Friday July 2, 2004

Red White and Boom

Rich suggested I meet him in Palo Alto and we could have dinner and then go over to see the fireworks at Stanford. I thought that sounded like a good idea.

At 6pm I drove to Millbrae and took what CalTrain calls the "baby bullet train". It only stops at SF, Millbrae, Hillsdale, Palo Alto, and San Jose. Saves 15 minutes off the regular "Express".

We had dinner at the Peking Duck House (Peking Duck, soup, and shrimp w/ cashews and snowpeas).

stanfoo Then we drove back up to Stanford and turned in on Serra Street. Fortuitously, that was the precisely perfect street as it dead-ends at the fountain at the end of the street (Galvez) behind the ampitheatre. We turned around where the yellow tape and portable fences were, then found an "A" parking lot (permits required till 4pm) that was essentially empty.

We walked over and found a nice spot on the pineneedles under a huge gnarly piney tree, just back from the walkway along the street behind the amphitheater. There were a fair number of people already when we arrived (about 8:30). Most of the people got there after dusk. There was a pretty good crowd by the time the show started.

About 20 minutes before the show, a fireman came by to give a short safety lecture - basically "If you or anyone in your family suffers asthma or allergies and the wind shifts and sends the smoke this way, get out of here!".

I liked our location. Some of the fireworks were seen through a screen of pine needles but we weren't crowded. The verge between the sidewalk and the street was packed shoulder to shoulder and blanket to blanket. Since this wasn't a parade (and everyone was sitting) there was no problem with seeing over the heads of the people in front of us! I could even see the spot were the fireworks were set off - there was lots of pink smoke and sparks with each firing of the mortars and then the Illuminators Guild would spray everything down with a stream of water.

The wind was perfect - a very light (5mph? breeze) from the southeast. The sky was clear. There was no fog. Any smoke drifted peacefully away from us and away from the crowd in the amphitheater leaving the sky clear for the next exhibit.

They started when it was nicely dark, about 9:20. It was easily the Very Best and Most Spectacular fireworks exhibition I have ever seen (and we've been to the Stanford show from the amphitheater side several times before! But here we were less than 100 yards from where the Illuminators themselves were working and we were directly UNDER the show. Oh MY! Oh Wow! Oooooooooh. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

We will assuredly do this again next year!

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Red White and Boom ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 02 Jul, 23:20 Pacific | «e»