Upon realizing that I am white….

Children from the Hindu Temple w/ Politics is a good thing! bracelets

Children from the Hindu Temple w/ Politics is a good thing! bracelets

I step out from behind a Buddhist shrine, chanting filing the air and at once I realize that I am white. The crows sitting several feet from my face seem to stare and gawk as I pass them nervously on the street. It isn’t often in the United States that I am aware of being different but as I walk down a busy Columbo street I know that I stand out for the color of my skin, hair and dress. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing- the people here are fabulously friendly and courteous. It is just different and it is a good thing I think, to have this experience. Wherever we go children look at us curiously and smile. We smile back and they giggle. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to blend in a little bit, it would be easier to just observe rather than be in the center of attention but it is what it is. All of us are curious about others.

Part II. I Travel to Kandy
I decided to tell this story despite it may be my most embarrassing moment ever. The trip to Kandy was long but very interesting with lots to view from the van window. Upon arriving at the hotel I began to feel a little queasy but thought nothing of it and took a nap prior to attending the Perahara.

Everything here has a distinct smell so that I think pictures and video won’t be enough to convey the culture of Sri Lanka. Usually this is a wonderful part of the experience but this evening it seemed really annoying. Progressing down the street we had to stop to let an elephant pass and I still felt queasy but since I had just taken some medicine I thought it would go away.

It didn’t. Upon entering the store of a friend where I intended to watch the Perahara, I immediately fell violently ill. It was the worst I have ever felt. I had to walk back to my hotel covered with vomit. I just barely made it back where I was ill for several hours.

I did get to see some of the Perahara- which was phenomenal and beyond description (Daman does a great job) –fire and elephants and drums and music. I will never forget even what little I saw.

Luckily, I felt better in the morning. It isn’t often I say this but getting ill actually made me like Sri Lanka even more. I felt safe there and comforted and can say, “that which doesn’t kill you, actually makes you stronger.”

Meg

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