First breakfast. Coffee and a whole lot of champagne and orange juice. Nothing like a few mimosas to start the day.
“Guess the sky has already won this waterfight.”
Regardless of drizzle, headed to the park in search of action. Spotted a group of oddly dressed hooligans. They looked like they were stepping off the set of Wizard of Oz… One in a Rudolph the Reindeer suit (too small – his frontal wedgie was painful to look at) and the others were costumed in a random hodgepodge of colorful attire. Every one of them was armed with water balloons.
“They seem suspicious,” I said, “Lets follow ’em.”
The three of us hung back a bit – lest they realize they were being trailed. Then one person zoomed by on a bicycle, adorned with wild face paint.
“Bet he’s going to the waterfight too,” we mused, “But then again, this is Portland.”
We shared a nod of understanding. Around here, weirdness is the norm. After a few more face-painted bikers crisscrossed our path, then we figured they MUST be involved. But we were wrong. We never saw them again.
Made a big circle around the park, before we found a bench and took a seat. It was 1pm in the afternoon, and we’d just sipped no less than two bottles of bubbly between us. We needed a break to get our heads together. Maybe this thing wasn’t going to happen! Buzz-kill.
As we were getting up to leave, toward us walked a silly man, dressed from head to toe in cammo. Cammo booty shorts, cammo tank top, cammo headband, and of course, some war paint on his face.
“Are you guys here for the water balloon fight?”
Not wanting to be subject of a sneak attack, I replied, “Nooooo, just innocent civilian bystanders here.”
“Well you should go. Right over there,” he said, pointing toward a large canopy of trees.
A row of picnic tables sat in the middle of an area the size of a football field. With enormous trees protecting us from the rain, we could hear it, pitter-pattering, never felt a drop. The three of us perched ourselves on a table in the middle to watch the show. Others piled their belongings near us, figuring since we were innocent civilian bystanders, this was going to be the Safe Zone.
Cammo Guy gathered everyone around to explain the rules, he said, “because we all need structure in our lives.”
There were two light posts at opposite ends of the field, each supplied with buckets of water balloons. Some of the balloons were filled with colored paint. The crowd was divided into two teams and the object was to get from one side to the other, without getting hit by a paint balloon. Paint balloons send you back to the beginning to start your approach from scratch.
Cammo Guy then distributed strips of pink or orange ribbon to the two teams accordingly, and sent everyone to their respective sides of the field. One dude, already wearing his pink strip around his head like Rambo, also had a fancy camera with a HUGE telephoto lens. How on Earth did he plan to participate and use that thing at the same time?!
Camera-man thought the better of it, because he was coming toward our safe zone, stashing his camera in a backpack, clearly planning to store it next to us.
I just had to ask, “How were you planning to shoot and play with water balloons at the same time? Want me to shoot some for you?”
He was happy to let me! He introduced me to the dials on his (quite heavy) piece of machinery, then handed it over.
He pointed to the camera, “Six thousand dollars.”
Promised I’d take care of it.
Within 20 minutes, the war was over. Everyone was drenched and happy, and I got a ton of great shots!
We didn’t exchange info, but wasn’t hard to find the guy on Facebook. Here’s hoping I get to copy the images and share them with you! Stay tuned.