Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Magnificent Rose Parade

This year we decided we wanted to get out of snowy St. Louis for New Years and decided to spend the day in Los Angeles!  My parents both flew out and stayed with me in my apartment.  It was fun having my parents stay with me, especially since it was the first time they had seen the apartment since I moved in and a lot had changed.  I picked up my parents on the 31st early in the morning of a beautiful, crisp day.

On a totally unrelated side note, I happen to love the view when coming off the 105 E onto the 110 N when driving home from LAX.  On a clear morning, you get a great view of the downtown skyline straight ahead and the Hollywood sign off to the left.  Beneath is a great view of the complex concrete structure which supports all the myriad freeways.  At the same time, it reminds me of the beauty of civil engineering and the excitement of a vibrant, urban city.  But I digress.

I'm not entirely sure how they managed it, but Ethan's parents arrived just on time around 6:15 in the morning.  Somehow, they left San Diego at a grisly 4:30 am and were still cheerful when they made it to Los Angeles.

 Ethan and his brother getting ready to go to their seats. 

We arrived around 7 am to make sure that we got into our parking spot before they started closing the roads.  The parade started around 8 but didn't reach us until about 9:15.  Our tickets were in one of the scaffolding grandstands near the end of the parade route.  This turned out to be a great decision since many people had camped on the street the night before in order to get their seats!  As it turned out, we were a few feet above the ground and ended up having a great view of the floats.  We took a few early morning shots before the floats showed up.

Here we are standing at the front of the grandstand with my mom, Ethan, me, and my dad from left to right. 

Ethan and I early in the morning before it started to warm up. 

When the floats finally showed up, they did not disappoint!  I've always enjoyed seeing the parade on TV but the images really cannot compare to seeing them up close.  Not only are they extraordinarily intricate, they smell amazing!  Each new float brought with it an amazing new cornucopia of smells.  My favorites were, not surprisingly, the float with giraffes on it and the wine float.  

My personal favorite float - giraffes made out of flowers!! Incredible!

A close second for favorite float.  Stellabrate! 

After the parade, we went to see the floats up close at a local high school.  It was great getting closer to the floats but it was really ridiculously crowded.  For those wishing to see the parade in the future, I would recommend waiting until early the next morning to go.  By the time we got to the floats, I couldn't believe how much it had warmed up!  The forecast predicting a high of 81 was not kidding around.  I was wishing I was in short sleeves like my better prepared mother.

 A rare photo of my mom and me together.  The weather was amazing!

Overall, getting to see the parade was great fun!  I'm really glad I got to see (and smell!) the floats up close and personal.  Now that's two years in a row I've traveled for NYE - who knows where I'll be next year!

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