we arrived at around noon to find that the entire street was already full of people who had arrived in the wee hours to tape off sections of sidewalk for their families and had set up elaborate buffets of food for themselves, fancy camp chairs, blankets, noise-makers, gas BBQs...the works. It was quite a show. I no longer have a hard time believing the rumours that locals "camp" with flat-screen televisions in their tents.

We finally found ourselves a spot, which I had to defend multiple times from encroaching tourists and even local families trying to edge us out by slowly moving their chairs closer and closer to where we were standing, trying to edge us out. They met their match with me though, and I held our ground, even while Kurt was off finding fried chicken (a parade requirement).

At 1:30 on the dot, the parade began with a stream of scooters and motorcycles, the requisite random people being driven around in fancy cars (with no signage to alert the crowd as to who they might be), the various Queens (Teen Queen, Big & Beautiful Queen, etc.) and the Regiment's marching band. After that, it was a steady stream of majorettes, drumlines and Gombey dancers. It was colorful, loud, and incorporated some questionable dance moves, but was altogether probably the best parade I've been to. For such a long route, I couldn't believe how young some of the little majorettes and Gombeys were...tiny little ones marching around, dancing up a storm, hamming it up for the crowd. Mind you, we were at the beginning of what had to be at least a 5km route, so I'm sure the people sitting at the end of the parade got a very different show. It was a pretty hot day...hot enough that I should have been wearing a hat or standing in the shade, because I ended up with a pretty nasty headache after 6 hours in the sun and we ended up leaving before the parade was over (apparently it went until after 6:00...yes...a 4.5 hour parade).

I took (of course) about a billion photos. The "best of" are here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=116887&l=71870&id=614495246

Back to work today, but it's a three day work week for me, since we're off to Toronto on Friday morning for Teresa and Evans' wedding. As usual, it was hard to tear myself away from weekend life and back to the office, and even more so when it's a long weekend. The sun headache is persisting...boo. I really need to get myself a hat.


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