I’m about to board a plane to Chennai, India with $18 to my name and just a vague outline of a plan of action for the ensuing three days. There should be CouchSurfing, a 20-hour bus ride across the country, and a 850 square foot apartment in Goa, but nothing is definite quite yet, and what happens after those three days is almost completely unknown. Bring it on, India.
I’ve been trying to decide how my three weeks in Sri Lanka have been. People ask, “How’s Sri Lanka?” and I have no conviction in my answer. There are concrete events that happened that are definitely bad and may have a lingering bitterness. My camera broke, my debit card is in some ATM on the east coast, and a few more incidents of definite sexual harassment occurred (though none quite so traumatic as the first), thus exacerbating my hatred and distrust of men. There were long, dusty bus rides and rainy walks and nerve-racking driving that weren’t the best either. Nevertheless, I can’t say I had a bad time in Sri Lanka, which must say something about this country.
In Haputale, we hiked to World’s End in Horton Plains and soaked in some great mountain sights. In Kandy, I enjoyed home-cooked Sri Lankan food cooked by my CouchSurfing host’s mother, and I had fiery conversations with a modern dancer from Montreal about terrible men, the Occupy movements, and poutine. In Trincomalee, I stayed at a Tamil couple’s guesthouse that was wrecked by the war, but they were building it back again slowly and tenaciously with big hearts, gigantic meals, and THE CUTEST MONTH-OLD PUPPY EVER THAT NIBBLED AND PLAYED AND FOLLOWED ME EVERYWHERE AND WAITED AT MY DOOR IN THE MORNING!!!! I scuba dived and explored the Irrakkandy and Pulmudai ship wrecks and got to swim with a giant sea turtle. I made pals with my rasta bro scuba divemasters who shared their coconut whiskey and mediocre weed, drove me and my luggage all around between guesthouses and failed bus departures, and then let me dive for free the next day. In Sigiriya, I climbed Lion Rock and monastery built on top of a mountain, ate some ayurvedic ganja, and then played volleyball with 20 Sri Lankan dudes next to Sigiriya Lake and in the shadow of Lion Rock – definitely the most baller set-up for a volleyball court ever. For the few hours I was in Jaffna, I saw an impressive puja at a huge kovil and ate the sweetest mango ever. And now, I’m back in Colombo and have spent the past 2 days vegging, gorging, watching movies and sharing laughs with an absolutely delightful gal, not to mention her equally lovely friends, who could single-handedly uphold Sri Lanka’s reputation against any combination of terrible men and unfortunate luck.
So, there is good and there is bad. The bad occasions are potent and notable, but I can’t focus on them. I just have to remember the hot butter cuttlefish, the smiling toothless men in lungis, the glasses of ginger beer and arrack, and the black pork curry I still have to try one day. I’ll have to make it back here and earn that conviction about Sri Lanka’s awesomeness.
Last pictures for a while: