Mine used to be playing music from the back of a truck on the streets of
We met up at
Since we had a float to ride on, we didn’t stay in the sports field with the other marchers. We were directed to float 69, which turned out to be a truck masquerading as a giant pig. It also turned out not to be our float. The pig would carry our friends the members of Bo Po Mo Fo. Our float, number 38, was just up the line, and it was a sight. I doubt that the designer of the float had a grand vision. Float 38 sported colorful swathes of cloth on the side, fishing net floats painted in bright colors, irregularly shaped chunks of painted Styrofoam stuck on the stakes that surrounded the bed, and banners on both sides that said something about aliens from outer space. A gasoline powered electricity generator sat in the rear of the truck bed, and it chugged along throughout the day’s long, strange trip.
Standing above the cab on a platform was a painted dancing man wearing a blue loin cloth tied at his waist. We could see that he seemed to be wearing some type of prosthetic penis, which would have been odd normally, but at the Dream Parade, it didn’t really seem that unusual. We would later understand that everyone is welcome to make their dream come true in the parade, but that Taiwanese social norms involving nudity trump individual expression. More on that.
Before the parade began, we warmed up by playing a few numbers. Since our float was right in front of the entrance to the school, we had a lot of people taking photos and digging the music. We also wandered around at took photos of the other floats and parade participants. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly, and people were happy to gawk and be gawked at. More than one Rambler mentioned how we don’t stand out so much as foreigners in
Right on time, our float joined its place in the procession. We were right behind the Cosplay group dressed as Jedi Knights and Imperial Stormtroopers. In front of them was the giant brain and eyeballs. Following us was a crew pushing a giant fish with a bubble machine mounted on it. As we walked, several juvenile stilt walkers accompanied us down the palm lined boulevard. It took several hours to travel the 3 kilometers to the Plaza. The crowd along the way wasn’t overly large, but the lines of cars at the major intersections were. The police would open the intersections to the parade for several minutes, and then stop it for a time to let the cars cross our path before the march resumed.
It didn’t take long for us to realize the dancer on the roof of the cab had removed his loin cloth. As we passed people standing on the side of street, we saw that they were not looking at us; they were staring at the naked dancing man. They stared, they laughed, the covered their mouths, they took photos, but they didn’t cover their eyes. No, especially not the youngish women. They got an eyeful. In contrast to how I would expect the American public to react to such a sight, I didn’t see any parents covering the eyes of their children. The police were also very interested. Each officer we passed looked at the dancer. And then we began to notice plainclothes officers conferring with their uniformed colleagues. Soon, a messenger instructed the dancer to replace his loin cloth, which he did. In honor of the naked guy, we changed the words of Reefer Man to
Before long, we were passing the gate at the intersection of Renai and Chunghsiao South road and entering the plaza between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japanese era Taipei Guest House, and the Presidential Building. Our float pulled to one side of the road across near the stage that had been erected for the festival. Groups of dancers were performing on stage, and others were congregated on its sides while waiting for their turn in the spotlight. The Ramblers took this opportunity to join those marchers who had already finished in welcoming those groups that were just arriving. I never realized how many drumming groups there were in
Was the day over? No way. We had a gig at Bliss later that evening. As we left the Plaza lugging our instruments, we made plans to grab dinner and meet up again in a few hours. Some of us went to the Italian Job, and others to the California Grill, both in the Yongkang area. TC, Will, and I met in the middle of Daan Park, near the windmill (a great place to chill in the early evening) to lie in the grass and let our energy levels build up again before heading to the gig. The Rajasthan Gypsies were performing at the amphitheater stage, but since TC and I had seen them on Friday evening, we didn’t go and catch the show again. I enjoyed the music a lot but found the circus-like performance a bit tiresome.
The gig at Bliss was a party held by our friend Chris. She is leaving