Thursday, February 2, 2012

Farewell to Sri Lanka, Hello India!

We arrived in Kerala this morning (Friday) after a 1 hour flight from Colombo.  While travelling by taxi from the airport to Hotel Rossita Wood Castle (the taxi took longer than the flight) I couldn't help but reflect on the similarities and differences between Sri Lanka and Kerala, or at least Kochi where we're staying.  In Sri Lanka, drivers toot their horns to let the driver in front know he's about to overtake, e.g.  "Please let me pass!"  Here they seem to lean on their horns more aggressively and frequently as if to say "Get out of my way!  Here I come!"  I've noticed more women here dressed in gorgeous saris and salwar kameez (the pants, tunic and scarf ensemble);  in Sri Lanka, the women tended to dress in blouses and full calf-length skirts.  There are more men in shirts and pants in Kochi--we got very used to seeing men in sarongs (from beautiful batiks to plain solid colours and white).    (How on earth do they keep them tied up?  Answer--they have to keep tying and re-tying...)  There's a greater variation in skin colour here too, from very pale to very dark.  In Sri Lanka, the dark skin prevails, along with beautiful jet-black curly hair.  And there's way more garbage here too...  Not that SL was pristine, but people tend not to litter.

We had a bit of an adventure yesterday getting to Colombo from Galle.  We lined up for the luxury express bus, and discovered once we were on the way that it terminated in a suburb of Colombo, rather than the central bus station.  A local woman took us under her wing to find the right city bus for us to take...even to the extent of getting on the bus with us, and then off at the next light.  To find this bus, we followed her in a mad dash along and across a very busy street.  I waved good-bye to her out the window, and she reached up and squeezed my hand in farewell.  It was a lovely encounter.

As we got further into the city proper, the bus got more and more crowded, particularly with school boys in their neat white shirts and blue shorts.  One young lad of about 11 years sat down beside me, and pulled out his geography book.  I looked over at the map of the world, and pointed, saying "That's where I live."  He looked up at me with big brown eyes, saying "Canada!"  We then proceeded to have a pretty decent conversation about world and Sri Lankan geography as we looked through his book together, and he told me that he is studying in three languages at school--Sinhala, Tamil, and English.  He gave me a ball-point pen as a gift, and Lloyd produced a maple leaf pin from the bottom of his pack in return.  We ended up getting off the bus sooner than the school boys, and as the bus left the curb the kids all leaned out the windows hollering "Good bye!"  It was a lovely send off.

We arrived back at the Dephanie Beach Guest house in Negombo where we had started our Sri Lankan adventure on January 19th.  After a quick beer in the restaurant, we put on our bathing suits and played in the giant waves out front--wow, some of that surf had a lot of power--and wonderfully refreshing after travelling by a variety of means (tuk tuk, coach, bus, van...) all day.  For dinner, I had my last Sri Lankan rice and curry meal--yum, it included eggplant this time.

So, we've checked into our room, and now we'll go off and explore the area a bit.  We're here for two nights before moving on to Alleppy.

1 comment:

  1. OK, Janet and LLoyd, I am all caught up on your blog. It has been fantastic traveling through you. How on earth do you orchestrate such a trip?

    I am doing much better recovering from my kidney stone surgery.
    Book club tonight. We'll miss you, Janet. B