Almost nothing. That was my honest answer when a friend, perplexed, questioned my decision to come to Sri Lanka: – But what do you know about this place?
Since I’m passionate about photography, the first reference that came into my mind was this iconic Steve McCurry’s image. Of course I began to research at that point…
Currently, local fishermen are paid to climb those sticks by people with selfie sticks. The country is experiencing a healthy growth in tourism, after recovering from the 2004 Tsunami effects and a Civil War that is very difficult for me to understand how it happened – I say this because the population is ultra tolerant and has been colonized by other people before (Portuguese, English and Dutch) while domestic ethnic groups vied for power.
Due to the different cultural influences, it’s easy to find people who speak good English and have afternoon tea or to come across buildings and rivers channeled in Dutch style. Also, some very popular Portuguese surnames, as Silva and Perera, are visible on street signs and shops.
The period Sri Lanka were under Portugal’s rule is also marked by the conversion of many people to the Catholicism. There are so many churches in Negombo, for example, that the city became to be called Little Rome. As many Tamil and Hindu kept their faith and rituals, the religious diversity can be noted in every city by the cohexistence of churches, mosques and Buddhist temples.
Now Australian, Indian, Chinese, Americans, Europeans in general – and Brazilian like me – are the new explorers in Sri Lanka. The fact that the country is an island makes it easy to the tourists access the beaches and national parks, enjoy nature and observe the animals. There’s also several interesting points to discover in the urban areas. Even the simplest activities has it’s particular charm here, like taking a local bus (super cheap) and being greeted with lots of genuine smiles.
Not to mention how fun it is to check the customized décor and enjoy the loud music on board. Feels like being part on a Bollywood movie, due to the similar sonority to the Indian music and also many people wear Sarees and Bindis – so the “imported” reference makes sense.
Ah, you know that cute head movement that we see in Indian movies choreographies? They do it here all the time. And their accent seems very much like Raj’s – the Indian character on The Big Bang Theory sitcom 🙂
Did you liked this appetizer? Keep following Pratserie to find out more about the culture, style and curiosities of Sri Lanka… and my other destinations!