Monday, February 4, 2008

Danger, Will Robinson

Today is Independence Day. Sixty years ago Sri Lanka peacefully received independence from Britain.

Two days ago there was a very bad bus bombing. Different reports provide different numbers, but basically around 20 people were killed and more than 50 injured. Barbara and I were in Wadduwa swimming at the beach, so we were safe.

[Two side notes about Wadduwa: 1) The best king coconuts on the island are available at the little shop on Galle Road just south of the road you take to Blue Water. 2) The Indian Ocean is the perfect temperature for swimming.]Yesterday there was a hand grenade thrown inside the zoo. When it was reported originally they said it was a bomb -- we received this SMS ten minutes after driving past the zoo to a wedding reception. The zoo is actually quite close to our house (in relative terms considering nothing is really close to our house) and this shook us a bit. Six people were injured.

Then Barbara and I traveled into town to see "the jazz" at the rugby field. Just after we convinced a tuk to take us from the bus stop on Havelock to the field, we received a call that "the jazz" had been canceled. This was because as we boarded the bus in Boralesgamuwa we received an SMS that a bomb had exploded at Fort Train Station. Seven people were killed at the scene and nearly 100 injured.

As we walked around Colombo trying to figure out what to do -- not quite ready to board another public bus and not quite willing to go to very public locations such as O'dells or Majestic City, Barbara and I began to realize that maybe we should be a bit more cautious. Yes it is true that Sri Lankans do not seem all that concerned (we have now been on a public bus twice where a bag was forgotten and no one was worried, but us -- the bags were later claimed or returned to their owners). Still, the streets were practically abandoned while we were out on Sunday. We even had a police officer come over to tell us not to cross where we were crossing, but I think he was more concerned that we were lost or something (they are actually told not to scare the tourists, so he wouldn't actually say we shouldn't be out).

After all that, we did have a very nice day. We went to Commons (off the main roads, away from major public areas) for coffee and then we took a tuk to Lindsay and Jim's apartment. Jim's band, 10 Second Rule (because all Sri Lankan bands only last ten seconds) was practicing since their gig at "the jazz" was canceled. They are really good (free album can be downloaded here). Then we went to the Cricket Club and played Scrabble.Now we are under house arrest. We are not allowed to leave the house all day today. I have no idea what is happening in the outside world because they turned off all SMS capabilities today (which is how we receive news updates in real time). We have decided to make the best of it and constantly yell out the bonuses to staying inside all day. #1 -- We can wear whatever we want. #2 -- No men are yelling rude things to us. #3 -- We don't have to deal with the buses and the overcrowding. #4 -- We are saving money. Etc.


Jen K said...

Hugs and be safe. Here's another bonus to being inside -- you can watch lots of SPN on Youtube!

Jen K said...

Oh...And it's, "Danger, Will Robinson." Unless, of course, you were being clever. :)

Jessica L. said...

Um, not clever enough for that. Change made.