Friday, February 29, 2008

Swimming with the Turtles

So it has been a long journey to get back to Colombo. I have to admit now that I'm here, I'm not really sure why I tried so hard.

On Wednesday I worked from Lisa's office in Tangalle and then left by bus (don't tell my mom) for Matara. Luckily one of Lisa's coworkers lives in Matara, so she got me on the bus, eventually convinced some nice old man that I needed a seat more than him (and I thought the buses drove in a crazy manner in Colombo!) and made sure I was alright when we arrived. Then I took a tuk (who gave me a proper price right away!) to Barbara's guest house.

While I waited for Barbara to get home from work, I went to look at the ocean. Is that what I think it is? Oh my gosh, there is a sea turtle right there swimming. Barbara gets home and suggests we try to swim with him. What a fabulous idea. So we change into swimsuits and grab some masks and snorkels, which were useless because the water in Polhena is not as clear as in Tangalle, and in we dove. Every once in a while we'd see his little head pop up, but he was never near us and we couldn't manage to get closer to him. So technically I swam with the turtles, but not really.

I won't go through the particulars of the rest of the trip back. I'm home now, for whatever that is worth.

For those of you who heard about the bombing on a bus in Mt. Lavinia, I was in Tangalle and thus very safe. I have promised several people that I will avoid the buses as much as possible and I have to say this incident makes me believe I've made the right decision. I go to Mt. Lavinia a lot -- it is fairly close to our house.

Apparently I have more reason to believe my money woes are over as the rupee is "reasonably stable." This is against the U.S. dollar and we all know how well the dollar is doing these days, so I'm not sure you can claim stability if you relate it to that. Not to mention it has only been two months and for some reason in 2007 the rupee also did well (being a relative term) at the beginning of the year, but not at the end. I only need it to stay stable for five more months.

And apparently we have to worry about more than just suicide bombers in Sri Lanka. The oldest banyan tree in the country, and apparently where Buddha reached enlightenment (I thought he reached enlightenment under a Bo tree?) is now being attached by monkeys. In 1985 the LTTE tried to damage the tree because of its religious significance and now it has the tightest security in the country (more than 100 people died in that attack). Anyway, I am glad they are not allowing violence to control the monkeys. I mean it is a tree; if we start stopping monkeys from living in trees exactly where do we expect them to go?

[Note: it was a Bo tree where Buddha reached enlightenment. Bo trees are a species of Banyan. Opps.]

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