Today I went into Chinatown to see the last parade in a week of celebrating the new Chinese New Year, the year of the Horse. It was so colorful with all of the people in the parade wearing bright colors. Some people hung firecrackers in the trees along the street and as the parade went by set them off. They were really long fire crackers and exploded for about 2 minutes and then when it reached the top there was a box that exploded with a big bang and red confetti went everywhere.
There was a long dragon in the parade with about 20 men under it making it undulate back and forth across the street and beautiful girls with white make-up and colorful kimonos. Also, a few statues came down the street and some people went out and lit incense in front of it, like candles in a Catholic church. There were also oranges all over which I assume are for good luck. It was a very happy celebration.
I got what I thought was a good site to watch the parade. There were barriers up to keep the crowd back. I noticed a bunch of people in the street as we were waiting for the parade to start and I assumed the police would make them move back behind the barriers. This was not the case. The French are known for cutting in lines and ignoring little things like barriers. So when the parade started the crowd in the street just stepped back and there were about 5 rows of people in front of me. The parade could hardly get through. People crossed the street at will and walked along with the people in the parade.
A view of some of the girls
Some girls with white face
One of the statues in the parade
February 22, 2002
Maurice and I went out to St Denis today which is a suburb north of Paris. There is a basilica there called St. Denis and all of the kings of France except three, and quite a few queens, are buried there. During the revolution, the bodies were dug up and thrown in a common ditch but Napoleon put everything and everyone back when he took control. Usually all the tombs were destroyed, too, but a man whose name I can't remember took them elsewhere before any damage was done.
It is very interesting coming into the area where all of the tombs or, at least, statutes of the queens and kings are. It's a huge area. Most of the statutes are lying down either in prayer, looking dead, or looking asleep.A wide number of years is covered and you can see different styles through the years.
I guess even the feet were copied exactly of the king and queen
King Louis and Marie Antoinette were buried here
I'm not sure who this represents but I liked the window behind
Feb. 24, 2002
February is still winter, but there are signs of Spring here in Paris. Of course, there are the almost daily rains, but I have started seeing men on the street corners near the markets selling bunches of daffodils. I wanted to buy a bunch but Maurice said, "They grow in the forests near here. Why don't we go pick some?" So, that afternoon we were on the highway and went to the suburbs just south of Paris in some local forests. There were cars at the little parking lot and people with bags and baskets full of daffodils and I thought there wouldn't be any left for us.
So into the forest we went, which turned out to be extremely wet from all of the recent rains. Before long my tennis shoes were covered in mud, along with the hem of my jeans. It kept raining off and on as we jumped over streams and tried to walk around the worst mud puddles. I kept looking for yellow and didn't see anything for about 10 minutes and, then suddenly, there they were, little areas covered with daffodil, most of them not blooming, but enough to pick. We had brought scissors to cut them, but didn't need them as the flowers broke off easily at the bottom of the stems. They weren't huge daffodils, like a King Alfred, but small delicate ones, a little larger than a crocus. We picked two big bouquets in 30 minutes and headed back to the car. I was thinking how amazing it is to find flowers that I always associate with a garden, growing wild in a forest. I don't know why this is surprising to me. Every plant at one time was wild somewhere, but it is special. I felt the same way when I first saw wild honeysuckle in a forest near Chesapeake Bay.
Here is a photo of a few growing in the wild
I'm seeing this bush blooming everywhere, too. Like one in Texas.