Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy Fourth

I had no idea that Americans actually say 'Happy fourth' to each other. For reasons I can't explain, I find this expression weird. People at work kept saying it (although at that point it was the third, since the office wasn't officially open on the fourth), and when I phoned to book another test drive the sales representative said it too. I refrained from replying 'I'm not American' throughout the day, or pointing out that I celebrated Canada Day a couple of days ago--I'm sure it wouldn't have been useful.

This may be related to why I find the expression 'Happy fourth' strange--I don't think we go around wishing each other 'Happy Canada Day,' do we? I was in the US for Canada Day last year (attending NECCA's aerial skills week), and the year before that we were at a back country campground that was half empty, so maybe I just don't remember.

Anyway...Boston has a big fireworks spectacular every year on the fourth. A huge barge is brought in on the Charles River which serves as the launching platform for the fireworks, while music is played over speakers positioned all along the river. There's a bandstand on the Boston side of the river where the Boston Symphony Orchestra is stationed. They (and other performers) present a live show, which most importantly ends with the 1812 Overture. Apparently some 500,000 people line the river to watch the spectacular.

This year festivities were moved up to July 3rd (reportedly the first time this had to happen) due to the pending arrival of hurricane Arthur. Andrew and I biked down to MIT on Thursday evening, stowing our bikes in his office for safe keeping. I'd guess due to the change in dates and expected storm there were fewer people out to watch--at least the area we choose wasn't all that busy. We got a pretty go view sitting on a curb, only occasionally losing lower rising explosions behind a tree.

The display started early--10:15 rather than the scheduled 10:30, and it was announced before hand (two MCs were apart of the broadcast) that it would have to be sans-1812 as the weather was looking increasingly chancy (musical instruments and inclement weather don't mix). The audience in the bandstand, sounded rather miffed that there would be no Overture. The fireworks were indeed spectacular. Lots of cool, multi-coloured, multi-shaped explosions, and several where we could feel the impact of the cannons from however far away we were.

Then it was over (we're not quite sure if the fireworks reached their full conclusions, or if the on-hand Marshalls pulled the plug) and everyone got up and left.

Unfortunately we didn't get out of the MIT area and home fast enough. We were maybe five minutes into our journey, when we could hear the rain approaching from behind us. Then it hit us, cold and furious. The many pedestrians on the sidewalks were half screaming, half-laughing as they too hurried to their destinations. We were soaked in under a minute.

Biking home in the rain is never fun. It was also dark, which didn't make things easier. Of course, by the time we were five minutes from home the rain let up, and it wasn't much more than sprinkling. This wasn't the effects of the hurricane yet.

That wasn't until Friday afternoon--and even then it just rained, and rained, and rained.

Hope everyone had a good Canada Day, Independence Day weekend--which ever you prefer.



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