I started my long journey to Sri Lanka from Bangkok at 11am on march 7th and after 2 uneventful flights, a celeb sighting and an eight hour layover in Mumbai I arrived at 4 am to this beautiful country. Sri Lanka is unlike any another county that I have visited. It is "diet India" or "India lite" it is hot, crowded, busy, and wonderful. My first stop was the city of negumbo where I met up with Dan (the funny British guy I met on the village trek in Burma) we spent the day exploring the bustling town, getting lost along the way (he is possibly the only person alive with a worse sense of direction than me). there is such an energy in the town that is different from the Asian countries I've been to. I am not sure how to describe it. But I love it. We walked along the beach dodging garbage, dogs, birds, crabs and the ever annoying touts. We ended up in a little Muslim village (we walked the opposite direction of our guest house and were lost) there was a giant wedding going on
. some people were thrilled to see us, showing off their children and their accomplishments and others were just down right upset to see us. We were stared at and yelled at and clearly unwelcome. It was the first time of my trip and Dans (he's been away from England for 16 months) that we have felt such hostility. And as we were discussing this a woman came out of her house and invited us in. now as my good friend Oscar described in his blog with wisdom beyond his years " Upon her approach my automatic defense mechanisms immediately set in motion. As a, by now, fairly seasoned traveler, I have developed an immediate mistrust of any friendly, generous or voluntary acts of kindness in which money has not yet changed hands". Sri Lanka is especially messing with my head because about half the people are genuinely interested and kind while the other half see you as rupees to be had. We decided that this woman was nice enough with a lovely smile and we were exhausted from walking for hours in the sun. Her house was small and clean, it had one bedroom a living room and a kitchen/bathroom. It was right along the beach and connected by a maze of semi enclosed and covered "hallways" to other homes,belonging to her sisters and extended family. We were quickly introduced to most of the family (17 in total). Sri Lankans start families young and keep going till they can't any longer. This woman had 5 sisters and 2 brothers. All but 2 survived into adult good which is a great statistic and unusual apparently. She herself had 4 children already
. We learnt alot about local beach life. Children go to school for half the day then help with the family for the other half. Religion and family seem to be the two most important things, in that order. Which makes sense to me. Life can be hard here. Especially during the civil war which only ended in 2009. People here need to have Hope that if they are good in this life, deal with all the heartache, disease, poverty and work hard they will be rewarded with an eternity in a blissful heaven. It's a concept and feeling I will (or at least Hope not to) ever understand unless I hit rock bottom as I lead a privileged life that already seems like heaven (without being to cheesy). We spent about an hour with this family looking at photos, telling stories and playing with children.we headed back to the guest house where we took a much deserved and much needed dip in the ocean. We ended up swimming and playing in the waves with two local boys ages 16 and 13. They were very curious about life in England and Canada and had an endless amount of questions that we were all to happy to answer. We watched the sun set from the ocean as flocks of beach birds sang to the sky. I had my first taste of the Sri Lankan meal rice and curry. Oh my goodness it is possibly the best meal in the world. It is so delicious and comes with 6 to 9 dishes of curry, dalh, vegetables etc... I thought the food in Thailand couldn't be beat, but this blows the competition outta the park. It probably has something to do with the seemingly endless spice gardens
. I think most of my time here will be spent consuming food, and in pretty excited for it!,
News of the missing Malaysian air flight has been dominating my thoughts over these last few days and I can't help but feel so lucky in my travels. The worst that has happened to me is the flu (knock on wood). I have flown with Malaysian air twice since being out here and been on several other low cost carriers with at least 6 more flights to go before I get home. Every traveler knows that there us a certain risk of danger when taking transportation especially in a third world country. But no one really ever expects it to happen to them. I feel guilty but must admit that one of my thoughts was "thank goodness it wasn't my flight" (it occurred the day I flew from India to Sri Lanka). This incident is especially heart breaking for the families due to the mystery of the situation. My heart and thoughts go out to everyone involved.