It has been 2 years since I visited Sri Lanka, the memories never fade, I can still remember the lush green trees, the clean and beautiful shoreline, and just how tiny it was.
The only thing I regret about the visit was the fact that I have no camera or even a camera phone. The two Bulgarians I met and we went to tour the popular lagoon together were carrying a camera, though we snapped some photos together, I didn’t have their contact to request copy of the photos, its just so regretful.
I also remember travelling from Negombo to Anuradaphura in a local bus, a journey of about 5 hours on a shanty, curvy, and rough roads of Sri Lanka, I just couldn’t explain where exactly we were heading to, all I knew was I saw a bus in the station with a sign Anuradaphura written on it with both Latin alphabets and Sri lankan alphabets.
On arrival I was lucky to find a tuk-tuk driver (tricycle) that understand some English, I told him to take me to major attractions of that city. All I could see was temples, temples, and temples. The last he took me to was the biggest of all where I had to remove my shoes before entering the compound covered with stones all over, I remember paying some money at the entrance to obtain the ticket but cannot recall how much I paid. The people in the area all dressed in an all white uniform without shoes, I didn’t hesitate to ask my friendly tour guide tuk-tuk driver who those people were, in his unpleasant English accent he answered “Pilgrims”. Something just bumped off my hands shaking not knowing actually what I was into as I was the only person there touring the place with simingly new eyes looking at every idol with an unbearable eye with flies all over them. They really do respect all living things to even allow them penetrate all over their gods’ body, I said in my mind, hmm, these gods love flies too, if not they would have moved their hands to wipe them away.
I stumbled inside a room with another idol god which I believe is the mother god, because while the other gods are outside coping with flies, this one is bigger and covered inside a huge glass serving as a protection, but, lying down. While been very careful not to touch or do anything that can hurt the worshippers or the laws of the country, I heard group chanting behind me, I immediately rush aside as they were facing the god I was closely looking at. As a Muslim I knew it is not right to stay in front of someone praying while you are not, I immediately exit the hall. What I noticed is those worshippers were completely in red not white as the pilgrims were.
The adventure never ended there, I had to take another bus and go back to the guest house in Negombo where I lodged, but, after reaching the station I was told its too late, no more bus to Negombo, but I can go to the capital Colombo then take a tuk-tuk for another stressful ride to Negombo. As the language barrier deepens, what I did was just to show the card given to me at the guest house to help me in taking directions. We arrived Colombo at about 8:50pm and head for another 1 hour ride to Negombo and arrived at about 10pm.
I was fully aware of the fact that I wasn’t there to tour temples and lagoons, but there was nothing as memorable as that in the whole 4 days trip. It is a very beautiful green island, if not because of two things, I would have spent weeks there, the food, and the wicked mosquitoes. These 2 things can chase you out the very hour you land at Bandaranaike Airport. But many people will find the food not a problem at all especially if you are fish friendly and pork friendly, very common and cheap, but the rest is just another story. I survived my whole 4 days with chocolates, biscuits, and soft drinks. I tried eating their rice once from a nearby restaurant, but I couldn’t eat the very short, fat, yellow rice. Totally new to me. But as I said, some people may find it very delicious and pleasing. I was afraid of eating any meat there too fearing that they may not be slaughtered according to the requirements of Islam to qualify as halal, so I kept off.
I just wish I can post the pictures of my visits here, including the greeneries, the shorelines, the lagoon, and everything that I have set my eyes on. But, I will consider a rewind, and will make sure to go with cameras, not even one camera.