At long last, the entry from our experience with the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade back on February 7th.
I flew up to Oakland Friday afternoon and Bill and I had drinks and dinner at BJ’s with a group of friends who were in town from both coasts. Kevin and Caroline from Buffalo and Eugene from Seattle. It was a lot of fun to see them all again and we hope to get together more often.
Saturday we met up with James and Logan and drove to “the city” (as Logan calls it) to do some exploring. Unfortunately Kristen was working all day and didn’t get to play with us.
Logan got a nice nap in on the way there.
Logan stopped us while we were walking to Chinatown to check out a tall building.
Lo and behold, we were walking past the TransAmerica Building. That’s about as tall as they get in this town.
We stopped at Portsmouth Square for a little bit so Logan could play on on of the playgrounds there. The square was packed with children and parents so Logan was a little apprehensive around the other kids.
A little while later we walked down to the where grandstands had been set up to for parade goers and VIPs. We found our friends Ronney, Carolyn and Susan bundled up in their coats waiting for the parade to start. We thought about buying tickets for grandstand seats, but opted not to in the end. We didn’t want to spend the money not knowing if Logan would be willing to sit and watch the parade.
We had a little time to kill before the parade started, and we met up with Patrick and Melissa.
Logan thinks Pat is one of the coolest people ever. Actually, most kids do.
Finally we walked down the street in search of a place to stop and wait for the parade. Everyone else in the city was doing the same thing, so it wasn’t easy.
Logan felt very special with his SFPD “badge” that he got from an officer as he walked by.
Aw, Patrick got one too! He’s just as special!
Once the parade got to us, we realized that we were stopped in a pretty terrible spot. We were just past the grandstands, so many of the performers stopped what they were doing thinking they were at the end of the parade route. There was actually another quarter of a mile to go around a corner.
Either way, we still had a good time. Logan had a GREAT time. We hyped the parade all day telling him to keep an eye out for lions and dragons. Every time we heard any drums we’d go looking for the lions that dance to them. Needless to say, he was really excited. So when we were standing around waiting for the parade to start, Logan suddenly told me he didn’t want there to be any lions or dragons. “They’re too scary,” he said. So, to keep him calm, I pretended to call them on my cell phone and asked them not to come. That seemed to please him for the moment.
Logan was yelling and oohing at everyone who went by, even the random parade marshals sitting on their convertibles. It actually made the people standing around us crack up.
When Leung’s White Crane began their performance, we really wished we were in a better spot.
A couple of their lion dancers climbed up on top of these large poles and danced from there. This was the best shot I got of their performance. They are pretty much the best of the lion dancing performers in the area, constantly winning international championships. (For those who might remember, we were lucky to get a few of their novice performers to dance at our wedding.)
Finally the giant dragon came by. I’ve always thought it looked impressive on TV. Seeing it in person was even better. Logan tapped me on the shoulder saying, “Akiss, they’re not scary!”
Hey, that guy doesn’t look very Chinese…
The crowd directly across the street from us. I’m pretty sure our side looked similar.
The parade actually lasted for almost two hours after the White Crane performance, but they were really who we wanted to see. So we left shortly after. We had a nice and slightly rushed dinner at Yuet Lee where they say they are famous for their salt and pepper squid. The squid really was awesome. The extremely faded photos of celebrities who have eaten there was funny to see.
It was a fun and busy night and we were taking bets as to when Logan would fall asleep in the car on the way home. Surprisingly, he didn’t. We decided that next year, we’ll spend the money and buy spots at the grandstands for the parade. It’s something we should really see in person one year with the kid.