It is good to be back in Sri Lanka. We have been here enough times now to feel it is a second home. All those weird tropical things are becoming familiar. I had forgotten how noisy the night is after rain. All those frogs and things calling out for a mate. The fireflies too, silent and magical in the darkness.
Our van from the airport stopped at the local supermarket for us to stock up with food and foreign currency. It was great that two of the tuk-tuk drivers came over to say ‘hello’. Word spread and as soon as I had changed the SIM cards in our phones we began to get calls from old friends.
We spent the first day getting the computers up and running. New dongles were required. Brenda soon had hers going, she is very computer savvie now. I had to go back to the shop and ask for help. A disdainful man fixed it while chatting to his friend on his mobile.
Lunch at the White House in Kandy at an upstairs table looking out along Colombo Street is a real treat. I had been looking forward to this for some time. They do the most wonderful Prawn Korma and Parathas in the world. Lunch for two with (soft) drinks came to nearly £8.
We have shared our house with a young Indian woman who is an engineer setting up a bottling plant for a local brewery. A charming and very capable girl. Now she has packed and left for her next assignment in Myanmar. Her 29 year old sister died recently of obesity – being fat is bad for the young as well as the old. Kavitha herself is beautifully slim.
The house is called Lassanaganga – beautiful river. You can just see the river in the photos. We can watch women doing the washing on the opposite bank at weekends.
A gardener keeps the garden under control and every now and then, hires a boy to shin up the coconut trees to harvest the king coconuts. Ira, the cook, produces amazing chicken curries, dahl and aubergines. We always keep some back for the watchman who has no teeth but manages to eat it.
Time for Work
In the hospital I found a crisis in that the doctor who interprets the EEGs, the brainwave tests for epilepsy and other diseases, has retired and there is no replacement. Could I train a couple of doctors? Asked the Dean.
It is 15 years since I was involved with EEG and there is no teaching material here. I called up our British Society for EEG and members have sent me a Power Point presentation and a number of useful slides.
Brenda went to her school and was just in time to see the 7-9 year olds give their concert. They have a class called the Shining Stars for learning disability children and these few gave their own dance routine. It is great that they are in a normal school and learning to rub along with other children and for normal kids to get along with them.
I arrived at the concert late and wet through from the afternoon monsoon. Brenda had already accepted an invitation on my behalf to act as Father Christmas for the nursery again. I cannot believe that I am good at it but they assure me that I am better than the one they had last year. Must check that the outfit is still in the school cupboard.
The school was delighted to receive ’Mandela’ the biography to be presented as a prize for the best creative writing of the year. I am hoping that they will publish the winning entries on the school website.
Now is the time of the Monsoon. Whenever it rains they say it is the monsoon. Lovely sunny mornings develop into thundery afternoons at about 1.30. Must buy umbrellas. Rain-proofs are too hot and sticky to wear. Under an umbrella you can stay dry, natives hoist up their sarongs and allow their legs and flip-flops to get wet. Mornings are misty with banks of fog rolling around the mountains. The river below is full and brown, even the washing area is under water.
Much more rain and the land-slips will start again.
Sunday was the monthly meeting of the “Explorers Club”, a mixture of nationalities who drive in a convoy to see non-tourist site. The time it was at Sembuwatha Lake, a picnic area high in the Knuckles Range of mountains. The lake is surrounded by cabanas and there is a swimming pool for public use. The views are magnificent when the clouds part. So far only Sri Lankans go there.
It was a wet, wet day, sometimes we were in mist. I walked around the lake and was inspected for leeches when I got back; there were only 4 of them and they came off easily. People have not the time to worry too much about leeches.
Food was brought and iced beer. As we ate we watched a few cars on the dirt road get stuck in the mud. We picked up with old acquaintances and made new friends.
It is good to be here but we will soon miss the tidy, ordered way of life in Chandler’s Ford.
Post Series: Dispatches from Sri Lanka, by Mike Sedgwick:
- Dispatches From Sri Lanka
- Kandy Lake vs Chandler’s Ford Lakes
- Self-Employment In Sri Lanka
- Sri Lankan Wedding
- Sri Lankan Food
- There’s Some Corner Of A Foreign Field
- The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka
- This Is the Record Of John
- Tuk-tuk: My Transport Of Delight
- Life On The Road
- Commonwealth Games In Kandy
- A Temple For A Tooth?
- Dawn Train Down The Mountain To Colombo
- Traditional And Modern Medicine in Sri Lanka
- Ancient Vedda Tribe Becoming Extinct
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