It’s 38 above, not a drop of booze is on sale for four straight days and Colombo is lit up with thousands of lanterns that look like ghosts while people give out (and line up hundreds deep) for free food and sickly sweet soft drinks on every street corner.
A bad joke? A bad acid trip?
Nope. It’s Wesak weekend again – a time when Colombo goes mad and people take to the streets like no other time of the year. In fact, it’s maybe the only time of the year the streets are crowded with foot traffic after the street lights come on…or are supposed to come on?
Last year, we weren’t exactly sure what to do with ourselves, so we got the hell out of dodge. This year we decided to stay and take our chances. It’s Buddha’s birthday (and death and enlightenment too) and Sri Lankans are pumped! (Completely sober, but still pumped just the same.)
Here’s what we did to join in the fun on this holiest of full moon Poya days.
Here’s a close up of the lanterns that are hung everywhere in the city and lights that are draped across many of the streets. Very ghost like.
Walking around at night, most neighbourhoods look like this – Buddhist flags and lanterns-a-plenty.
A close up of some lanterns. Much like the patio lanterns made famous by Kim Mitchell in Canada so many years ago.
Where are you from? Where are you going? What you think of Sri Lanka? Walking among the masses on Wesak you face these questions from young fellas just like this over and over and over again. I found out they stop in their tracks if you say Japan for the first one and quickly blind them with the flash of your camera.
Super moon in Sri Lanka – not looking so super.
A lot of scary masks were on display in the streets. Somehow Wesak and Halloween seem to be mixed together?
This is the temple on Beira Lake in downtown Colombo all lit up.
More temple magic on Beira Lake with Colombo high rises in the distance.
On Sunday we spent the day at the Mt. Lavinia Hotel pool. About a 25-minute tuk tuk ride from our house, this is a view of the beach from the pool. You can see downtown Colombo in the distance.
Another view from the pool. Not too shabby.
This jazz band serenaded us all afternoon by the pool. Pretty good licks.