Fireworks at the Rose Bowl

I went to the Rose Bowl to watch fireworks. It was a spontaneous decision. While I was browsing the internet in the afternoon, I suddenly wanted to get a new experience – taking the public transportation to the bowl and see the crowds celebrating this holiday. I was there many years ago with Anchi and the students from Paris, but I thought to revisit the spectacular show would be a good idea. I checked the Google map and felt excited that going there only needs one bus ride and 2 miles of walking. I made the decision and asked Henry if he wanted to come with me. He had no interest, so after we went to the Ralph’s and got some fruit and chip, I asked him to drop me off at the Olive/Temple City bus stop. We didn’t see the bus, so he decided to drop me off at the corner of Orange Grove and Rosemont, where the bus 267 stops for the Rose Bowl.

After Henry had dropped me off, I followed many people walking down the Rosemont. I passed the famous Gamble House which was at the Orange Grove. The beautiful architecture of Green and Green style caught my eyes. I told myself I had to visit it some other time. The guards and barricades blocked all the cross streets on Rosemont. Visitors were not allowed to drive through or park in the residential areas. I fast forwarded my pace, realizing the Kidspace Museum is located here among the mansions and big gardens. I reached the parking lot. Unsurprisingly, the sea of cars and tents, exciting and relaxing people filled up the vast space already. People were in beach chairs, having food or chatting. Some were dancing, and kids were running around or playing games. Some generators charged the amplifiers to broadcast loud music. A radio station was hosting the program on a portable stage, and the singers through microphone promoted exciting yells and cheers. Food and game booths were at the east side of the lawn with many people buying and playing.

I walked through everywhere to looked at people. They were friends and families in groups equipped with grills, tables, food, stereo, chairs, blankets and games. They must be the frequent picnickers. Many young people were singing and dancing before the phone cameras. The adults were busy cooking or playing with kids. It was full of festivity. I couldn’t imagine myself being one of them in a family so energetic and free willed. There was no surprise that only a few Asians were in sight, and no tents belong to them. Latino and African Americans were the majority as far as I could see.

After I had walked all around the bowl, I learned the geography of the surrounding — the names of the streets, their directions, and the locations — thanks to the Google Maps. Thirty minutes before the show started, I sat on the curb of the sidewalk (there was no traffic at all.) to check the route going home from the Gold Line station. The sun finally set, but the show would not start until 9 pm. I had decided not to pay $15-ticket to watch the show inside of the stadium. I did it last time so this time should be different. I searched the spot that could get the best view and settled at the entrance where the Rose Bowl sign is. I imagined seeing the colorful fireworks bursting behind the palm trees, which crisscrossed the structure and drew the silhouette that symbolizing Southern California. To prove my choice, I saw all the network TV’s vans, which parked there and their cameras set on the lawn, as the evidence. In front of me, a lone photographer with a big bag was focusing his camera, and another two guys sat alone waiting quietly.

The show started with a big boom while the golden sparks were shooting rapidly to the sky. People cheered and shouted. Then we all quieted down to enjoy the spectacle. Fire with colors was bursting and making varieties of shapes in the dark sky. I limited my photographing from the iPhone because I wanted to catch the sight with my eyes and enjoyed the real adoration. I took some shots at the beginning then put my phone into the purse. I was counting the kind of colors: gold, white, red, blue, purple, pink, yellow and green….They were spectacular. The bursting light forms a flower, a cone, a circle, a line, the showering sparkles, and the stream of stars. They are here and there, high and low, slow or intense. In the end, clapping, cheering and whistling orchestrated with the loud and intensive multiple-color fireworks, which lightened the whole sky with firing sparkles and thick smoke.

The show was over at 9:30. It only lasted for 25 minutes. I thought there must be something more, but people started to get up and pack up their chairs. Whoever with light procession was leaving. I accepted the fact and walked towards the route I came. The crowds walked fast on the road I took, but I raced them. Cars jammed on the narrow road (Rosemont). More people were on foot than in the cars.

We walked past the roads nestled with multi-million dollar mansions and knew that we only come here once a year. For many of them, it’s a ritual that passing down the generations, and they can’t disappoint their kids not to do it. So, they must have already marked this event into their calendar.

I walked two miles: from Rosemont to the Orange Grove, the Walnut, the Fair Oak, then on the Holly to get to the Gold line’s Memorial Park station. It was 10:20 when I got on the train.

Henry picked me up at the Arcadia Station 15 minutes later. I soaked my feet, which had labored 6 miles, in the warm salt water while having potato chip and watching British Baking show on TV. The adventure on the July Fourth came to an end.


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