Sunday, March 18, 2007

Raining on the parade

The main benefit to living on the fifth floor of an apartment that overlooks the main street of a town like Strasbourg, in addition to our amazing and frequently bragged about view of the Cathedral, is the theoretically excellent vantage it affords for viewing parades.

Strasbourg has been remarkably stingy on the parades so far. In fact, we have heard tell of only one: Carnavale. Supposedly it is not unlike Mardi Gras. They hold it late here as many of the floats and marching bands go from town to town on both sides of the border. We inadvertantly saw one a couple of months ago, across the border in Kehl. You will note by the giant nosed Rasta men depicted below, that they are not exactly politcally correct.

Amynah and I were delighted to discover a notice posted on our apartment door this week, warning us that our street was going to be closed down to allow for a projected invasion of roughly 2,000 witches, fantastical creatures and musicians traveling through town at the traditional 5 km/h on their customary floats (I will admit I was hoping the "Army of blond Frauleins with legs that go all the way to the ground" would make an appearance too).

Today we invited over our friends Cela and Leslie and their two kids, (Candadians who live in an impeneratrable fortress a suburb of Strasbourg) all of whom were looking forward to a bird’s eye vew of their first European Carnavale. We knew that the show started at 2:11 precisely (why, I don’t know) and should therefore reach our place at about three.

Three rolled by. Then three thirty. We heard nothing, and there were no crowds on the sidewalks outside. The kids started to get antsy. The adults started to get antsy. I started to pick fights with the kids and Amynah sent me to my room. Finally, Leslie ventured back downstairs and asked a passerby what the heck was going on.

Turns out that the whole thing had been cancelled due to high winds. They are scared of that sort of thing here, as the city is still fighting off a lawsuit arising from an incident five years ago where several people died at a city concert when a large tree fell on them.

Disappointed as I am by this (not nearly as disappointed as the kids or the 2,000 people that have been workin on their elaborate costumes and dances for this thing) I am still amused. The Montreal St Patrick’s Day Parade will be going on as I write this, despite snowstorms.

On the other hand, at least I am spared from reading the Montreal’s Gazette (I will be damned if I link to them here) desperately dull coverage of said event, which is identical every year: send out a pair of their most antediluvian columnists to hit an Irish pub: “First we went to O’Dipso’s, where I talked to Paddy O’McPaddigan. He told me the Irish are gods among us, then he served me a Guiness or six. Then I went to another pub, where I drooled over a couple of college chicks one quarter my age while drinking more Guiness. Then I went somewhere else, but I don’t remember much about that. Now my hurts heads. I mean, head hurts. Har har! Ain’t drunk funny!”

Interesting Montreal St Patrick’s facts: Montreal holds the record for the longest contiously running St Patrick’s Parade, at 183 years. The Montreal Gazette has the longest streak for reporting the longest running parade stat, at 182 years.


Daniel McCabe said...

An "impeneratrable fortress," ay? Har har. Invest in some spell checking software, Mr. Funnypants.

Mark Reynolds said...

Great. Now I have to keep the mistake up on the Internet for perpetuity for your comment to make any sense. Well played.