As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and our pleasant visit to Sri Lanka is proof. From the beginning of the RTW, our idea was to plan stops as we went along.
We hadn’t planned on stopping in Sri Lanka, but when mapping our hop from Amman to Bangkok, Sri Lanka was right on the path. As a result, we spent two weeks there, and are so happy that we did. We knew very little about the country, but from the first day it presented us with delightful surprises.
Colombo. Surprise number one! We had read that most people breeze through the airport, and bolt to other areas because there isn’t much to see there. In our couple of days there we saw absolutely beautiful temples, British Colonial architecture, and a lovely beach.
Our first night there we watched a stunning sunset, enjoyed street vendor food, and took delight in the young and old dodging the crashing waves on the seawall.
The People. After traveling in a few places where Americans aren’t so popular, it was wonderful to interact with so many incredibly nice, helpful, and friendly people. And these weren’t just folks in the service industry who are paid to be nice. Time and again, a casual encounter turned into a pleasant chat with someone who was truly interested in our opinions of their country. When you travel, this kind of reception makes a huge difference.
The Food. We’ve been to India, and given Sri Lanka’s closeness, we expected the food to be the same … not so. It has a few similar ingredients, but the spices, sauces, and flavors are very different. The lentil curries with coconut sambal (grated coconut with onion and chilies) are to die for, and our absolute favorite was a koththu rotti made at a tiny roadside cafe in Ella. This veggie treat has now taken the top spot for best meal of the trip, and it cost $6!
Our measure of a place is “Would you go back?” In the case of Sri Lanka, the answer is two thumbs way up.
It really is lovely when you have an encounter with locals where you know they are genuinely interested in what you have to say! One of my favourite things to do is strike up conversations with locals in cafes and once or twice it has lead to impromptu tours of the area!
I agree Jade, and this was particularly true in Sri Lanka. Most of the people we interacted with couldn’t have been more pleasant. The incident involving these young women was a good example. They were switching off and taking pictures of each other, and I offered to take a pic of the entire group. And suddenly, they seemed more excited about having me in the photo. It was too cute. ~James