Day 9 in Sri Lanka

Here’s the latest update:

I’ve kind of been laying low. No major adventures to report – I’ve been hanging out in suburban Colombo (the capitol of Sri Lanka), helping take care of my cousin’s baby (my god-daughter). I’ve definitely been smoking too many cigarettes.

Last Sunday we went to Mt. Lavinia beach, only to find out that 2 boys had just died there, about two hours before we got there. It’s monsoon season, and the waves are rather high and the current is deadly. I know all the beach people on that stretch of ocean, and one of them invited me to come out for a swim in search of the missing bodies. Skeptically, I joined them. The best swimmer (and also the unofficial lifeguard) was in front, wearing flippers. I was right behind him in the ocean, with no swimming paraphernalia save trunks, and we were tailed by two other guys, both of whom had some type of swimming aid. The waves were freaking huge. Definitely a couple of stories high. I was a little worried at first, but when I realized I was right behind the best swimmer on that beach, a man who knew the flow of that stretch of ocean and the direction of its currents, I felt reassured and regained my confidence. Well, swimming during monsoon season is definitely a way to be reminded of Mother Nature’s immense power. We didn’t find the boys. When we returned to the beach, we were surrounded by a mob of people, all curious to find out what we discovered.

Save Sunday, this week has been largely uneventful. The past few days have yielded quite a bit of drama, none of which really has anything to do with me. I just happen to be the idiot spectator:
Two days ago, my cousin’s wife Niroshi and I decided to take a walk with the baby. My cousin Roshan was at work. Our walk was essentially a ploy to find out what their maid did while there was no one else in the house. I had set up my digital camera to record up to 15 minutes of video, and positioned it in a location that yielded the best view. We had also left Niroshi’s purse out, in full view of the camera, with money inside. Having returned from the walk, we watched the video, and discovered that the maid had in fact entered the room, gone through Niroshi’s purse and taken some money. Later, when confronted about it, she denied it, even though there was proof. Needless to say, she lost her job that night and was sent home. Honestly, that lady gave me the creeps. The first day I got there, and intermittently during my stay, I would be going thru my bag, look up and see her watching me like a hawk. Creepy!
Well, with no one else in the house to help Niroshi with the baby, I’ve been obliged to stay during the day instead of frolicking like I would want to. The bright side is that I’ve read almost all of the Harry Potter books, and I’m about halfway through the most recent one, “The Order of the Phoenix”.

Drama part II

Niroshi got a call yesterday, and found out that one of their friends’ wife was missing. She had left to visit her mother that morning, and never made it there. So, people started panicking. I just kind of sat there and took it in. I never know what to expect from life anymore. Anyway, this guy’s wife calls later in the day from an unknown cell phone, says she’s ok, and that he shouldn’t worry. Click. They somehow managed to trace the phone number, and along with contacting the police and various “underground” connections, managed to find out that the dude’s wife left willingly, and that there might be another guy involved. So, here I am, on vacation, getting the the feeling that I’d much rather be home than dealing with all this hoopla.

Drama part III

Last night, Niroshi got a call from another one of their friends. This dude had gotten trashed, punched a cop, and was calling them to bail him out of jail, which they did. Turns out, for only about US$20. If you want to puch cops, do it here, because it’s cheap. Of course, they beat you up too. Whatever.

I’ve been feeling a little edgy, staying cooped up so long. But I got out today, went to run some errands, and hit an internet cafe, where I am now. I was hoping to upload some pix too, but the computer I’m on doesn’t seem 2 be reading the CD-R I burned too well. I will send another email once I get some pix up.

My plans for the next week? Well, I want to hit the ancestral land in Kurunegala, which is about 2 hours north of Colombo by car. I’ve got an uncle, and aunt, and 2 cousin-sisters living there. After that? I dunno. Hopefully I’ll challenge myself to new heights, rather than staying in a comfort zone.

I miss you all. Any bit of contact is appreciated. It’s amazing how much one can take people for granted when they are within reach. I would love to have the power to teleport any and all of you here to be with me. Sometimes it’s strange having no one awfully close to you to spend time with.



Posted: July 30th, 2004
Categories: blog, culture, travel
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