Sunday, March 8, 2015

Don't Let the Parade Pass You By


We didn't know that when we set out to see the Carnavale, we would become part of the parade.

D-L's dueling blog is at: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ie/2015/03/i-love-parade.html.

As we did last week, when they had the night parade - like the Disney electrical parade, but homegrown, so better because it has authentic, non-commercial spirit - we walked up Rue Nationale to the bridge over La Massane river (the one that had the 100-year flood back in November), then down to the mairie where the floats and parade participants were gathering.

We passed a vendor selling bags of confetti and cans of silly string. I was tempted to buy some ... I really, really, really should have.

As we wandered down the line of floats, taking photos, a neighbor mamie called to us and urged us to jump about le petite train. Why not? So once the parade started, the train pulled into line behind the ultimate punk rock band, and off we went up the hill.

Along the way there were little kids in costumes, some daring to sneak up toward the train to throw confetti at us. Before long, the floor of the train, the seats, our clothing, and our hair were all covered with confetti.

(The other day we were in the party store, looking for Easter decorations, and the proprietor mentioned he had supplied over 1,200 costumes and countless bags of confetti for the parades in several villages in the south of France. He cleaned up, so to speak, while the confetti-throwers made a mess.)
We had so much confetti around us we were able to scoop it up and throw it back at some of the unsuspecting tykes and their parents.

But then, the unexpected. Silly string! These were generally older kids, middle school maybe. Mischievous stalkers.

One time the train stopped, waiting to turn a corner, and we were right in the line of fire of perhaps half a dozen little devils armed with spray cans. Fortunately, for us, most had trouble getting the nozzle to function, or when they did their aim was terrible.

We laughed the whole hour or so it took to go maybe two kilometres from one end of the village to the other and then back to the large Carrefour parking lot where dancers were performing in hula skirts and rainbow leis. Along the way we saw several friends, who were as surprised as we were to see us on the train.

One friend from Ireland remarked to me: "You've really taken to French village life." Indeed.