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Trip Report Rose Parade, January 2, 2012.

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I flew Southwest on Sunday, coming back Monday – couldn’t take additional time off work, so it was just a short trip for the Rose Parade. Southwest gave us peanuts, pretzels and drinks – all in one hour flight! I don’t look trustworthy, was taken aside for a manual pat down as usual.

Paula picked me up at the Ontario airport. What I’ve noticed right away, walking from the plane to luggage area, how few and far away the restrooms are. This is the first thing the passengers are looking for, and in SFO/OAK I don’t think we have this issue.

We drove along Colorado Blvd in Pasadena – Paula is an excellent host, she was showing me around, the city was getting ready for the Rose parade and game by boarding up the stores’ windows with plywood. This looked familiar from all the protests here.

Young and not so young people were already lined up on the sidewalks, sitting in chairs, on blankets, or even on mattresses! Some of them still slept there when we walked to the bleachers at 7 am. The side streets parking spaces were all taken by parked campers.

Had a great get-together with posters on Fodor’s website. “MaiTaiTom” and Tracy were our generous hosts in their home, Paula and Iregeo I knew from before, others met for the first time, and the evening went by fast.

Paula and I stayed in Doubletree in Monrovia. We had a room with 2 beds, 5 pillows on each bed! The beds were low, need an arms’ push to get up. Fridge and coffeemaker in the room. In the morning, when everybody was in a hurry to leave for the Rose parade, one elevator was out of order! A nightmare before dawn. The breakfast is not included, but the line for coffee was short, unlike in the parade area where any opened place had a line out of the door and around the corner.

We were told in the paperwork accompanied the tickets that we must park the car before 7 am as the parking lot will be closed. This is not true, I could see from my seat the opened gate, and the cars moving in much later. Wish we knew! Our assigned parking lot was across from the seating area.

The bleacher seating was tight, to say the least. Imagine the seats tighter than airline coach. I was lucky, somebody in front of me didn’t come, so the family put a cooler on the bench. This allowed me to take photos – I hope I can post them. Any time I prepared to take a photo, somebody’s hand or head would suddenly move into the shot.

We sat so close to each other that I felt the knees of the man behind me bumping into my bottom, and my knees were in the cooler. “Imagine that” – now I know why it was the theme of the parade! And when somebody had to go to the port-o-potty below the bleachers, it was a mini-disaster to get out of the packed row. It seemed, all seats were sold out, imagine that!

The parade was interesting, a float and a marching band, a float and a marching band… 2 of them broke and were towed along the parade route. Horse riders were followed by 3-people teams of “pooper scoopers” – they got loud applause. The Marines’ marching band got everybody on their feet. The unused tow trucks were parading behind the floats, and everybody thought it’s the end, and started leaving. It was impossible to stay and wait with so many people all moving out, so we left too – and missed the occupiers who marched at the very end of the parade.

Got home in the evening, and now it’s time to get ready for the next trip – Costa Rica.

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