Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bye Sri Lanka

As the setting sun melts into the horizon, bows down to make room for the moon and closes its eyes on the day, our last day in Sri Lanka, we sit silently sucking in the salty ocean breeze hoping the scent will linger in our nostrils long enough to see us through the next six months. Tomorrow that scent will be replaced by a heady elixir of exotic spices, cow dung, incense and urine - a now familiar smell that still sits uneasily on my skin, in my hair and through my clothes. The sound of waves dancing in the ocean will be replaced by the chaotic hustle and bustle of horns and the sounds that only a billion people crammed into one small country can make. I am nauseated by the thought of returning to India but excited all the same. Just like the country itself, my emotions about the next leg of our adventure conflict and contradict each other. Tomorrow we will return to India where I will prepare for and sit my final exams before travelling the country.

For the past week or so, Brent and I have hopped from one golden sand beach to the next including Mirissa, Unawatuna and Hikkadua. Being off-season, the beaches are near empty but it’s hard to see why as the days are still long and hot and the rain is yet to arrive. The exotic coconut lined beaches are frequented by men with baby monkeys on their backs, pythons slung round their necks and cobras in their bags trying to coax unassuming tourists into having a pat or cuddle (for a small fee of course!) This drives me crazy as I am sure the monkeys have been stolen from their mothers and the cobras have had their fangs pulled out as one tout is all too happy to let it strike him over and over again. We don’t pat the animals (although a few years back I would have been just another naïve tourist) and I glare at the men every time they stalk past us. On several occasions I am graced by the presence of a couple of sea turtles while swimming in the ocean and during our stay on Hikkadua beach, a regular school of reef sharks lurk in the shallow waters just outside our room.
Sri Lanka truly is a magical place to visit. Rolling carpets of tea leaves one minute and rows of coconut palms in tropical paradise the next. Now that the war in Sri Lanka is well and truly out of sight and the majority of the tsunami damage has been rebuilt, I think tourism in the country will boom. It may just be the next Thailand or Bali!

another beautiful Sri Lankan sunset

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