Sunday, November 4, 2007

When Things Get Bad...

Friday was a bad day for Sri Lanka. During air raids Sri Lanka's military killed senior Tamil Tiger leader SP Tamilselvan and five others. As Time Magazine puts it,

"The news — the attack targeted a residential complex where members of the LTTE were meeting — makes the possibility of a negotiated political end to the country's brutal civil war much less likely."
And there you have it folks, it just keeps getting worse. Security was maddening on Friday. Check points pulling over every single car up and down Galle Road. They didn't bother with me on my bike -- clearly some sense has prevailed (though I still get yelled at occasionally when trying to lock my bike in a "high security area"). Pretty much everyone thinks there will be retaliation and in Colombo. This is absolutely the only time I'm happy to be in the suburbs.

Meanwhile there is a milk crisis. Who knew. Remember how I said they mostly use powered milk here (and for good reason, the regular milk goes bad before you can get it to a refrigerator)? So now, not only are we importing rice for the first time since 2005 when Sri Lanka announced proudly that it was self-sufficient, we are importing dry milk. From where you ask? India and China, of course. Just to be clear, Sri Lanka has never been self sufficient when it comes to milk, but it was producing 80% of demand locally. The rest was imported from New Zealand and Australia. Now the prices have gone up so much we are paying a lot more for less milk and thus, the request that India and China export milk to us. This is really an inflation issue -- inflation is crazy right now. Even the World Bank is telling Sri Lanka to cut a deal with the Tamils before the economy totally tanks!

On the positive side of things, I had a nice photo class for the last class. The teacher reviewed our photos. Now I know that my eyesight is in fact not going, but I do have a new problem with camera shake. So I was right in my theory that the smog was hurting my photographs -- the smog makes it darker and thus my camera ends up needing a longer shutter speed. Apparently I am unable to hold my camera as still as I thought. This is funny as I hand held a 500 mm lens in South Africa and those pictures are totally clear. So now I'm going to invest in a monopod. I figure this will be better than a tripod as I actually already own a tripod, but never carry it due to its weight (and it is now in SC because it was too heavy to bring to Sri Lanka). For some reason I can mentally accept that I am shaky much more than I could accept my eyesight is bad. Anyway, the teacher had some nice things to say about my photos, which made me happy. Also they extended the deadline for entering photos into the exhibition, which is good as there was a miscommunication about the size requirements. The website says one thing and the flyer says another. This all led to me believing I needed to reprint all my photos, but I don't. I will print a few more as the teacher felt I have a few that I showed in class that I should enter. We'll see.

I'm off to Panama this week. I finally, finally get to see the mangroves. So yes, this means I'm going east. Do not worry, since that one incident it has been very quiet. I'm sure I'll be fine. We aren't going into Yala, though someday I will (must see a leopard!).

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