Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bastille Day in Marseilles - videos to come

I’m back in Marseilles at the home of my cousin who is eight years younger than my father and also my godfather. I have been very close with his family for my entire childhood when me and his kids would play in Beirut in the summers. It has been awesome reconnecting with them since they have moved to France about five years ago. I visited them last year twice while studying in Copenhagen, and now with another opportunity to be with them before heading off to Portugal.

Bastille Day is the French Independence Day. My cousin Nanor and her boyfriend Mano took me down to the Marseilles port where we witnessed quite a spectacle. Fireworks were to begin at the port at 10pm, and we arrived about an hour and a half before, where not a minute passed without some kind of amateur firecracker went off in a dense sea of humanity. One nearly hit Nanor’s head.

After a few hours of waiting and being joined by more Armenian friends, the fireworks began later than expected, much later, at midnight. It was worth the wait. I have never, ever, in my life thought that fireworks could be a true art form until this night. This display in Marseilles seemed to be more like a glorious cohesion of symphony and ballet than it did mere fireworks. Colored explosions rocketed not only from boats lining the entire harbor, but also from forts overlooking the harbor. I hope the videos below can give a hint of how incredible it actually was to see how fireworks can create mood and movement, tone and spacing, energy and tranquility, like a symphony or ballet.

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