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Published: September 5th 2008
Well my first week in Sri Lanka has been great!! its a great place!
got here no problems with no delays (which apparently is very rare when traveling to Sri Lanka, so i was very lucky!)
I met a random Indian man on the plane, he got on at Male where the plane had stopped to refuel and to drop all the honeymooners off! his name was Siddhartha and he said he was an investment banker.
After about a forty minute flight from the Maldives to Sri Lanka he had offered to buy me flights to various places, including the Maldives, Goa and Banglor. He also offered to get a driver to collect me from the airport, hotels and apartments, and to buy me new clothes (all free of charge!!) i was glad to get of the plane and get rid off him, went to the toilet as soon as we landed- but he was waiting outside for me!!!!!
he had a connecting flight to Banglor so I thought, definitely got rid off him now, but oh no no!!! he came through immigration with me, filled in a card and pretended he was staying in SL, helped
me collect my bags and took me to the taxi!!! absolute nightmare! he was too weird!! just my bloody luck!!
When i arrived in SL it was lashing it down, and did pretty much all the way from Colombo to Hikkaduwa (monsoon season!) the drive took about four hours but i had a History, Geography and Sociology lesson from my driver Majeed who seemed to know everything there was to know about all things Sri Lankan!! Majeed was very suspicious of the Indian man. he was absolutely convinced he was a Tamil and was trying to get befriend me so i could help him with some sinister terrorist plot! either that or get me to smuggle things in my case, which i think perhaps is more likely!! a drugs mule!! don't worry, i did not leave my luggage unattended at any point!!!
i arrived at my new home at about 9.30pm Saturday night, and my neighbours had prepared a huge meal; for me, i learnt my first Sinhalese word "atti" which means "enough", as they kept piling the food on!! i ate it the traditional way, with my hands, but after a while i stopped eating, it takes
so long and you lose the will to live!! good for the figure!!!!
on the Sunday i went to meet Janina (another volunteer) her boyfriend Bruce, and their friend Flora, at Unawatuna Beach, which is absolutely amazing. its been voted one of the top five beaches in the world. its hippy paradise, and just lovely!! we sat in a bar and drank the local beer all day, then swam in the sea then had tea - i had shark it was well nice!!
my first day at work was on Tuesday, i'm really enjoying it so far. all the teachers are really lovely and friendly. I've already been invited to a wedding and a weekend away with them and their families. 12 Sri Lankan's and me in a van across to the east coast, should be interesting!!!!
the orphanage is not open yet it will be opening in October (hopefully!!) so at the minute i am helping in the Pre-School, which is on the same grounds as the Rosie may Home. In the morning i help at the pre-school, teach a bit of English, and help the teachers with their lessons, and in the afternoons i give
the teachers an English lesson. so far, so good!!
the kids are all really lovely, on my first day i had 3 swinging from each arm at playtime, they don't leave you alone!! the teachers too are always hugging and stroking me, they are very tactile and i've only known them four days!! it helps you to feel at home though, and part of the gang!!
tel you something though, i definitely went into the right age group for teaching, i couldn't handle little ones permanently, they are too much for me!!! teenagers are hard work, but in a different way! give me a teenager any day!! i think i'll be ok for a few months, but i think any longer would drive me loco!! for now though, it is good. they are such happy children as well, always smiling and giggling. and they love singing English nursery rhymes at me!!!! i get a round of two little dickie birds, old MacDonald and Twinkle Twinkle at least twice a day!!!
for the first two days i got a tuktuk to work (i didn't have a clue where i was going so needed taking to the door) but at
700 rupees return that will become expensive in the long run. i braved the bus for the first time yesterday, once i knew where i was going, which at 24 rupees return is more like it!!!
the bus is an experience!! but being in any vehicle in Sri Lanka is an experience. they drive like absolute maniacs, iv witnessed a lorry overtaking a car overtaking a bike overtaking a tuktuk overtaking a cow - and the streets are only as wide as say Adwick Road in Mexborough!! i don't know how they get away with it, but nobody ever crashes, and they don't get road rage either, they beep a lot, but its a sort of "i'm coming" rather than a "you fu**ing idiot" sort of beep!! its quite hair-raising though when your in a tuktuk with a huge lorry coming straight at you, then swerving at the last minute!!
i think they don't crash because they can't go very fast. if they had motorways there would be utter carnage!!
as i now get the bus, i have to get off on the main road and walk through Boossa village. the locals are very interested in me. every person
i pass fires off a round of questions at me:
"hello. what are you doing? where are you going?"
one little girl has asked me four time:
"what is your name?"
i think that must be the only thing she knows how to say in English. they all come out of their houses and watch me go past. its inquisitive rather than intimidating though. its cool, i don't mind!
in my spare time i've been doing a lot of swimming, running on the beach (i know, me running!! i'm trying to get fit!) and just generally looking about, exploring my new town!! there's nothing to do in the evening, the tourist season has not started yet so very little is open, but i don't mind, i've been doing a lot of reading in the evening! Sri Lankan's tend to go to bed at 8.30pm (seriously!) they think i am mad for going to bed at 11pm!!
the monsoon season is just about over now, its still red hot, but some days its rainy - today there have been just two showers. yesterday rained all day pretty much but the rest of the week has been sunshine everyday. you
don't mind they rain though, sometimes you welcome it for a bit of relief!! that will stop soon though and the weather will be red hot for months.
i will go now, there's stuff to explore - i have lots more to write but i will save it for my next blog.
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