Tuesday, June 22

of pubs and sporting events

Perhaps one of the coolest things about travelling out of SL on a fairly regular basis is the chance to absorb and experience cultures and people that you would otherwise rarely meet. One such culture that was starting to catch on when I left Sri Lanka is the concept of an English pub. An interesting (although not wholly accurate) guide can be found here. As an aside, if you haven't read Hulver before, you should actually sit down and read some of the articles. I find them usually informative (although more than a bit Brit-centric. YMMV)

Why this mention of a pub now, you ask... well, as it turns out, I've been spending the past few days (about a week now) in the pub more evenings than not. Sadly, it isn't getting my thesis written any faster but at least it's giving me a taste of how things are in a typical Yorkshire pub. FYI, the Brits don't drink their beer warm (yes, a friend STILL taunts me with this all the time, nyah nyah to you, Jeevs :p). Of course, this being Yorkshire (where 10C is a nice, warm summer temperature) any beer colder than room temperature is liable to give you one almighty cold (been there, done that, have binfuls of used hankies to prove it).

Most recently, I went and saw England beat Croatia in an interesting Euro2004 (yes, that's football) game. Fortunately, the French also did a smackdown on the Swiss. If they hadn't, the Greeks would have met the English and that would have been a bit of a disaster. See, one of my closest friends here is Greek and a passionate football supporter. I also have a few English friends. This is football (read: religious fanatics have nothing on these guys). Can you imagine trying to pour oil on troubled waters dividing a bunch of angry Greek supporters and a bunch of angry English supporters ? Me ? the diplomat ? ha. I think not.

That's something we don't seem to have much of back home, right ? People don't seem to congregate much in pubs and restaurants to watch games (or any sort of entertainment, really). They stay at home, watch it on TV.. That's fun too. But there is a whole atmosphere and electricity in the air when you watch it with a crowd of strangers. Have them erupt at goals, curse at misses, heckle the opposing side, chant when your side is on the attack.. If anyone reading this blog was with me at the Blizz for the Cricket Worldcup matches last year.. well, it was just like that, but less smoke, a lot more strangers and a lot more atmosphere. That's almost any pub around here, for most of the football season. Idealistic ? hell yes. You get football rowdies, drunks, people who're just mean and looking for a fight when their team loses. All of those too. But when it's good, it's VERY good. In some ways, this is what the Commons could have been.. (the joint on the ground floor of that hip Pier69.. or have the landmarks in Colombo been altered drastically since I left ?), but never built upto..


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