Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Sri Lankan odyssey - it's about the people

This is an extension to my previous post about my Sri Lankan odyssey. I think over the two weeks that I was in Sri Lanka, I was an abysmal tourist; I didn’t go sight-seeing one single day in Colombo, didn’t stretch my feet out in the sand at the beach – watching the sun go down – like I pictured myself before I headed there, didn’t really explore the historic semblance of the capital, didn’t do too much of shopping; nothing! I have no idea how time flew while I was there. What I did however, was tour Kandy, TWICE! (Ridiculous, I know!)

The driver who was guiding a friend and me along was giving us some good insight into the history of Kandy and Sri Lanka. Following are some random facts he happened to mention:
  • ·    Lord Mountbatten had established an elaborate headquarter in Kandy from where he operated for    quite some time.
  • ·         Kandy was also called ‘God’s paddyfield’.
  • ·         The oldest fire engine in Asia the G10 10 is in Kandy.
  • ·         Marco Polo said, ‘Sri Lanka is the window to the world.’
  • ·         Clove and pepper grow naturally in Sri Lanka because of the abundance of laterite soil.

I visited a tea plantation and was taken through the entire process of tea being manufactured; right from the plucking stage till the packing of tea powder. That was quite interesting. I particularly found the sorting really cool. For those interested, the stages in tea manufacturing are: plucking and collection, withering, rolling, fermentation, tea drying, fibre extraction, sorting (according to the leaf sizes), tea tasting and packing. The Broken Orange Pekoe is the most preferred tea that is made. Apparently, the finer the tea powder, the stronger is the flavour. 

I also went to a botanical garden which was absolutely beautiful and full of florae, but, we didn’t do much there, but walk for hours. The spice garden was passable; there were a few things I knew like Aloe Vera being good for the skin, otherwise I felt like a complete idiot. I also visited the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which was as beautiful, but quite similar to a lot of temples in India. I attended Kandy’s cultural show where we saw 9 different kinds of traditional Sri Lankan folk dances: Pooja dance, Panteru Natum, Cobra Dance, Mask Dance, Mayura Wannama, Raban Dance, Ves Dance and the Fire Dance, followed by some fire walking. I’ve always wondered how people walk on burning coal. Even after having watched it live, I have absolutely no clue. Insanity!

But the place I absolutely loved in Kandy was the Pallekele stadium. When I think of the stadium, the memory of me walking along the boundary line with the World T20 theme song playing comes to my mind. It was brilliant. However, I don’t have such fond memories at the Premadasa in Colombo – which is a shame.
Before I headed out, I wanted to visit the Ministry of Crab in Colombo, but couldn’t. The only place that I did visit which was in my list of must-visits was the Cricket Club Café in Colombo. I loved the memorabilia there from different periods in time. Someday in the future, I’d love to own a café like that. The food is great, so is the ambience; a must-visit when in Colombo. But like I said earlier, I was a terrible visitor and I have to go back to Sri Lanka someday in the future to visit the places I missed out on this time around.

What I did manage to do on my trip to Sri Lanka is however, meet some amazing people! There are way too many people who have contributed in their own way to make this trip very special for me, but a few made it one that would always be very close to my heart. Here are those few: Farhan – my fellow blogger – without whom my experience in Colombo wouldn’t have been half of what it has been; a great friend, my partner in crime, and a heaps of fun; John – who babysat me through my entire journey and took care of everything under the sun; Rob – who showed me how the commentary box functions, for the hilarious conversations we had over the two weeks, and who patiently kept up with me when we toured Kandy all day; Jamie – who was great fun to hang out with, apart from all the help he was in Kandy; Alan – for being one of the finest people I have ever met and having reinforced the belief that modesty is a fine quality; Christy – for that brilliant conversation over dinner one evening and giving me an insight into presenting; Gav – for his wonderful insight into direction and broadcast; Simon – for his amazing sense of humour, his interview and his legendary tip-off; Russel – for his fantastic interview along with the ‘best advice I’d ever receive’ and also for that fun-filled lunch with some fantastic people; KB – for being absolutely adorable and heaps of fun to watch the games with; Joe and John – for being wild and SO MUCH of fun and to know how to party; and lastly, Henry – who has been an amazing friend since and keeps the Sri Lankan dream alive!  I’m just really grateful to have met all of them and spent as much time as I did with them. It was an absolute pleasure and wouldn’t have been the same without any one of them. Thank you!

It is about the people at the end of the day, isn’t it? I did some crazy shit, made some great friends, heard new stories, understood different perspectives and smiled a lot more than all of that. That’s what made it all worth it. I’m just so glad I got such an opportunity that has been life-changing on various levels. It is one thing to believe in the magic of your dreams and another to live them… I’m on my way there.


  1. Crazy stuff !! you definitely should visit Sri Lanka as a tourist girl!

  2. Thank you, Heshan! Thank you for making my stay brilliant. I will definitely come over soon and we shall catch up! :)