Friday, July 16, 2010

Colombo: The Yang to Yesterday's Yin

I am a drama queen.

I'm finally OK accepting that about myself. The drama tests me and keeps things interesting. I look back at my childhood and appreciate all the conflict because it helped me grow.  Now, because I know the drama of life can't be avoided, I almost relish it...every problem or awkward situation is a new opportunity to watch how I internalize discomfort.

And it's getting to be quite comfortable.

After what was a pretty unstable upbringing, there's a balance of conflict and resolution and of sadness and happiness that I'm slowly understanding more and more. I needed that dark period to be able to enjoy the lightness of my life today.

My dear friend and current travel companion Candice put it beautifully when she described the contrast of our first two days in Sri Lanka: "I don't think we could have appreciated today without yesterday."

"Yesterday" being filled with drama, stress and general feelings of unease, and "today" being perfection. Here is why:

1. Breakfast of string hoppers (noodles made of rice or flour and formed into floppy, thin disks), curry, veggie and fish roti, samosas, stir fried rice. The flavors here are so intense. A very heavy hand used with salt and all these amazing spices. 

 2.  My friend's friend's Sri Lankan friend arrived from Dubai and gave a wonderful tour of places of worship in Colombo (with almost every major Sri Lankan religious temple represented with the ironic exception of a mosque as most of the group is Muslim). The highlight for me was the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple. We even saw a Protestant church!

Fun fact: Telling of what a big part of the culture the diversity of religions is here, the Sri Lankan flag is made up of three blocks of colors -- green, saffron and crimson, which represent Islam, Tamil and other minor religious and ethnic groups respectively. Buddhism, the country's major religion, is represented by the four leaves of the Bodhi Tree.

3. Stroll through the beach. Admire Indian Ocean and a mix of adoring and angry looking couples under umbrellas.

4. Went for a lounge around and a dip in the hotel pool.

5. Dinner of Kottu Roti, which are chewy noodles made of sliced roti. The fast paced chopping is so rhythmic and entertaining -- it is the most musical meal I've ever seen prepared.

6. Hit the clubs. My travel buddies are an incredibly dynamic, thoughtful and fun bunch. They also hang with fro-yo shop tycoons and Sri Lankan American rappers. I'm not cool enough to have heard of the rapper guy, who is now apparently starring in a Sinhalese movie about cricket. However, I was very familiar with the fro-yo shop...wonder what that says about me.

I later found out that the rapper was trying to take advantage of me the whole night. Neat, right? Maybe I could have morally compromised myself into the next music video.


  1. i really enjoyed this post, so glad your 2nd day in sri lanka was better than the 1st. i have to say, i was quite concerned for you.

    i've been talking to this guy from Sri Lanka and i happened to ask about religion there. he told me that the majority of people there are catholic (or denomination of christianity) or buddhist but not so much muslim.

  2. thanks for reading!

    the majority of the people i happened to be traveling with were muslim, but i think you're right...islam and catholicism are probably about the same. buddhism is definitely number one by far, and my friend said almost all tamils are hindu.