I visited Rhode Island for the first time on Saturday. A friend from MIT, Toyya, was camping at Burlingame State Park and I joined her and others for the day, hanging out at the beach.

After lunch, while others were napping, I decided to drive up to Providence, which I had passed through on my way to the campsite. Traveling with me was another MIT alum, Jizi. While exploring the mall (to kill time and in search of a car charger for my phone), we struck up a conversation with one of the vendors in the mall who suggested that we check out WaterFire.

Looking at the site linked above, I just realized that we missed a lot of the performance portion of the event. From what I observed, the event begins with fire jugglers performing to music on gondolas. After their performance about 100 small bonfires are lit along the river walk. Jizi and I were not standing along the main bridge so while we could see the fire and hear the music we did not see much of the fire handling.

I did, however, take pictures:

…and a video:

I must say that I was quite impressed by Rhode Island. The people there were quite nice, parking was cheap ($1 for the whole 5 hours, which was supposed to be 1-2 hours), and the city was easy to navigate since they actually had road signs! Compare this to Boston where the people are loud, rude, and obnoxious, it cost me $30 to park for about 3 hours at the North End when my parents visited for graduation, and driving is a pain since the roads are in a horrible shape and what few road signs exist are placed in locations that make them absolutely useless (Example: Driving west on Memorial Drive past MIT the road splits and will either take you to Kendall Square or into Boston. The sign is so far away far into the split that you cannot read it until you’ve already taken one of the paths!).

My only complaint (which is the complaint I have everywhere) is that the speed limit was low (40 and 50 MPH on the highways); however, going 90 MPH wasn’t much of a problem last night since there were no highway patrols.

Go see Providence and check out WaterFire. If nothing else, you can have dinner at Ruth’s Chris.