Monday, June 9, 2008

Depressing Bombs

I should be working right now. I have work to do; things that should have been finished last week. Unfortunately finding the motivation is a challenge right now. To make matters worse, the bombings have been intense lately and Barbara left for India this morning.

I guess I'll start with the bombs. Friday there were two, yes two, bus bombs that killed a total of 23 people. That was the day Barbara and I foolishly tried to save some money and take the bus into town. We've been diligently taking tuks, but we are both seriously over budget now and the tuk drivers have been systematically trying to raise their prices on us. Yes, the price of petrol has actually gone up, but my salary hasn't. I'm tired of everyone in this country thinking I should subsidize the rise in prices just because they think I'm rich.

So anyway, we decided to take the bus. Of course our regular tuk driver came over and did his, "bombs, miss" speech. I'm not sure why it is o.k. to freak out the foreigners about bombs. We are making the same amount of money as everyone else, yet I don't see him walk up to Sri Lankans at the bus stop telling them that they will surely get blown up.

Once on the bus, about half way to Dehiwala (where we change buses) a man sitting just on the opposite side of the aisle from me started stomping his feet. I was under the impression that this conflict doesn't really seem to bother people. I mean, I've been on two buses with bags that were seemingly abandoned and no one did anything. But when this guy started stomping everyone looked at him in horror. Clearly things are starting to get to people. Then he starts yelling at the driver -- apparently the bus was going to slow (and it was the slowest bus I've ever been on). Then he saw me and, for my benefit, started yelling in English and talking about bombs. His English wasn't all that good, so he was essentially just yelling, "bomb, bomb." Very reassuring.

Then he noticed Barbara and while exiting again started his, "bomb, bomb" shtick.

Needless to say we didn't get on another bus. By the way, the U.N. says these attacks on civilians must stop. I'm sure the Tigers and the Sri Lankan government will listen to them. Fifty-two people have been arrested for the two bomb blasts. The government seems to think arresting every Tamil in sight reassures us that we are safe. Not sure where they get this impression.

So we walked up to Wellawata. Barbara needed a suitcase -- it is crazy what they charge for really poorly made suitcases here. My favorite statement is when you ask, "why is this one so expensive?" the reply is "it is Polo miss." O.k. I'm not an idiot and that bag is not actually Polo. Apparently just having the name on it makes it more expensive. Crazy what people will pay for a fake brand. She bought a bag with no logo.

Now that Barbara has left I can start riding my bike into town. That might save me a few rupees. Course everyone is leaving in the next two weeks, so I have little reason to go into town. Thus the depression.

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