Itching to get out.....
02.01.2009 - 31.01.2009 31 °C
I came here to visit relatives and tour the island. So far we have been doing the family part of it. It's nice to see them but now I really need to get out into the countryside. In the meantime, I figured I'd write something about the family life here in Sri Lanka.
People haven't changed much since the last time I was here 4 years ago. There's much more technology. Almost everyone has a mobile phone. Few people have an internet connection. Even fewer have a DSL line or satellite TV. There is an increase in nationalism. The price of goods have gone up. The economic downturn in the rest of the world has affected this economy as well. Some banks and insurance companies have gone bankrupt. Since a majority of the economy is dependent on exports, decreased export demand in addition to the huge spending on defense has kept the economy from growing.
But here, as everywhere else, people live their lives as best as they can. The other day, we got tired of sitting at home and decided to take a walk down to the junction near the house to go shopping....or at least "window" shop. Going shopping shows the two worlds that Sri Lankans are living in. There are the banks, malls, and grocery stores which are contained in modern air conditioned buildings (although as an engineer, I noticed that humidity control was not very effective in some of these buildings) and then there are the street side open stalls.
In a nearby grocery store. They have everything that I could think of from back in the US.
Here's an open air stall selling fruit. There are papayas, guavas, and woodapples. Yes, woodapples...because the skin is so tough, it's like a ball of wood. You have to crack it to open it.
In fact, our daughter thought it was a ball and started kicking it when I gave it to her. She was quite surprised when I cracked it open and started eating it!
There are more than six varieties of bananas here. Most of them look pretty similar (all except for a few are smaller and tastier than the ones we're used to in the US) so I can't tell then apart too well. But most people could identify all of the varieties. Bananas are usually hung just like this on the entire "cane". They'll cut off as many as you want or sell you the entire thing!
You know when I took these pictures, I kind of did it secretly. I felt rather foolish taking pictures of things that people here take for granted. I wasn't really a tourist!! Or am I? That got me thinking again. I don't think of myself as a tourist because I look like these people, can speak the language, and have family here. But when I'm walking around, I realize that I don't know a lot of the minor nuances of the culture and that some things seem foreign to me. So in a way, I feel like I am home and then in another way, I feel like a tourist. I try to blend in as much as possible, but I think people know that I'm from abroad. It's not the clothes, it's probably my mannerisms.
Ahh well...tomorrow we're leaving to stay at another relative's place for a few days. I don't think they have internet access, so I will be out of touch for a few days. But I'll try to take some pictures to upload later.
In the meantime, here's Sakya trying to feed a leaf to a cat. She's used to feeding the rabbit at home so she thinks cats are vegetarians as well. This particular cat has 5 new kittens to feed and she's looking a bit scrawny to me..
And here's Sakya ready to go.....
Till next time....