Today I did the one thing that Pooh-Bahs dread most in the whole entire world!
I got up early.
Well, early for me on a Saturday. It was around 8:30 and I said to my hubby; “Do you want to go to the Tall Ships Parade?”
He looked at me from behind bleary eyes that had been hoping to hear me ask him if he wanted to do something of a far more intimate nature and then he sighed and said; “Sure.”
We already had plans for today, we’re supposed to clean the rugs! But, the New London Day and the New London Patch informed me that the Tall Ships would sail into New London Harbor at 9:30 am with a whole armada of interesting ships including The Eagle and some really neat thing I saw on the TV yesterday. It can carry up to 300 people (Marines?) and come right up on the beach like a gigantic hover craft. It made all kinds of waves and noise. Looked cool. I wanted to see that for myself. This is a big event, it happened 12 years ago and I didn’t get to see much of any of it. Even Ocean Beach Park was opening at 6am! They were having breakfast! Unheard of. Really, just unheard of.
So we had coffee, grabbed a to-go cup and headed down to The Wall–this is a section of private beach front property along Pequot Avenue and it is bounded by a large and long stone wall…hence the name. Normally the rich people don’t let the riff-raff–like myself– sit on The Wall, when I was kid the cops were always chasing us off of it just for sitting there watching the water smoking cigarettes. Today the rich people didn’t have a choice and neither did the cops. The Wall was packed. The shoreline was covered from the Niantic Bay to Downtown New London. Everyone came out to watch the Tall Ships Parade lead by The Eagle. New London is the The Eagle’s home port, I’ve lived here 45 years and I have NEVER seen her under sail! Not once! Kills me. So today was my big chance and I was ready. I wanted to get some really good pics.
The rich people were sunbathing and swimming on their stretch of private beaches, the riff-raff were gathered at The Wall. We picked out a nice spot and I hoped to get good pics even though it was very hazy. Oh yeah…there were HUNDREDS of boats! From tiny bass-fishing-type boats to big yachts waiting out there to greet the Tall Ships that were to come around the corner of the harbor at 9:30 with a fly-by courtesy of the US Coast Guard.
We sat there. We chit-chatted excitedly with our neighbors–who’d been there since 7:30– and enjoyed the sea breeze. I took a few pics. We waited.
We sat there. We chit-chatted. We watched a poor little old lady stumble to the sidewalk in the heat across the street. She sat there. Her idiot…granddaughters?…just stood there while she fished a bottle of water out of her bag and then struggled to open it. They didn’t even see her. Finally she held it up to one of them who just stared at for about 20 seconds then finally got the hint. Geez.
My favorite History Teacher, Mr. Weyant picked me out of the crowd and came up to say ‘hello’. We chit-chatted. I started to say someone should send the promoter a nasty email. There were literally THOUSANDS of people waiting in the sun that was just getting hotter. I’ll bet, altogether, there were 50,000 people out there waiting. AND The Tall Ships sailing up the Thames to dock at Fort Trumbull, City Pier, and State Pier, were supposed to be the “official kickoff” to SailFest/OpSail2012.
We started to sweat hard, we didn’t bring any water. Why would we? We drove 1 1/2 miles from our front door to The Wall, expected to be there…an hour. Then go home. A lot of other people did too! We smoked a few cigs. We waited. We joked about The Eagle having lost its GPS and was therefore unable to find the mouth of the Thames River.
The people next to us left. We joked that this must have been why the war lasted so long; they just couldn’t find it!
We met Christopher Shays, he was working the crowd in the nicest manner I’ve ever seen. Very personable guy and we even met his wife, she was lovely. Even though I’m a Democrat I wouldn’t mind voting for him and I’d like to switch my party affiliation just to be able to vote in the Republican Primary to help ensure Linda McMahon comes nowhere near the US Senate! Anyway, Mr. Shays was kind enough to inform us that;
The Eagle couldn’t weigh anchor! This was the reason for the TWO HOUR hold up!
Oh crap! Really? Why didn’t they just let another ship take the lead? Didn’t they realize how many people were waiting and how hot it was? They didn’t even try to get the word out. Cops were going by regularly, you’d think they might have used the loud speakers to inform the crowd of the status of the situation.
We waited until 11:45 or so but then that was just too long. Several others who had endured the sun and the lack of vendors…you couldn’t buy a bottle of water anywhere near there…they went home too.
Big sigh…I’m never going to see that ship under sail! Never. Just my lot in life I guess.
We came home, drank a ton of ice water and ran the carpet cleaner in the new ‘man cave’. Looks and smells much better in there now! Probably won’t get to do the living room or the flea bomb thing as planned today but that’s ok. One room down is a nice start.
Later today we’ll take the bus downtown…there’s no parking! If you’re coming to this massive festive event you can park at Conn. College, Crystal Mall, Waterford High School and a few other places to catch one of the ‘many’ shuttles to and from downtown. I’m hoping to sneak into the parking garage, climb to the top, and get some good shots of the crowd and the ships. The stupid Acela lines will ruin the pics–for me anyway–but there’s nothing I can do about them.
We’ll get our fill of junk food; sausage and peppers, fried dough, cotton candy, and all of that good stuff! Maybe I’ll find a new ring–yeah, like I need one of those! Or a new pretty dress.
Hoping the rains hold off until after the Fireworks Extravaganza but the weather lady said they would come to New London just as the fireworks are set to go off. That would suck. I don’t mind walking home in the pouring rain from Fort Trumbull, in fact that might be rather nice But I don’t want the big show to get rained out, they never have a rain date. Ever.
I’ll report back again tomorrow…hopefully with some great pics!