Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

Spring in DC means one thing: cherry blossoms! We've had a couple of false starts, but now that the cherry blossoms are out, we can be sure that spring is finally here to stay. This weekend was exceptionally nice and the weather was absolutely perfect for the Cherry Blossom Parade on Saturday morning. Now, usually I reserve Saturday mornings for sleeping (which I really needed after this exhausting week), but I was more than willing to give up on sleep to have a good seat for the parade. I have never really gone to a parade. We're not so big on them in Belgium, and the only real parade I had ever seen was the one in Disneyland (the absolutely beautiful one with all the lights), so I was really looking forward to this one. I had seen some examples of American parades on TV or in movies, so my expectations we're very high. I was not disappointed.

 

I met up with one of my Belgian friends, Sarah, at the International Student House (a really cool Elizabethan building, which would fit right into any Harry Potter movie), and we set off towards the Washington Monument along with some other international students. We arrived at the Memorial with time to spare and picked out a nice spot in the sun (looking back, this might not have been the best idea. I'm starting to resemble a tomato...) and waited for the parade to begin. The parade started with what at first seemed to be a shapeless pink balloon, but turned out to be a large balloon in the shape of a majorette. Naturally, the balloon was followed by a marching band led by a horde of majorettes. It immediately set the tone for the entire parade: light and happy.

 

Start of the Parade

 

What I enjoyed most about the parade was that it was so typically American: floats, Mustangs, Miss USA Outstanding Teen, American Idol contestants... As I said earlier, Belgians are not that big on parades (unless you count the military parade on July 21st and the carnival processions in Aalst) and another thing we are generally not so great at is displaying national pride. Most Belgians have a rather cynical view of our country, so for me it was nice to see all the marching bands and dance groups dressed up in the national colors.

 

Dance groupe

A Dance Group Performing

 

The parade had many highlights, but my personal favorites were the different divisions of the army marching by (there was even a division dressed up in period clothing), the Japanese delegation, and last but not least, the gigantic balloon of Bao Bao, the panda cub that was born at the National Zoo a couple of months ago.

 

A Military Marching Band

 

Panda Balloon

Bao Bao Balloon

 

After the parade, we had the brilliant idea to go to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory, not taking into account the scores of tourists that would be headed there as well. We ended up making our way through throngs of tourists who wanted to take pictures with every single petal on every single tree. But as the old adage goes: if you can't beat them, join them. So we had our own tourist moment taking a ton of pictures under the cherry trees.

 

 

 

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