Our trip to Sri Lanka was very diverse to say the least and reminded me of Mauritius, Sychelles, Bali and most island resort type countries.
Sri Lanka is in Southern Asia, it is an island in the Indian Ocean, south of India.
It is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, it boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. While the production and export of tea, rubber, coffee, sugar and other agricultural commodities remains important, the nation has moved steadily towards an industrialized economy with the development of food processing, textiles, telecommunications and finance.
People, animals and transport seem to co-exist side by side with no animosity or restraint. Dogs wonder aimlessly across roads or bask in the sun on the side walks, cows and goats roam around everywhere, even on the beaches (which I found rather amusing) and people are everywhere, whether walking, cycling, using a tuc-tuc, motorbike with 5 astride, in a taxi, bus, car or truck, each takes up a space of the not too wide road. Co-exist they do, there is no anger at being stuck behind a truck, merely a short tooting of the horn to say I am here and would like to overtake you, politeness abounds and the expression and sounds are all of friendliness, within a country that sorely needs help at redeveloping itself since the tsunami. People are poor and yet happiness is everywhere…. Not just for the child on the hip or the person at their side, but for everyone. Really all they want is a comfortable existence, one that provides for a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs and a safe nights sleep. 70% of the population are Buddhists, which explains the simplicity of life. The better you are in this life the sooner you will reach the divine being.
Tourists fluctuate towards the resorts and some chance the areas slightly outside of these areas, to experience a quieter less harassed holiday. Small pockets of expats can be found, dotted all over the country. When you bump into these people and chat about life on the island, there is not much to complain about. Yes, sometimes the water gets turned off or the electricity, yes the internet is not as fast as they would like it to be. In this little piece of paradise, expats are not too concerned that it takes a little longer to do things here, the people are prepared to wait, not too hasty to move forward too quickly.
We stayed in a place just outside of Galle City, called Dellawella Beach Resort. The kids had a ball and loved the freedom of being able to walk out from our little spot and straight onto the beach, which they did most mornings, and then off to eat breakfast with the staff. For a lot of our stay we were the only guests and the beach was our friend. The kids built sand castles and snorkeled most days and there was a definite bit of pink suntan happening on most of our bodies 🙂 The staff were very friendly and between the resorts local cooking and the town close by we experienced Sri Lankan cooking to its fullest.
We did a couple of tours around the island and visited tea plantations which were well tended and cared for with love, spice gardens which was an education to see how spices are grown and wild bananas and pineapples, turtle farms, a Buddhist temple where life is explained so simply, a few of the islands historical sites and a game reserve. It was heart wrenching to listen to the locals telling us about their experience of the Tsunami and the loss of loved ones and seeing the memorials along the side of the roads.
Christmas Eve was spent eating a Sri Lankan curry with the arrival of Father Xmas to dish out gifts to the 4 kids in the resort. It was all very sweet and the kids were enthralled that Father X had found them in Sri Lanka 🙂 Christmas day was spent opening the rest of the Christmas presents that Father X had stuffed into their Xmas socks and then just chilling on the beach.
We flew back to Qatar for New Year and spent a nice quiet evening with friends, just the way we like to spend News Years Eve ….. and so 2010 began for us.