We got in the bus. That is absolutely the best way to travel in Southern California the first time one gets to visit. I could look around and see everything without having to figure out where I was going. We went from Santa Monica to Pasadena. I saw street names and cities I knew from movies, and the cities blend into one big metropolis.
When we arrived in Pasadena and I got off the bus I was in awe at the beauty of the town nestled in the mountains. I was snapping photos when I saw one of the Rose Parade officials all dressed in a white suit. They all dress in white suits. Well he saw me snapping his photo and came over to talk to me. He said "I saw you snapping my picture. How about your friend snapping one of us together? And here is a rose, you can say you got Rosed." He placed an embroidered rose sticker on my orange Illini sweatshirt! Well, flirt that I am, I jumped at that chance. Don't have the photos developed yet, (still living in the old world with real film!).
Sandy and I then walked over to the tent area, where all the vendors sell their wares. And boy do they sell them. Well it is probably the only time I would ever be in Pasadena at the float construction, so I bought some pins, some drinking glasses, a seat cushion and a coffee mug! Then we walked over to the first tent.
We bought a "passport" and had it stamped in the first tent. There were 6 floats in that tent and it was so mesmerizing we forgot we had a whole barn to look at! The first float we saw was the Sesame Street float. People were sitting cutting up carnations into buckets. One woman was gluing green beans in a herring bone pattern on a country on globe. One country was tiny sliced carrots and Hungary was going to be soybeans. The smell of flowers was intoxicating. They were everywhere. Well we looked at everything there and then got in line (that would be the first of many lines) to see the floats in the barn. It was a very long line and we risked being late for our bus to get a chance to walk through the barn. It was worth it because we had a top down view of the floats. We saw the City of St. Louis float and about 6 others. And got our passport stamped! There are two other cities where they build floats but we didn't get to see those.
Then it was back to Santa Monica. We regrouped and set off for the Third Street Promenade for lunch. There were musicians playing and singing in the center of the street. The shops were all the usual places. We ate at Wolfgang Pucks, went to find the Belgian Chocolate shop that we saw when we where on the bus earlier in the morning, then back to the hotel to drop off our chocolate and onto the beach.
Walking along the edge of the ocean was like a dream. The sun was beginning to set and there were sandpipers walking along the edge and cormorants dipping and fishing in the waves. We stayed to see the sun get lower then walked over to the pier. That was a lot of fun and we decided to eat supper at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Of course I took the opportunity to shop while we were waiting for our table. I bought the girls Bubba Gump t-shirts. The food was really delicious.
We then walked around a little more and went back to the hotel. The next day New Year's Eve we would go to the Kickoff Luncheon. We made reservations at The Grille, a nice restaurant in the hotel for supper on New Year's Eve. Then off to bed for another fun filled day tomorrow.