Wednesday, September 3, 2008

an unexpected visitor from the US

the gentleman in the photo said she would go back home and tell her friends she met this veddah!!

A friend of mine in California had recommended to a friend of his who was backpacking in Sri Lanka to contact me. Melinda 24 from Santa Monica contacted me on Monday evening when I was doing my deliveries in Colombo, and I picked her up and took her to my place in Minneriya.

I guess she was brave to go with a stranger she only knew by recommendation, and we arrived at my place at 3am. I showed her the Polonnaruwa historic city the following day, but was aghast that the tourist rate now had risen to Rs2,700. In fact I was embarrassed as it was a rainy day and we had to duck the rain to see the ruins and we could only go to a limited selection. To add insult to injury officious guards at sites, requested us to put the umbrellas away when entering historic monuments, so we could only go in the pouring rain. Lord Buddha would immediately put them in their place had he been around to see this nonsensical request.

What Melinda enjoyed most was going to the homes of my various neighbors who had never entertained a foreigner in their lives and she was quite taken aback with our hospitality as she was treated at short notice as an honored guest and in one place she was even given a gift of a picture to hang on a wall. Two days later she was put on a bus to get back to Colombo and a local bus to Nugegoda from Pettah, which she gamely did much to the amazement of the locals who would not venture into the unknown.


Anonymous said...

she got the royal treatment, did you get the girl?

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サミーラ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
サミーラ said...

Dear Sir
I came a cross your blog, while I’m searching for Gotukola and found it so interesting. So I thought I would mail you and convey my ideas to you.
My name is Sameera Gunawardena 26 and currently living in Japan. the place I’m living is a remote Island. If you say the Tokyo is Colombo, place I’m living is the may be so similar to the place that your living.
I first came to Japan 7 years ago as a university student and after the graduation I joined the one of the biggest travel company in Japan (Japan travel bureau) JTB. After working there for one year I found the life in Tokyo in so bored and I didn’t find my job is challenging.
So I chose this Island and now I’m working in the tourist information office of this small Island. It’s a miracle that I found Gotukola in this Island so now Im growing it in a farm. As you know Gotukola is renown herb in Ayurveda and you might be better known the power of gotukola.
There are some Gotukola products in Japans such as Gotukola Tea and supplement tablets. But know one take it as a vegetable and so know one loves it as a food.
So I would like to introduce gotukola as a herbal food to Japanese and its my long time dream to introduce proper Ayurveda to japan. There are so many Ayurveda Treatment centers in Japan but most of them are situated in the concrete jungles such as Tokyo and they are only doing only oil massages. So most of the Japanese think that Ayurveda is equal to oil massage.
I would like to join hand with a Sri Lankan village and if we can do exchanges between my Island and some remote village in Sri Lanka, I think it will be a good model of a effective community business.
It will be a great pleasure that if I talk further about your activities in Sri Lanka and whether its possible to do something together and also for my country.
I will be coming to Sri Lanka in end of this year or begging of the next year. I would like to meet you and see the activities that you are engaging in.
Here is my blog and it will help you to understrand bit about me.
So it will be a great pleasure that if you can reply me and I would love to hear you from soon.
TEL:   08514-2-0101
FAX :   08514ー2-0102

GraemeO said...

Ranjith, it’s always delightful to read these stories, tourists who embrace the true quality of travelling to small and less developed countries with an aim to enjoy their culture and diversity. However I was equally astonished, as you were, to discover the prices tourist pay to visit places of interest. I too visited the famous ruins a few years ago. I remember our guide, Maxi, was attired in a pair of levis jeans, a snazzy shirt, a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a New York Yankees cap. He didn’t really fit the typical description of what one would expect at a place of religious and historic significance but he did his best to keep us interested. I remember he even suggested that elevators were first invented during this period. No doubt Mr. Otis may have something to say about that.

Sri Lanka Tourism should have a proper well researched approach to attracting visitors to the cultural triangle without trying to trap the poor unsuspecting soul. It’s a regular thoughtless scheme that because their ‘Benjamins’ buy more Ruppees, we must charge them exorbitant prices ie – US$25 for a walk-through tour (in the rain!). I can understand if there were waterslides or roller coaster rides at a neighbouring theme park offered as part of the deal, but this is silly. Particularly to this demographic as they are probably students or bohemian travellers who live on $5 a day.

I’m happy however to read that these facets of our island home are still attractive to people from the west. Come to a little village and taste its fine cuisine, savour its warm smiles. Bask in its rich sunshine and fall asleep in the arms of its therapeutic zephyr. The pictures of vegetables and weddings all contribute the colourful landscape.

Ceylon is the cradle of the Human Race because everyone there looks an original. – George Bernard Shaw

Hang Ten

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