On Balance

Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka that I know, is a beautifully diversified land. From tropical beaches to moist tea country to dry deserts. It is also a country with a surprising amount of diversity among its people. The Singhalese, Tamil, Bergers, and more form the society of today. But the immediate thought when thinking of the citizens of this island nation is smiles. This place is full of smiles.

I have never been smiled at so many times in a twenty day period. So in wrapping up the Sri Lanka times, here are the people.

Their generosity. Their full engaging smiles. Their interest to know me and what I thought of their country. Their welcoming spirits offering a cup of tea to a gringo walking the streets past their house.

This family was waving and smiling at us (we were behind them in our van) for about five minutes straight.

This family was waving and smiling at us (we were behind them in our van) for about five minutes straight.

All of this and more combines to leave me with a warm impression of the people here. Although I would be omitting some truth if I don’t mention a sad feeling here in this country at the same time. Actually perhaps sad is not the correct term, but something is ‘off’ it feels like. But in saying this, the people have stayed strong and continue to shine on with their smiles. Like theirs:
And theirs (sidenote- I have never seen so many men in uniform freely smile. At seemingly every checkpoint, out of 20 or so passed, these men were flashing their whites without a second’s thought):

In complete extremities in compared with the lady at the check-in of LAX who couldn’t smile, there was the guard at Sri Lanka’s airport in Colombo as I was leaving the country. He quickly frisked me while passing the security gate. When done he motioned me to move on and I said, “Bohoma Istuthi (Thank you very much)”. The guard immediately looked me in the eyes, flashed a full smile, and then gave me a warm, friendly pat on the chest as if we had known each other for years.

Ayubowan (Farewell) Sri Lanka.


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