As my last official night in this fab country I found it fitting, and quite frankly necessary, to dedicate an entire blog post to this fantastic wee island. I’m not gonna lie, we got off to a shaky start. Screaming and shouting at the baggage service team definitely wasn’t how I envisaged my first port of call but it is what it is, everything worked out in the end and I lived to tell the tale, a win win all round in my eyes. Landing in a country where no one is in any rush to do anything and no amount of screaming, shouting or, as it happens; crying, is going to make a damn bit of difference.
Sri Lanka is one of the most laid back countries I have ever come across. To be quite honest if they pulled the finger out they’d be a force to reckon with. There seems to be just an ABUNDANCE of bodies on hand to do any given task, yet despite this absolutely nothing gets done in any kind of timely manner. It has become a running joke of ‘how many Sri Lankan’s does it take to…” and the answer is ALWAYS 6. 6 Sri Lankan’s to load luggage on to a bus. 6 Sri Lankan’s to draw a curtain across a busy restaurant. Six. Different. Able. Bodies to order dinner. One to bring the forks and knives, one to bring the napkins, one more for the side plates, one for the drinks, another to bring the food (around 45 mins later at best) and another to clear the table at the end. They are so willing to do anything for anyone yet all what seems to happen is they end up tripping over each other and get in each other’s way. It’s absolutely bizarre.
Don’t get me wrong, their attitude to life is mesmerising. The Buddhist ideology of eliminating work induced stress from their lives is very prevalent in their day to days. Buddhist believe in the good inside everyone, and that one wrong doing in this life is enough to affect maybe not the next life or the next one after that, but they are firm believers in Karma coming round to bite you no matter if you’re human, reptile or if you’re unlucky enough to come back as a spider, not only will you have half the population (myself and my mum included) running at you with a rolled up newspaper, but that ant you squashed when you were 7 all those lives ago? Yeah sorry incy wincy, your time is up. Karmas a b*itch and Angela’s found you. Splat.
This notion that any wrong doing will result in future punishment is enough to convince the population here that it’s better to live a happy, fulfilling life with nothing done out of turn than it is to chase the corporate ladder of money and deceit to get unnecessary material things. After all, what does a squished spider need with that Burberry bag you bought from selling a BMW to an old lady on the blatant lie of it being ‘economically the best decision of her life’. The answer is it doesn’t. Just like we don’t necessarily need these things either but our society has drummed it into us that we’re all pushing for the next best thing.
I think there’s a lot to learn from the Buddhist culture. It really makes you want to learn and appreciate their way of life but it also puts into perspective how bloody LUCKY we are to have what we have and regularly take for granted. If anything, Sri Lanka has taught me to be kinder and more patient when it comes to other ideas and beliefs. Even if someone is wrong, which 9 times out of 10 they are but hey ho, it’s taught me to slow down and think for a second before automatically hitting that block button I love so much. People are different, countries are different, parents bring kids up differently all over the world. And sometimes we just have to take a step back and realise, we’re all just bloody humans so let’s just listen to what we all have to say.
From climbing atop ancient temples, to rambling through tea fields, hiking mountains at 3am and holding baby turtles this place has been a BLAST. It’s been exciting, its been frustrating (try sharing a room with a snoring walrus for the past 12 nights, I’m SHATTERED) and its been emotional. This country is still very much affected by the 2004 Tsunami that killed over 60,000 people and there are remnants of the disaster still to be found scattered over the south coast of this beautiful island. The tsunami museum in Hikkaduwa was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had. Seeing in real life the carnage that a natural disaster can ensue on such an idyllic place was heart wrenching, and I couldn’t help but cry as the museum workers wrapped a piece of thread around my wrist whilst singing and blessing me that I will stay safe. Now obviously that made me cry even more… but I am a total wimp tbh.
I started my first ever post saying that my posts wouldn’t be long or soppy or profound and I’ve found myself rambling about cultures and traditions and spiders…but what I’m trying to say is I’ve loved it here. Every bit of it. From losing my luggage, to having the biggest panic attack of my life 2220 steps above the ground, to 5 hour long bus journeys back to the airport on a public bus that smelled like durian (google it. Ugh). It’s all part of the experience. And these last 12 days have made me realise more about myself than in the past couple years of my life. People joke about coming away to ‘find themselves’ but its true in a myriad ways, you really don’t know who you are until you’re alone with your own thoughts on the other side of the world, completely out of your comfort zone …(couple G&Ts down…) and realising you’re pretty damn happy with your lot. And if this is only the first 12 days of reflections, well I can’t wait to see what the next year is gonna bring.
Thailand, I’m coming for you !