Sri Lanka: And Then There Were Three...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

C'mon, which situation is worse?

Hello Everyone! I hope that you all are well and that everyone is having an enjoyable summer. As you all know, I am spending my summer teaching in Sri Lanka. The plan, originally, was to spend six weeks in the country and just teach. Just teach. Well, that was the plan. But we all know that not everything can go according to plan. And this is where I think I'll begin my story. It's no secret. I came here to teach. And only teach. I didn't come to Sri Lanka to see the sights (I did that in January) and get a tan (I already have a permanent one). But that's what happened this past weekend. We, the crazy trio, ventured out and experienced a great deal of extraordinary occurrences. For starters, Mike, Blair and I decided to take a trip to Uda Walawe. This is a place known for its jungle safari. So with the help, or should I say no help at all, from our driver who took us to Hikkaduwa the prior weekend, we independently planned our trip for a jungle safari. Now, keep in mind as you read, this trip was planned by amaeturs. So after our driver gave us the number of a guy named Lashantha, who as he said, "will take care of you," we called the number and made our hotel arrangements and reservations for a safari jeep. We left on Saturday afternoon, after our Saturday school session. And guess what. We weren't driven to Oochi Wali Wali. No No. We took the bus. That's right--public transportation. Look, don't judge me. I know what you are all thinking. "Oh, look at Melissa, she thinks she's a princess because the Sri Lankans treat her like royalty." Right? Wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, I am from New York. Bronx, New York. Public Transportation is the only way to get around. But excuse me if a girl likes to get pampered once in a while. So yes. I like to get driven around and I was expecting to be driven to this place. But we took the bus. And what a long bus ride it was. We left the bus station at about 1:30pm and didn't arrive at Obi-Wan Kenobi until 6:00pm. Pretty bad, right? I know. But it gets better. So we are at the location and now we must get to our hotel. Like our driver said, "Lashantha will take care of you." So we called Lashantha. And five minutes after the call, someone, not Lashantha, came to pick us up--one of Lashantha's friends. He took us to our hotel, if you could call it that (don't worry, I'm going to tell you all about the hotel), via trishaw. That's right, I'm a princess and I want my proper ride--trishaw wasn't what I expected. So we're headed to the hotel, which happens to be 5 miles down the road. Did we really need a trishaw? I could've raced the trishaw and made it there before it did. But whatever--we get to the hotel...

Welcome to the Hotel California. Yup. That's what is was. Okay, I'm exaggerating. It was more like Hotel California meets Hotel Rwanda. It was not a hotel. It was a house. And not just any house--the house of Lashantha's three male friends (devoted followers of Spongebob Square Pants). Now, it really doesn't take much to please me, but c'mon. Somebody's house. I stood in somebody's house--emphasis on the some body. We rented a room. One room. With two beds. And three people, of which two are female. Okay. You all get the point. Needless to say, the three of us had a good time.

Okay, now let's move on to the three men who lived in the hote..excuse (Though Lashantha made his appearance, these three men are so much more interesting. So, I'm going to talk about them.) Well, there were three of them and they were nice. They had pictures on the walls in their room of themselves and male Calvin Klein models. Call me crazy, I mean, I'm not a rocket scientist, but I think they were gay. Now, I don't have a problem with people who are homosexuals. Some of my good friends are gay. But in Sri Lanka, that kind of activity is prohibited. It is against the law to engage in homosexual activities here. But I just wanted to put it out there for the people who read my blogs: the three men who let us stay in their home were extremely hospitable, friendly, and gay. So, c'mon is homosexuality really that bad?

Ok. Let's move on before the Sri Lankans put out a warrant for my arrest.

The next day...
After the most uncomfortable sleeping experience, but one of the best nights I ever had at a place, we woke up at 6:00 am for the safari ride. Now, I'm going to cut to the chase. Literally. We arrived at the safari park at about 7:00am and paid 20 bucks each, not including the price of the jeep rental (by the way, I'm still pissed about that), to see wild animals in their natural habitat--did I mention that these animals were wild--attack 3 dumb Americans. That's right!! This weekend we were almost killed! I paid 20 bucks and then some for my almost death warrant. This big ass elephant tried to attack our jeep and we almost died. Thankfully, however, our safari tour guide yelled something in Sinhalese to it and it left. But after the shock of the experience, I came to a realization: it wasn't the elephant's fault. It's an elephant in the wild. That's what it does. It didn't go crazy, it went elephant. We, on the other hand, were the crazy ones--visiting, or rather, bothering wild elephants in their home. What the .... were we thinking?!? But like I said, we survived it.

Unfortunately, there was another tsunami in Indonsia that killed over 300 people. Though tsunamis are natural disasters and bound to happen, it is a sad situation. But c'mon, which situation is worse? (Natural disasters that happen to people who do not know when to expect it and can do nothing about it or three foolish Americans who chose to play with wild elephants?)


  • melissa,
    You guys are brave souls or fools. I guess you must be pretty comfortable in Sri Lanka to be taking a bus and trishaw in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. You better learn Sinhalese so that you can ward off wild animals and humans. I wonder who is learning more on this trip, you or your students? By now, Br. Augustine ( the American) should be there - say "Hello!" Take him on some wild trips so that he gets the full Sri Lanka experience! Take care, you only have about 10 days left in Sri Lanka.
    Dean M.

    By Blogger william merriman, at 10:23 AM  

  • Well, well, well. I am cannot believe the stories that I am reading. Melissa, I ahve to say that your narritives make me chuckle. I am so glad that the three of you have ventured out into the country on your own. It is good thing Mike is on the trip because I know you would not being doing that. Anyway, enjoy the remainder of the trip and keep brother Gus safe. I am certain the man will have some culture shock, but it is all for the better. Cannot wait to see you.

    Love, Patrick

    By Blogger PatrickDevery, at 11:20 PM  

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