Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Pensacola Christmas Parade

“Do you know they are expecting over fifty thousand people??” my friend asked me over the phone. I had suggested we meet up. “I didn’t know there were fifty thousand people in Pensacola!”

She was going, but we probably would not see one another. My son and his family were meeting me at the church and we would watch together.

I have never seen a Christmas parade like it in my life. For one thing, the weather is perfect. It is cool enough for long sleeves, even a sweater, some Pensacolans were all bundled up. No rain – I understand last year the parade was rained out. No snow – it’s been really cold all week, and it’s going to be cold again tomorrow, but today – and tonight – were perfect.

“Where will we meet?” my son asked when he called.

“I’m leaving now; meet on the steps of the church” I answered. “See you there.”

* * * *

“I’m here, but not on the steps, across the street, under the tree right in front of the school” I left a message.”

“Mom! Where are you?”

“I’m by the school under a tree – wait, I can see you, I’m waving, I’m waving!” and finally he saw me, and we all had our little space.

It was a great space for viewing the parade. A great place for a little 9 month old Happy Baby, who loved the sirens and the police and the flashing lights, and the bark on the tree. He had a ball, and then he was tired.

Here is what is hilarious. It was not a great place for parade activity. I’ve never seen a parade like this, but this is very Pensacola, or so I’ve been told. First, this is the least ‘politically correct’ parade ever. It was wonderful! Floats full of Marys and Josephs and little baby Jesus, and shepherds and angels, marching evangelists carrying bible verses – LLOOLLL, a big thumb of the nose at secularity. This town celebrates the Nativity!

The Holy Bible Float:

The sign-carrying evangelists:

The Krewe of Pompeii Float (Krewes are local social groups that form to celebrate Mardi Gras)

Krewe of YaYas Float:

Did you notice something in all those photos? Did you notice all the hands up?

Did you see all those hands up? It took me a while, but I finally figured it out, all these people want beads! And Santas are throwing beads, and angels are throwing beads, and the Blue Angels are throwing beads, and . . . Joseph and Mary are throwing beads!

I had made a strategic mistake! The woman next to me had 15 or 20 beads, all kinds and all colors, and I was busy taking photos, and I had none. I then also noticed that I was under a tree, and the tree was catching beads that should have been mine!

Time to get serious. I put the camera away and started waving with the rest.

My treasures:

Big Wooo HOOO on me; every kid in Pensacola has like seven hundred beads, but I have my start, I have two! LLOOLL, next parade, I have my priorities. No more photos. Beads!

If you want to have a really good time, come to Pensacola for one of the liveliest and most fun parades I have ever attended.

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Community, Cultural, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Florida, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | 5 Comments

Ancient Civilizations Hidden in The Persian Gulf?

I found this first thing this morning on AOL Science News

Theory Points to Civilization Under Persian Gulf

Hugh Collins

(Dec. 11) — The waters of the Persian Gulf may be hiding a lost civilization that could change our understanding of human history, according to new research.

This huge fertile stretch of land may have been home to humans from about 74,000 years ago until about 8,000 years ago, according to Discovery News.

When the waters around them began to rise, these early humans may have migrated to what is now the gulf shoreline, founding new settlements there, according to a paper published in the December issue of Current Anthropology.

New research suggests the waters of the Persian Gulf, depicted here in an historical map of the region, may be hiding a lost civilization that could change our understanding of human history.

Over the past several years, archaeologists have uncovered new evidence of those shoreline settlements.

“Where before there had been but a handful of scattered hunting camps, suddenly, over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually overnight,” Jeffrey Rose of the University of Birmingham said, according to LiveScience.

“These settlements boast well-built, permanent stone houses, long-distance trade networks, elaborately decorated pottery, domesticated animals, and even evidence for one of the oldest boats in the world,” Rose said.

Rose says such sophisticated settlements couldn’t have developed so quickly, which is why he believes even older settlements lie beneath gulf waters. If true, Rose’s hypothesis could offer a clue as to how and when human beings first departed Africa and settled in the Middle East.

This has long been a topic for debate, with some scientists saying that humans made the migration 125,000 years ago, while others put it closer to 60,000 years ago, LiveScience said.

The now-submerged slice of land would have been about the size of Great Britain, Rose said.

Since it would have received water from the rivers Tigris, Euphrates, Karun and Wadi Baton, it would have offered a fertile refuge from the nearby harsh deserts.

“I think Jeff’s theory is bold and imaginative, and hopefully will shake things up,” Oxford Brookes University’s Robert Carter told LiveScience.

“It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out-of-Africa migration. It is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory,” Carter said.

Rose admits that much work remains be done. So far, he has focused on archaeological sites on dry land and studies of geological history.

Finding some physical evidence beneath the waves of the ocean would be a major advance in proving that his theory is correct.

“We would need to find a submerged site, and excavate it underwater,” Rose said, according to LiveScience. “This would likely only happen as the culmination of years of survey in carefully selected areas.”

The waters of the Persian Gulf rose 8,000 years ago, perhaps because of the collapse of a huge glacial dam in Canada, according to Postmedia News.

This event caused water levels to rise across the world. This catastrophic event may have forced humans out of the Gulf basin and given rise to ancient stories such as that of Noah’s Ark.

“Certainly, I think there is compelling evidence to suggest that both the flood and Eden myths may be rooted in these events around the Gulf basin,” Rose said, according to Discovery News.

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Gardens, Geography / Maps, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Middle East | , , | 8 Comments