After choosing a perahera fire basket to illustrate ‘fire‘ for this week’s Travel Theme challenge, Dallas asked me about them. Really, after the clouds (the elephants) they’re the stars (sic) of the perahera, lighting the path ahead, spotlighting the action, and along the way acting as portable lighters for the fire dancers. Most of all, they provide the background razzamatazz for the show, containing the fire but adding its flair to the spectacle.
Incapacitated one year, I watched from the windows of the Queens Hotel, so I thought I’d use these window shots to put the spotlight on the clouds and the stars of the perahera.
A perahera is basically a parade, or procession. The greatest perahera - the capital P perahera – is the Kandy Esala Perahera, which progresses – on an ever longer, more encompassing route – through the streets of the hill capital on the ten nights leading up to the Esala full moon in August. Think of the pomp and power of kings, of exotic and colourful costumes, dances and instruments, of the deep-rooted piety of a society seeking the blessings of the gods for an abundant harvest, factor in the jolly old British raj and the modern state aligning themselves with tradition and power, and you get several nights of parades that boggle the eyes, assault the ears and thrill beyond imagining.
Windows, I can’t resist them! Every school report which complained of incessant daydreaming was really just the story of that term’s window, and the glimpse it gave me of life outside a classroom that too rarely excited my imagination. Whether … Continue reading →
I thought I’d assemble a suite of the four elements from Sri Lanka (surprise, surprise!), beginning with my favourite, fire – a fire basket from the perahera: Being an old farmer’s girl, and a gardener, I can think of nothing … Continue reading →
I can’t think of any situation in my life when sailing off into the sunset – either metaphorically, or simply for a couple of hours twilight sailing by myself, or with a friend – wouldn’t be the ultimate escape! Colombo now has two lakes where one can take off onto the water to escape the rat-race of the city and feel the freedom of the wind in your sails – and your hair: here in the freshly dredged Waters Edge section of Diyawana Lake near parliament, and at Beira Lake, in the city.
Apropos of patterns, I want to show you the ultimate in biodegradable recycling – palmyra fences and kadjan modesty screens. From the rather scraggly dead branches of the bristly palmyra palm come fences of character and finess that are so … Continue reading →
Part of saying goodbye and letting go of my life here in Sri Lanka will be adjusting my eyes to the more mundane – or better known – flowers of the temperate zones. Before I do that, let me revel … Continue reading →
You pass the bombed out shell of the old Dutch-built Jaffna Fort and turn hard left at the roundabout, fly over a steep humpback bridge, and ahead is the startling pink of a newly painted kovil. Cross another humpy bridge … Continue reading →
The early colonial settlers – the Portuguese and the Dutch – brought, or recreated their gorgeous terracotta half-round tile roofs when they built, down around the coasts but upcountry, in the Kandyan Kingdom, things were different. Upcountry roofs bear a … Continue reading →
What a question! From the shelf-like millpond beaches of the East coast, to the coral encrusted shores of the Jaffna peninsular, the surf beaches of Arugam Bay, and of course, the tropical island idyll of palm-fringed beaches in the deep … Continue reading →
From the golden orbs of Thambilly – the King Coconut, so pure, they say, it can be used instead of saline for a drip, and certainly the world’s best hangover cure – to the vibrant orange of heliconia and tibouchina, … Continue reading →
A little gremlin has been poking around in my old archive files and I’ve discovered some shots I haven’t seen in almost forty years! Since several of them could have been tailor-made for this week’s WP theme – From Above, … Continue reading →
I hope everybody’s fine? This is the longest I’ve been away from my blog in the year or so since I began and it feels strange not to be in touch. ”Where are you?”, you might ask, “What are you … Continue reading →
We may have been on a retreat – no speaking, not even the silent communication of eye contact, smiles; no reading, writing, cameras* or music – no toys or distractions at all – but that didn’t mean our senses were … Continue reading →