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4am wake-up calls galore

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Damn, I had already written a paragraph and touched some stupid button, either that or it was the power glitch, and lost it. Oh well here I go again! Last entry, if I recall, I’d been in Kandy. That put me behind my teaching plan so Saturday was busy. I had classes from 7 am until 4 pm with a couple quick breaks. It does not seem like work though because teaching without having to discipline is the joy I thought teaching would be when I started 40 odd years ago! Maybe I should have taught adults……….or maybe just taught overseas where education is such a priority! Anyway the cool shower was a necessary end to my day to say the least!

On Sunday Amanda and I were quite social. I taught from 7 to 11 then Amanda’s relatives picked us up to go to their home for lunch. I enjoyed seeing how someone from here lives and being invited into a private home. Amanda and I were served at the table first, while we were eating the husband sat in the same room also eating from a dish his wife served and dished up for him. Sri Lankans start with the rice, pancake or noodle type of dish then add the other dishes. They mix the food altogether then using the fingers of one hand they begin eating, also with their fingers. I personally do not want to mix all the flavors together, nor do I want to eat with my fingers so am pleased they respect my culture and offer me cutlery. At the girls’ sports meet one of my students had a fork in his pocket to give to me at lunch! The host also dishes the food for you although again I prefer to help myself in case I do not wish to try the dish or do not want the large helpings they give. That seems OK so hopefully I have not offended anyone. Anyway after we ate and returned to the living room the ladies and children ate. Again I sure am not used to being treated so special but watch out cuz after a couple months I might come to not only love it but expect it!

We went to a son’s house after lunch so again I saw how another family lives. Later that afternoon they took us to show the areas the tsunami hit. We enjoyed one of the beaches where they replanted many rows of trees to replace all those that had been uprooted. The beaches are so beautiful and yet we were the only ones present. After our tour we stopped at their favorite place for ice cream and luckily, or maybe not luckily, it is walking distance from home!

The same evening we were invited to a home of one of my students for dinner. There were many apartment buildings built to house those families that lost everything in the tsunami. They are 4 floors high. Each apartment has a living room, kitchen, small balcony and 2 small bedrooms. They own the apartment so are able to finish it as they pleased. Nilu’s had hand painted flowers on the ceiling. They also put in a sink and counter as well as a couple of cupboards in the kitchen. The rooms are separated with curtains, as are rooms in other houses I have been in. Due to cement walls there are no closets so many have hutches or if they can afford it, wardrobes.

4 am wake up call to hit the road to Rahjeeshan’s home town about 5 hour drive from Kalmunai. It is called Trincomalai and is built on a peninsula so is surrounded on 3 sides by the Indian Ocean. We stayed in a hotel right on the beach. Along that beach front are several hotels or beach huts so the beach is private to the owners and is patrolled by police. It is beautiful so not only did we spend the afternoon there I also went for a night swim. The warm Indian Ocean, lit up by a full moon, with tide washing up and carrying you back to shore, was heaven indeed. Not only that but I had a cold beer waiting for me on the deck after my shower! Before it had gotten dark Rahjeeshan gave us a tour of his hometown. There is a large natural harbor and also one area at the end of the peninsula which is all navy (built years ago by the British) It is not open to the public and is used by the Sri Lankan forces now. At the highest peak on a natural rock hill there is lots of history. At one time it was home to a large Hindu Temple but years ago the Dutch invaded and wanted it as a lookout point to protect anyone entering the harbor. They destroyed the temple using the rock and brick to fence it. The majority of the artifacts were dumped into the ocean and destroyed. The people had hid some of the statues in wells and recently several were dug up with the rebuilding of another Temple. They are made of 5 different metals and are so well preserved that you still see all the details in the craftmanship. Divers have found more artifacts but due to size and weight they will not be resurfaced. We’d seen a few Temples prior to this one but this was special because it was the one Rahjeeshan attended as a boy so he explained his religion to us as he pointed out different things both outside and within the temple.

Another 4 am wake-up and we were on the road home. The majority of the highway we used has been rebuilt (we actually went out of our way to stay on it) but for the last hour or so the pavement was broken and filled with potholes due to recent flooding. You cannot gain any speed on the roads anyway due to curves, how narrow they are, all the animals and vehicles that use them, etc. but the rocking over miles of the broken pavement really gave me an appreciation of our driver. Luckily we were able to see a small herd of elephants in the park land we drove through…..really exciting, even a baby! I also saw spotted deer, peacocks.etc!

We arrived home in time for me to shower, change and get to the vibe for my afternoon of classes. Now supper calls so that’s it for this latest entry. Don’t mind the errors and rambling in these mails, I just want to jot down my memories and hope you also get some of the enjoyment I am having.

PS – Heard about recent snow and also about the flooding going on due to melting…………..crazy weather hope things are drying up and you get some of this heat soon! Average temps here are low thirties!

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