Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl and Perahera

Some of my military readers may not find the first part of this post very unusual, especially if you’ve been stationed overseas, but in the interest of those that haven’t, here’s a little taste of what it’s like when Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t fall on Sunday evening. Afterwards, I’ll tell you about the holiday the locals here in Colombo are celebrating.

For us, the Super Bowl started Monday morning at 5 am local time. It was a day off here for other reasons (stay tuned), but it’s not uncommon for it to be a day off for folks like military stationed in Germany or deployed in harms’ way, so military men and women can enjoy the game whether it falls in the morning or in the middle of the night. We were going to watch the game with other Americans at our rec center. Lucky for us, we were streaming the game from the internet instead of watching on American Forces Network (AFN). If you watch on AFN, there are no commercials. Isn’t that at least 60% of the reason we watch the Super Bowl? Instead of commercials, you get public service announcements, like how to recognize depression and mini history lessons.

By the time we showed up at 7, the third quarter had just started. Wow! We had some typical Super Bowl things, like adult beverages and spinach artichoke dip, and some that fit with the time of day, like waffles, sausage, and eggs. I thought it was a great football game. I’m a Chefs fan, great googly-moogly, so I didn’t have a vested interest in either team, but I guess I was rooting for the Giants just because I like Eli Manning better than Tom Brady. Last time these two teams met up in the Super Bowl, the International Man of Intrigue was off shooting terrorists and Amelia Earhart was a baby. We left the party we were at early, thinking the game was “over”, but by the time I got home and put her to bed, things had taken a turn and I ended up cheering and screaming all alone in my living room until the wee hours.

Anyway, the most exciting moment of the game for me, and everyone we were watching with, was the moment right before that crazy final touchdown. The play had just started and our screen went blue! Screams of anguish filled the air as someone dove to wake the computer! Luckily, it was just in time to see Bradshaw stop and sit/fall over the goal line! What The What?!?! With that, we watched the Patriots’ final attempt and then jumped into the pool for a swim. We were home and ready to feed the kids lunch and take naps by 10:30!

Now, it just so happens that Super Bowl Monday was also a holiday in Sri Lanka. It’s not because our Sri Lankan hosts were putting on their Giants and Patriots jerseys. Every full moon is a holiday called a Poya Day here. Poya Days are Buddhist religious holidays. Banks and government agencies are closed, along with many schools and shops. No alcohol or meat is sold in stores. This Poya Day is also the Perahera in Colombo. It is a huge celebration and parade. We were lucky enough to be invited by an acquaintance at the hotel to watch from his penthouse apartment. The view of the little Buddhist temple sitting on the water in the pond near the hotel was even more beautiful than usual. The entire temple was covered in lights. Trees all around the pond were lit up. There is a bridge to a small island and it was covered in blue lights.

Unfortunately, that’s where my story of “movin’ on up to the east side, to deluxe apartment in the sky” ends. The little explorers were not dealing well with being out past bedtime. The parade of 100 elephants, jugglers, dancers, drummers and more was supposed to start at 7 pm, but this is South Asia. Nothing starts on time. By 8 I had the screaming, wailing children in bed and was headed to the kitchen for a drink and a snack, moping because The International Man of Intrigue was still upstairs watching the parade.

But wait? What was that noise?? Could it be??? YES! Even though our room faces the wrong side of the hotel, I could hear the drumming so loudly, I stepped out into the breezeway/laundry room to look outside. Yes! I could see the turnaround point of the Perahera. I could see the elephants in all their splendor. (Apparently in the world of elephant fashion, if one is marching in the Perahera, one should wear formal attire.) I saw the dancers spinning and whirling. I heard the drums. I’d love to say I took pictures, but it was really far away. There is no way, unless I had some crazy professional lenses, that I could have gotten a decent picture. If I had taken pictures and posted them on here, it would be like looking at an ultrasound picture when you’ve never had a baby. You would all smile and nod and pretend you could see the elephants but be secretly annoyed that you have no idea what you’re looking at. Lucky for you, I didn’t take pictures. Luckier for you, I found this guy’s blog, and he did. LUCKY for MEEEE, we got tickets to go down and watch the Perahera tonight. Oh, I didn’t mention the Perahera goes on for two nights? Well, it does, and who has ten thumbs and tickets for tonight’s events? The Intrigue Family! I will try to get some awesome pictures and report back.

Oh, and if all that wasn’t exciting enough, we should be moving into our house tomorrow. Because I’m not sure if we’ll have internet from the get go, it might be a few days, but I’ll report back as soon as possible, Adventurous Readers.


  1. So glad you got to see this and can't wait to see YOUR pictures. Just make sure to include one of all of you :)
    And thanks for adding the blog link...he may have taken some photos last year but he's got nothing on you in the hilarious story department! Love reading your blog Misty!!
    Yeah for the new digs!

  2. thanks and loved the pictures.