(Though to be honest, K. Perry, I’ve never felt like a plastic bag. Ever.)
In my country, July 4 is known as “Philippine-American Friendship Day”. It used to be our nation’s Independence Day before President Diosdado Macapagal switched it to June 12, which was our independence from our Spanish conquerors.
At this point, I just want to say a huge “Ha!” to my grade school history teacher who thought I’ve learned nothing just because I opted to do something more productive in class than listen to her.
Bitch, I had Encarta.
Anyway, the 4th of July isn’t even a non-working holiday in the Philippines, so I was excited to spend my first 4th of July in the USA, see what the fuss is all about.
The plan was to watch the fireworks in Embarcadero. We arrived there early in the afternoon so that there will still be a place to park without having to hike halfway across the city. I instantly regretted my outfit choice — cargos and a tank top. The wind was brutal to my tropical climate-bred body! At this point, we had ran out of vodka and unlike my four companions, I was not part of a couple, so there was absolutely nothing keeping me warm. I had to buy a cheesy “I ♥ SF” sweatshirt from one of the souvenir shops lining Fisherman’s Wharf.
To kill time before settling on a spot to watch the fireworks, we went to Ghirardelli Square. Since it was a place named after a chocolate brand, I was immediately game to check it out when the suggestion came up.
We decided to share a sundae, which at first I was all, “What, we should get one each!” but three of us girls couldn’t finish the one– and none of us are shrinking violets when it came to eating .
We also dropped by Kara’s cupcakes, which are cupcakes made of all-vegetarian ingredients. Okay, I’m not really sure if I have that info right but the fact doesn’t make a whit of difference. Cupcakes are cupcakes and cupcakes are delicious.
After we had our fill of sweets, a hotdog stand caught the eye of my companions. They claimed that I absolutely had to try the “dirty dogs” which were bacon-wrapped hotdogs with a bunch of toppings. I balked at the $4 price, even if my cousin was paying. Especially since he was paying.
So, was the almost PHP200 hotdogs worth it? Well, it was very delicious (bacon is always delicious) but it was nothing new. I’ve had practically the same thing at Smokey’s for PHP75.
After the food part of the day, we walked up and down Fisherman’s Wharf. I was afraid of running out of camera battery before the fireworks even begin so I only snapped a few photos.
Most of the spots were already crowded at this point, especially the ones near the bandstand.
Oh, and there were some people doing laps in the freezing waters. Apparently they were training for this triathlon called “Escape from Alcatraz” and they couldn’t miss a day of training. Yup, people really do these things. Some of them do it for fun too.
Nothing to do but try to keep warm under the blankets and wait at this point.
And take group shots, of course.
Then finally, it was time for the main event:
I have a thing I do when I see fireworks — I identify the element or compound that gives off the different colors based on the flame tests we did in high school. I’ve learned to do this in my head though, because shouting “Red! Calcium! Yellow… Sodium!” gets me a lot of weird looks.
It’s fun though. And educational.
After the fireworks display, it was a long walk to the parking lot with the masses but it was well worth it. My first Fourth of July was pretty great.