Trip Start Nov 07, 2013
21Trip End Jul 20, 2014
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The old Sanskrit name for Sri Lanka is Serendip - and it is pure serendipity that Anna and I picked such an enjoyable destination in which to meet. Our time has been made even better because, the people here are ludicrously lovely!
The smiles you exchange with people here are so genuine; they make you feel like you're all in on the same joke
The first thing that happens when you see anyone (not just the excited children, everyone!) is a shout of "hello, how are you?" To which you must reply "I am fine , how are you?" because most other responses get lost in translation! The next question is "what is your country" which, when they hear England, is followed by a list of famous UK cricketers to which I can only pretend to appreciate. A final question is "where are you going"...more often as not so that they can help you get there! Anna and I left our last bus ride recipients of an invitation to stay at a local family home and clutching the phone numbers of three other families and friends in Sri Lanka and London in case we were in the area. A lovely elderly gentleman helped us off at our stop and took us to the best curry house in town before arranging a tuktuk to our hotel. He didn't expect anything at all in return. The ticket inspector on a long train journey offered us a tour of the engine room and arranged takeaway curries to be passed through the window to us! Sri Lankan's pride in their country seeps out of every pore; time and again people have gone out of their way to make sure we enjoy our time on their island.
Such friendliness has enabled us to enjoy traversing the island by public transport without most of the stress sometimes encountered in other countries
And man oh man, the food here is good!!! My favourite food is unsurprisingly the unhealthiest: 'short eats' are little deep fried take-away snacks. They can be anything from home made samosas to small chilli donuts, to chickpea and corn balls deep fried in spicy chilli oil. When you sit down somewhere for a drink they will often bring a selection of short eats to your table, and you pay for what you eat from the tray. It is slightly disconcerting that everyone gives all the choices a good poke and squeeze before making their choice, but you soon get over this and enjoy being allowed to do it to!! If you get short eats to take away you'll leave with them neatly wrapped in paper bag made from yesterday's maths homework or last years phone book.
Another favourite, hoppers, don't sound too appealing but they are yummy little fried bowls made out of ground rice mixture
And did I mention we saw a baby wild elephant...so close we could have touched it? That 'jumbo jolly' Turkish delight flavoured ice creams are only 15p? That you can watch the sun go down over the Indian Ocean from an infinity pool on a deserted beach... Surely you can't need any more persuading To come and see Sri Lanka for yourselves!
Still a few weeks left on this special island then on 17th March I fly to Laos for a month and then on to Myanmar (Burma) for another month. If you are at a loose end (!) come and spend a week or two with me!!