First Impressions From Sri Lanka
- October 27, 2015
- Milica Radović
The plan was to write a post after my Sri Lanka trip is finished, but I saw that it’s not possible. So I’m going to write the first post about impressions and later a couple of posts about culture, customs and Buddhism.
I live and teach English in a school of English language in Sri Lanka, in a village called Giribawa (on Google Maps will not be able to find it, Bing has charted).
Sweat, constantly sweating, rainforests and the people who look like Indians – this is the first impression when you land.
And then I asked a question to my host that was waiting for me at the airport: Do I need to be afraid of animals?. The answer is: “We have not seen a cobra for a few years and elephants rarely go out on the street.” So much about the animals invisibility:
Everyone eat with their hands, so I have to also. The food is very uniform, always rice with vegetables and some sauces that call curry. For them, the curry is anything that is liquid and has curry in it. They do not have flour but they use something called Fla. They put coconut in anything and everything. Most of the food is hot and spicy.
They love sweet, there is no drink without sugar. So, I always have to stress out: “do not put sugar”. First few days, I liked the food, but when you eat the same thing for 10 days, then you already get sick of eating it.
It is incredibly hot and if you are not accustomed to high temperatures you will have a big problem. Since this is the rainy season, there are frequent rain. I really like this sudden change in weather, in the morning is usually around 30 degrees and then in the evening there is tropical hot rain that is a big refreshment. Due to the frequent rainfall, vegetation is flourishing in the whole island. The whole island is actually a rainforest in which people live.
Wherever I am, they all looking at me like I am an alien. At first I was very uncomfortable but after a while i got used to it. 90% of the people I met, had never seen a white person in their life. They see white people and supreme beings. They think that all white people rich.
A smile is a universal language
I travel a lot, and there is never felt so strange and different. However, whenever they give me curios look, I give them smile and greeting Ayubowan. At that moment all barriers disappear (Ayubowan – greeting with folded hands). The combination of smiles and local greeting immediately change the strange look in a friendly one. From that moment on they are your true friends and help would you in any situation.
You get on the plane to Sri Lanka and the first thing you see is a flight attendant of Sri Lanka Airlines in beautiful saris (Sari – name for a long cloth which women wrap around the body in a special way, comes from South Asia). The first impression is quite false, because the moment you arrive, you see that. Yes, there are women who wear a sari, but these are usually women who work in an office or older women who respect tradition. Other women wear simple things that cover their knees and shoulders.
If you do not like bugs, think twice before coming to Sri Lanka. Because they have lush vegetation, bugs are everywhere, strange, colourful and gruesome. The fearsome spiders are a regular occurrence. Mosquitoes are plentiful.
And finally, three hint:
- People do not use toilet paper but have a shower next to the toilet bowl, something like in Muslim countries
- They are so short that the door height is 170 cm and constantly banging my head when I go through it
- They drive the left as in England and Cyprus. (this is because the British tried to conquer the island and only 1950. that battle ended)