Thursday, 8 May 2008

Travel Journal #2 (3 May): Colombo

Traffic in Colombo is indeed chaotic. Actually, scratch that. All of Colombo is chaotic. And that's saying a lot coming from a Brazilian. My plan before arriving here was to hire a car and drive around myself but after what I've seen today I think I'll move that from my Things To Do list to my What, Are You Crazy?! list.

I must say though that Sasanka handles himself in Colombo traffic admirably. I can't help but laugh at some of the scenes I witness and at drivers' ability to dodge incoming traffic. And when I say incoming traffic I mean it's coming from every possible direction.

This morning I had a long chat and some tea (again, very hot and very sweet) with Sasanka's family while we were waiting for everyone to wake up for breakfast. I was one of the first ones up, bame jet lag. Breakfast was nothing like any breakfast I have ever had: kiri bath (rice cooked with coconut milk and then cut in blocks) with some onion and chili salsa and the ubiquitous coconut sambol (grated coconut with chili and lime -- I think.)

Upon arrival I was told we had a party to go to the following night. It's Ruchira's and Kushil's home coming. Ruchira is Bhagya's sister. Bhagya is Sasanka's soon to be wife (I'm only getting started, describing a Sri Lankan family is never an easy task for westerns.) That meant I needed a suit, and I didn't have one because I had decided I would hire one in Sri Lanka instead of bringing my suit all the way from New Zealand.

Apart from looking for a suit I tagged along with Sasanka and Isuru (Bhagya's brother) as they had to run some errands around town, including trying out some of their own tailored made clothes for the wedding. We had lunch and did some window shopping at a mall downtown Colombo, but not before having our car searched for explosives when entering the carpark. This happens when you have bomb killings every other month.

Surreal experience at the mall. There was this woman walking with her three little children (the eldest couldn't have been older than 8 or 9) and as they walked past us all three children were staring at me with eyes wide open and kept doing so for quite some time as if to say "What is THAT?" It cracked me up actually. I waved at them but got no reaction other than the big eyes.

I took some good advice from Sasanka and ended up buying a suit for at least a third of what it would cost in Brazil or in New Zealand. I wanted to have one made which would have been even cheaper but there wasn't time. The guy at the shop was really nice and agreed to have the trousers fixed up in just a couple of hours. Sasanka reckons they only did that because I'm a foreigner.

1 comment:

Gypsy said...

Sure we cannot complain Sasanka's driving anymore!

Poor little children, must had thought the big bird from Sesame Street came out. :D