Thursday, October 25, 2012

A pictureless post ...

Ok, ok, we've had pictureless posts already because of technical difficulties, but this one is about some things we've done where we didn't take photos anyway.

Last night in Paris
Saturday night we went to an underground art show. Not so much underground in the sense of illegal, though it probably was technically breaking some zoning codes since it was held in a residential building, more underground in the sense that the artists were all more or less complete unknowns. The "gallery" was the staircase and hallways (and one room) of a cheap apartment building. Mostly photography, some"site-specific" installations, and one participatory show  (which we missed). Very avant-garde, very pretentious artists (that's not just my opinion either, Nico's Parisian girlfriend who is studying art history at the Louvre said the same thing), and a painfully earnest curator, and I don't pretend to have understood any of it, but it was certainly an interesting experience and I'm glad the world is big enough to have such things in it.

Since we started out the night doing something so very, very Parisian, we saw no need to quit while we were ahead, so after dinner we went to a little hole-in-the-wall bar that serves absinthe the traditional way: a slotted spoon is placed over a glass, and a sugar cube is put on it. The absinthe is poured into the glass, with enough poured over the sugar to coat it. Then the cube is lit on fire and the sugar allowed to melt into the drink. Once the flame has gone out, water from a small spigot is poured in, dissolving the remaining sugar and diluting the drink to something a bit more palatable. I asked Nico if he'd ever seen the green fairy. He said, "No, but she's around."

After an evening of watching traditional dancing (for which Em has composed a post with pictures and video...but unfortunately that's one of the technical difficulties mentioned above, so look for it soon!) in Kandy, we decided to go to the Temple of the Buddha's Tooth, which is right on the lake. The reason for no pictures of such a place? Confusion, mostly. The sign at the ticket Booth listed an additional fee for cameras, which seemed neither exorbitant nor extraordinary, so when Em asked for two tickets, I said "and a camera". To which the ticket agent simply responded "No cameras." Which I assumed was because we were there during one of the twice daily prayer times, when they open the chamber with the reliquary for viewing (not the relic itself, they only open the reliquary to display the tooth once a year). However, there certainly WERE any number of people taking pictures, and one sign even asked visitors not to take pictures of people (presumably implying that pictures of the statues, art, and architecture were a-ok), but by that point Em and I had already decided to err on the side of respect, and I let my camera be. Best guess is the ticket agent was just cutting us a break, but I'm happy with the outcome anyway; it was nice to look around and read the plaques and absorb the atmosphere without always looking for the next great shot. And it turns out the ticket came with a mini-DVD, so anyone dying to see what we saw need only fly out to Burkina to watch it with me; no need to go all the way to Sri Lanka!

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