December 05, 2011

sri lanka! part 1 of possibly one million

oh my gosh, you guys. i hardly know where to start. sri lanka was outstanding. i was in a daze most of the time i was there - jetlagged at first, then just plain exhausted by the time i got back to Colombo for the wedding, because HOLY COW indian weddings are intense! - but luckily i took 5 billion photos to photodocument the trip for myself.

this trip ended up being extra-awesome, because i got to travel with my friends A & R for the first half. in addition to them being generally delightful people, R's family also happens to BE sri lankan and his parents live in Colombo. how convenient for me!

i turned up at their house at about 5 in the morning, blinking owlishly after about 24 hours of travel (which started AFTER a full day of work!). a two hour nap later, A and i found ourselves being whisked through Colombo with R's uncle Wimal for a brief tour of the city - as well as our first stop at a gem store.

The omnipresent 3-wheelers

sri lanka is one of the world's foremost producers of gemstones, which i did not know before heading there. but it's true, and a friend from my previous job asked if i'd mind picking up some star sapphires for him while i was there, so gem stores were on the list of places to visit while there.

Roadside stop for fresh coconut water!

not on the list, but much appreciated: a roadside stop for fresh coconut water.

while there, R's uncle pulled out a bag of cookies he'd brought with him, and asked the coconut vendor to call the kids out from the slum behind us. a few moments later, we found ourselves surrounded by sweet local kids who were happy to post for pictures (and happier to get packages of cookies, no doubt!)

More kids from the slum

R's uncle then asked the locals if the fishing boats had come in, and before we knew it we were being brought through the shantytown down to the water on the other side so we could take a look at the day's catch.

One of the many, MANY stray, mangy Sri Lankan dogs

Fishing boat on the slum's shore

Freessshhh fiiii-iiish!

all this before noon on our first day...!

after some lunch (and an afternoon nap) we headed back out into the city, this time to visit the polar opposite the Colombo has to offer: the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

Inside the hotel (!!)

The amazing giant vine-covered trees

In the Enchanted Forest (aka the outdoor restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand)

Colombo is an interesting city: very much a third world feel - stray dogs are everywhere; people are walking barefoot along even the most busy roads in the center of the city; there are a truly shocking number of cows roaming freely through the streets - but at the same time it doesn't feel as poor as some places i've been. those slum kids may have been barefoot, but they weren't dirty or hungry. there weren't many beggars (that i saw, anyway). i felt incredibly safe the whole time - i never felt worried for my person or my property while there.

(well, with the exception of one very isolated incident involving some corrupt minister's son & his thugs trying to start a brawl with the wedding crew at a nightclub.. but that was definitely not my general experience with anyone else in the country.)

ok, this is getting ridiculously long. more pictures and less words to come in later posts!


  1. WOW! I've been waiting for your posts (hello Internet Stalker!! :D )

    What a beautiful city. I can't imagine how tired you must have been/are.

  2. This looks so amazing. I too have been waiting with bated breath for your recap!

  3. These pictures are great! I can't wait to see more and hear all about the wedding.

  4. I am so glad you're writing about your trip! I enjoyed your photos but am so thrilled to hear the details. I have a beautiful star sapphire necklace that my grandfather gave to my grandmother decades ago. One of my most treasured possessions!

  5. Welcome back!!! awsome pics, and I am, oh, sooooo, jealous, it sounds like an incredible trip...


  6. Gemstones, eh? That's pretty awesome. Oh, and the cookies part is awesome too. :)

    glad you're back and can't wait for more pictures! Living vicariously through you, don'tcha know.

  7. Gemstones? Cool!
    Cookies for kiddos? Ultra-cool!

    thugs who are full of themselves? Not cool.

    Glad you felt safe -- looking forward to more photos and travelogue!

    My 19yo goes barefoot all the time: classes, church, grocery store... you name it. Like the kids in the slums, he is clean & fed. Guess he would fit in there!

  8. Ahhh, I've been waiting for this post. I'm glad you had such a good time.

  9. I'm always struck by the beauty in color of foreign cities and am left to wonder whether American cities have the same vibrancy. Sounds like a great start to your trip!

  10. Wow! That is an awesome first day! I love hearing about the trip. Tell us more!!! :)

  11. Finally she posts about Sri Lanka!!! Except, it was way better to hear it from you in person. :)

    I'm still waiting for the ppt slide by the way.