March 6, 2008: Chinese New Year parade
The other weekend I watched San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade. It was a cold and rainy night, but a little freezing drizzle is fitting initiation for the year of the rat, who is a creature of the sewer.
My camera was accidentally set on “make everything look blurry and shitty” mode, so the following snapshots come courtesy of my friend Anders’s iPhone. That might also explain why some of the photos seem to convey a false sense of superiority.
While I was busy scowling and shivering from the cold, these brave children were enduring the weather with panache, performing exotic rat dances and making funny hand gestures. In retrospect I feel bad heckling the kids. I just thought their face paint work was poor to middling.
Here we see a gang of dragons tilting their faces from side-to-side, as if to mock the poor rat and its meager year. Dragons don’t have calendars—they don’t want to hear whose year it’s supposed to be. Just try to have a Chinese parade without a dragon showing up. A dozen Chinese people couldn’t walk down the sidewalk together without 3 or 4 dragons slithering around.
You can barely see due to the shitty quality of the iPhone’s camera, but in this scene we see a bunch of rat children peeking out from little holes in a float supposedly made from cheese. Pretty amusing, but I found it kind of weird that they were tossing out handfuls of condoms. Just joking—this was an auspiciously cute start to the year of the rat.
These ladies were twirling around in little bowls of rice—just twirling around in circles, not a care in the world. I thought it might have been funny to start chasing them with a pair of giant chopsticks.
Goodnight, Chinese New Year parade. Hopefully next year you’ll celebrate an animal not quite so emblematic of filth and disease, such as maggots or syphilis bacteria.