This past weekend was a holiday that celebrates when major nations around the world recognized this country as a sovereign nation. We celebrated by going to watch the big parade. The day was pretty funny because our plans were changed all day. We couldn't go to the main show because they don't allow cameras there, and we didn't want to go without a camera. Our thinking on that was we'll have next year to go without a camera. So we tried for the end of the route, which seemed like a good idea at first. But after going through security, we were told we couldn't bring cameras through there, either. So we began walking. We didn't know where we were walking, but we had quite a big group with us, so walking wasn't too bad. Our friends had the idea to try to climb to the top of a building and sit on the roof and watch the parade, but the buildings had been closed. After quite a few turns and questions, we finally found a road where the parade went by. This place, since it was more out of the way, allowed cameras, and we found a place to stand. We didn't have any flags though, and husband and I wanted to wave around some flags and show some spirit. I saw a little girl with a flag, so I decided to go ask the woman that was with her where they had bought it. I even practiced how to say it first..."Where did you buy the flag?" When I questioned, she immediately responded in perfect English, "Oh her school gave it to her." She asked me to sit with them, and fed me juice and french fries. She was great to talk to and invited me back, so I am looking forward to hanging out with her and her family.
After waiting about an hour, the parade came down the road! It was so cool, I had never been so proud of this country before. There's just something about parades. I had read in the paper several articles on the days leading up to this day that the people, while very patriotic, are not outspoken about their love for the country. I witnessed this first hand while the military men from different states marched down the road. We crazy Americans were yelling and clapping, though, and it wore off on the those standing around us. Eventually they began to cheer and clap as well. It was so cool to see the different states' military. One state known for their turban-wearing came by with big bright red turbans on every man. Another state, located in the desert, came by riding on camels. And the most surprising one to me, the military men from the Himalayas came by with snow-skis strapped to their backs! The military here marches with very swinging arm motions, so that was interesting to see. Also, each unit had a band following them. The desert brigade's band also rode on the camels! It was definitely a first for me to see a man playing a tuba riding on a camel. The different states and some government organizations had made floats as well representing what they do. They were very creative, and we were all blown away by how well put together everything was. Some states had tigers and jungles, some had temples, some had people dancing or making clay pots. One, representing some kind of national safety organization, had people going through a metal detector! Kinda weird for a parade float, but it did give them visibility.
After the parade, a family invited us over for chai and sweets, so all 9 of us trooped over to their house. It was actually in a fire station.
Here are some pics from the parade. Remember, these are just a few of the floats!