Saturday, May 7, 2011

Royal Wedding in Nepal

After all the hype, the Royal Wedding sure seems like old news already. I suppose that happens when an event like the conclusion of the world's highest-profile manhunt intervenes in the week thereafter. I wonder what would have happened if the timing of Obama's announcement had corresponded with Kate Middleton's arrival at the Abbey. I think mission control at BBC would have had a meltdown or at least an interesting choice in the moment.

Royalists worldwide would have been disappointed to miss the live broadcast of Miss Middleton's arrival. I know this because I witnessed some excited Brits watching the wedding here in Nepal. I was in the resort town of Pokhara on the big day and ducked into a restaurant there just as the couple was standing at the alter. I was too late to get a front-row seat in the small but devoted crowd of wedding fans, but seemingly just in time to be booed and heckled for unknowingly blocking the view of the show when I walked in the door. I quickly shuffled to the back and took a seat, entertained as much by the audience gathered around one of the only generator-powered TVs in town as I was by the BBC live broadcast.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
The crowd and TV from my vantage. I swear there were other men there, relegated to (or seeking refuge and anonymity in) the shadows in the back of the room.

This being Nepal, the viewing of the wedding would not be complete without a few surprises. Although, after being here a number of months now, I don't think having the cable cut out at key moments during the ceremony constitutes "surprise."

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Surprised or not, my fellow viewers were not amused. But, as seems to be the case in this country, a little bit of patience cures any ill, and soon enough the connection was restored.

At first, I stayed watching out of curiosity, but ultimately I remained at the gathering for the sheer entertainment. It turns out that far from reverent, sentimental loyal subjects, these Brits had sarcastic, acid tongues that skewered their monarchs and even more so their fellow countrymen and women interviewed in the London crowds. All in good fun, or so the empty bottles of lager suggested as they piled up in the early afternoon.

I have a knack for being in odd, inconvenient places during large television events. For the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremonies I was in the Cochin Airport in India, watching China's coming out party unfold on a small waiting-area television as I awaited my delayed flight. For the Royal Wedding I may not have been in London, but witnessing the vows on unreliable cable in a room of hilarious, homesick Brits was in its own way just as unforgettable.

No comments: