Mmmhhh.. rice and curry

Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Monday, January 8, 2007

Today, I may say something of interest. Let's wait and see.

When I arrived in Sri Lanka there was a shocking and depressing lack of tourists which has picked up a little over Christmas and New Year but seems to be slacking off a bit now. Obviously, as a tourist myself it's kind of nice not to have hoards of white man all over my festival, but there's such a lack of them that it's almost depressing for me and certainly depressing for the multitude of guest house peeps twiddling there thumbs wondering whether they've made a terrible mistake building a new guest house the year that nobody turned up! Bubs and Dillip moved from one guest house to a much nicer one and the scummy guest house phoned the good guest house and threatened to kill them (apparently).

The weather has been terrible! All rain and cloud with the blue moon type sunny day. At least that how it was, then Bubbly, Dillip and Leela went home and it's been sunny ever since... no rain, no cloud, just blue skies and sunshine, even the food tastes better!

Seems to be an increasing problem with bombs and I'm hearing more and more people cancelling their holidays here as a result of it, which isn't really helping matters here. I've just been told that 15 peeps were killed on a bus in Hikkaduwa yesterday, which is exactly where I've got to go, half way up the coast, to get a spare fin since some idiot broke it for me this morning! If I die on a bus I'm going to be really pissed off with him. If I do, please someone, go to the falafel shop in Covent Garden, ask for Simon and punch him. ... oooops. More bad karma. Speaking of which, I'm learning that if someone says to me "I'm a Buddhist, an honest man" it means they either are, or they are about to, rip me off. But, by the way, most folks here are sooo nice and friendly. You can't move in the street for people saying " hello, how are you" "which country" "where going".... But my favourite so far is the man that cycled alongside me and said "hello, what height?" I was stumped by that, I was all ready to have a conversation that I'd had fifty times already that day as the question sunk in. what height? What kind of an opening line is that? I told him 6'2" and he sat pondering on his bike for a few seconds before saying "hmmm, I think 6' is enough, don't you?" very nice chap indeed, went on to tell me how we are all the same, so we shouldn't treat anybody any differently and that life is suffering. Right on, papa.

Getting a generally bad feeling about the whole Tamil/ Sinhalese conflict, obviously I don't come into much contact with Tamils around here but I'm not getting much sense of desire to solve the problems here other than by aggression and repression. Many people think that all people are one and should be treated the same but fairness seem to have trouble stretching as far as the Tamils and I think there are some heavy propaganda issues going on. There certainly doesn't seem to be any willingness to discuss separation from the Sinhalese and an understandable unwillingness to remain Sri Lankan by the Tamils in the north.

I'm becoming a regular at all the local restaurants where I burn my face off everyday with a 40p dose of three curries, dhal and rice and bottle of pop (the sugar helps with the chilli), it's all lovely stuff which is great as the still stupidly cheap but at least four times more expensive guest house food is usually dull but sometimes worse. This evening I was beaten into submission by the driest, most horrible vegetable fried noodles I've ever had or ever expect to receive. It's great living right on the beach and with waves right outside my door but I'm suffering from lack of guest house personality and am considering a move to Memphis, that's Memphis, Tennessee. It worked for Elvis Presley, why can't it work for me? Bananas are small and sweet and 20p/kg! Mmmmhhhhh.

Ah yes, almost forgot. I was talking to some lovely peeps I met about the tsunami. They were here when it happened, staying in my guest house. Now, I'm not trying to suggest in any way that it was anything like this everywhere and the West coast was obviously more protected than many areas but the tsunami still came in a kilometre inland here. Anyway, I have been aware that I never saw any pictures of the tsunami actually happening (though I have now seen photos of the water piling into a café in Hikkaduwa) and people never seem to actually describe the wave itself coming in, just the destruction, so it surprised me when these people, one of whom was surfing at the time and throughout, that they didn't even notice the tsunami until one of their bags started floating away in the rising water! They said there was no noticeable wave as such out of the ordinary, it was just like a massively powerful and high tide, about 3 metres too high, which casually knocked down wooden structures and not so well built buildings. Weird. It's generally weird thinking that such a thing happened and amazing that so much has been rebuilt and recovered so quickly. Never having been here before it's easy to be unaware of how much has been lost, how many people were lost. It seems to have brought out the best and worse in everyone. An Italian woman who lives here said, in a particularly distressed moment, that whatever they had lost or gained, people here just weren't the same, the just weren't happy anymore.

New Years Eve was hilarious. Very many, very intense, local boys and men, high on weed, Arrack (local coconut booze) and unprescribed pharmaceuticals freaking out on the beach to a portable but suitably big sound system and random, very random, fireworks. Enough said.

Bloody mosquitoes!
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