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Beautiful bride

Today was the wedding! I got up super-early and walked to the hotel the wedding was at. The preparations involved hair and makeup, but then also the bride had to get put into her sari and decorated with jewelry, flowers and shiny. She was so beautiful, but also so decked out. Everything must have weighed a ton! Then, it was time for pictures. I watched as the photographer asked the bride to basically pet the bushes, stand in some stiff positions, and sit in the lobby, right next to a bunch of magazines. The poses that he was asking for were so different than poses you'd see in the states. The wedding itself was quite the ceremony. Everything had meaning, but nobody could explain to me what any of the things meant or what any of the symbols stood for, even the people who had been through this before. It was a little sad that they were so divorced from their own culture and religion. But the ceremony certainly was entertaining. The whole time, two musicians were playing on a woodwind of sorts and a drum. Unlike the last Hindu wedding I attended, they were actually playing music, and it was pleasant. The priests sat on the floor and directed everybody- stand here, smell this, wipe your hands with this, put this here, give this to that person... There were a lot of interesting parts, like when the priest pulled out his machete and split some coconuts, when people threw rice into the faces of the bride and groom, when the bride brushed the groom's hair, and when their adorable 6 year old cousin walked them around the area. I wish I had explanations to give you for those. My favorite was the fire. Throughout the whole ceremony, there was a little campfire they kept going in the middle. I kinda wanted smores. The priest used it to light up various other items, such as lamps and bananas. Yes, for some reason, they turned bananas into candles. At the end, they put a necklace onto the bride to signify they were married (sort of like putting on a ring), but there was never a "kiss the bride" moment. After, everybody came up to the bride and groom's "thrones" and gave them blessings, well wishes, and sprinkled them with rice. Then, it was food time! The food was pretty good- rice and unhot curries plus a guy making fresh hoppers. There wasn't a western-style wedding cake, but during the ceremony, people had brought around baskets of individually-wrapped cakes, and those were the cake. People hung out and chatted for a bit, and then dissipated home. I was completely exhausted between the getting up early, the food coma, and the oppressive heat/humidity during the 5 minute walk back. When I got back to the hotel, I turned the AC,on blast and passed out. When I came to, much later, I headed into town to pick up some items, including my train ticket for tomorrow. Surprisingly, there was a sign that tonight's train was sold out, and some tourists were having issues getting on tomorrow's. I guess it's a good thing I ordered ahead. I also tried to book a seat on a group tour. The tourist desk at the train station couldn't help me, so I went to a big fancy international hotel with their own tours desk. They also couldn't help me. Both wanted to get me a private driver, which is not cheap for one person. Also, not as safe as being in a group. Also, it requires more effort on my part. I really just wanted somebody to tell me where to look and what to see for one day. I'm doing my own thing all of the rest of the days. Oh well. I walked around the fancy hotel area a bit, and stumbled upon the Dutch Hospital, which is apparently a mini strip mall with a souvenir shop carrying anything you could want, emblazoned with "Sri Lanka" in big letters. So if you want typical plastic junk souvenirs, this is where to go- not a handmade thing in sight. From there, I headed to Galle Face Green, because there was a huge festival there. On the way, several guys tried to talk to me about it and escort me there, but I wasn't really feeling that. One of them insisted that he was a barman at one of the big hotels, but I'm guessing that's a standard line, given that I'd heard it from somebody yesterday as well. Generally, the people here may smile at me, and we've had to change direction to ditch a few persistent tuk tuk drivers, but I haven't experienced any really negative attention. If anything I feel like a minor celebrity in that a couple of people who I've offered to take the group picture for or who I've asked to take a picture of me have also wanted a selfie with me. However, it's nothing like India where the kids were rubbing my elbow for good luck or people were just handing me babies to hold in a picture. I'm still not quite sure what Buddhist holiday it is, but celebrating apparently involves kite flying. There were hundreds of kites flying in Galle Face Green. Some were small, but many were larger than a person, and some were longer than a building is wide. Thousands of people came out to see the spectacle and the place was packed. At first I was surprised to see the vendors absent, but about halfway down, the food stands started. They were mobbed and it was alI could do to get in for a bottle of water. After braving the mobs for a while, I was hungry enough to look for food. First place I saw was a mall with a food court, so there I ate. My "Thai" cheese kotta wasn't so different than the one I got the other night, except it had melted cheese on it. I was a little surprised that the mall music was all American pop- Maroon 5 and such. I'd expect (and hope for) something a bit more local. That was pretty much my day, as I'm not big on wandering in the dark by myself in an area I'm unfamiliar with.

priest's stuff

priest's stuff


musicians

musicians


streets of colombo

streets of colombo


Buddhist temple

Buddhist temple


Buddha in a box

Buddha in a box


Lots of kites

Lots of kites


Lots more kites

Lots more kites


Fun kites

Fun kites

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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