Life and People

Being European travelling to Sri Lanka means you will be quickly distinguished in towns and villages – for your fair skin, different hair colour and lifestyle in general. Curiosity is a common feature – that is why European travel and Sri Lankan people approach foreigners that are usually much taller and bigger than themselves to learn more about each other. Sometimes there are surprises on both sides and most of the times it is a welcoming smile and good experience. People in Sri Lanka are usually farmers, though many try to live from tourism. Typical question from a Sri Lankan outside Colombo talking to a tourist: What do you grow in your country? (meaning that you grow it personally on your land and that may be surprising to many Westerners). Therefore a market or marketplace in each town and village is to be seen. And what about other shops? Then next item would be clothing, food stalls and eateries and other shops of all kinds.

Men usually wear a sarong (a long piece of cloth long enough to reach the feet, wrapped around the waist like a towel) and shirt (white or light colours). It is a pity that you do not see that many colourful sarees on women anymore as they rather dress into a western style – skirt and blouse, or jeans for young girls and T-shirt and shorts for guys. School kids wear uniform which is usually white. And, people also dress in white when going to a temple.

Roti maker1
1 It was great to watch skillful cooks prepare very thin layers of dough for baking delicious roti flatbread. This one really enjoys his job.
Rain in Colombo2
2 Tropical monsoon in Colombo did not allowed for extensive sight seeing of Colombo's highlights.
Traffic dispatcher3
3 Another heavy duty job - dispatching the traffic on a busy crossing in Galle. Not only the uniform is tight, but the huge gloves and whistle. The officer must be tired after an hour service there.
Riding a bike4
4 Nice straight roads of the old fort in Galle with even pavement and almost no traffic are a good venue for kids to play.
Old fort in Galle5
5 Roads in old fort must be quiet. At least this is what this signs asks from drivers. And it is utmost punishment for any Sri Lankan driver. Their honk their horn a lot!
Curry for lunch6
6 One of our quests was to sample local food properly. That meant we sometimes had curry for lunch and dinner in different places - and they were never the same. The amount of spice, varieties and size differed every time - from four flavours and rice to ten small savoury bowls and rice. We learned about sambols, papadoms and discovered our preferred flavors - try banana flower, if you can.
Cricket madness7
7 There is training ground for cricket in every little village. The largest training space was in Galle fort with about 200 chaps of various age in focus and seriously practicing.
Traditional fishermen8
8 Fishing rods and stakes near the point where waves break - that is traditional equipment of individual fishermen. These two were rather fishing tourists and being paid when someone took picture of them, but it was kind of fun anyway.
Height difference9
9 Fishermen keep their valuables and money in their hat so it is not a problem to give you change back. Traditional European is at least 2 ft taller than them.
Palm climber10
10 On a hot day a man can start climbing on a palm to get some coconuts for cooking or drinking. It attracts a lot of attention of passers by and swimmers.
11 Very knowledgeable young monk with a good English and very heavy old key to get us into relatively old but ornately decorated temple.
Sweeping with a smile12
12 Kids do sometimes give great smiles.
Labour on the lake13
13 Traveling on a Hikkaduwa lake with two young guys rowing for us. The boats are very narrow so you sit on a plank laid over boards and there is also stabilizing outrigger on the boat.
Shrimps for sale14
14 Being hungry on a train? Easy remedy - buy some savory treats from vendors on the train.
Temple gates15
15 Decorations of the temple and traditional dress of young girls.
16 Beautiful white or pink lotos flowers for sale in the temple area in Kataragama.
17 This young baby girl walked to me as she wanted the flower. She was very happy when she got it.
Evening talk18
18 Holy man in the temple in a discussion with keeper.
19 It takes 9 hours to travel from Colombo to Ella. If you do this travel frequently, it is fine to have a kip.
Badulla street20
20 Busy street on a Saturday afternoon with a lot of advertisements, colors and people.
Rice harvest21
21 Manual rice harvest in Wellawaya. Flocks of herons wait for their share.
Walk from a temple22
22 Impressive procession near Buduruwagala temple. The color is light or whit if possible. The umbrellas give much needed shade in early afternoon scorching heat.
Director of the train station23
23 There are amazing uniforms of the train transport staff. I absolutely wanted to have a picture of train dispatchers as their appearance is close to that of a navy admiral.
Elephant off hours24
24 Working elephants have right for a proper bath in a stream when they finish their daily galore. Mahaut walks them to Habarana stream and gives them proper bath with scrubbing their skin with coconut skin.
Lone curiosity25
25 We walked into the garden like temple entrance around mighty and I noticed an orange glare. I have seen a shy but curious young trainee monk watching us.
Small rice mill26
26 Rice needs to be shelled before use. this is done in the machine once the harvested rise spikes reach this garage rice mill. The machine is probably quite old, but reliable and it makes huge noise, impossible to talk with owners when the beast is in operation.
Porter of cabbage27
27 Did you buy something? Well, then you need to ask porter to get it to your truck or lorry for you. They usually have a cape over their head and shoulders made from jute or other textile bag to protect themselves from any dirt fruits or veggies may discharge.
Life in wholesale market28
28 Do you want a jack fruit? You an buy it and in addition you also get a lovely smile!
Wholesale market in Dambulla29
29 Five large halls bustling with life - trucks coming in fully loaded in pineapples, bananas, all kinds of beans, chillies, cucumbers, tomatoes. No machinery around - it is all carried by people on their backs. This is a hard job!
Clothing in Sri Lanka30
30 Men in trousers? Not too often when working. in that case a colourful sarong - ankle long skirt like wrapped cloth around the waste and shirt or T-shirt.
Cinderella Sri Lankan way31
31 Hill of things to sort apart is my childhood memory of Cinderella's task to divide peas, beans and ashes to prevent her going to the ball. This represent this hill of fish to me, though I do not know whether any ball is waiting for the lady here.
Net emptying32
32 Every little fish is carefully extracted from the net. Clean nets are then folded away and prepared for the next day.
After school33
33 White is the colour of school uniforms, ties distinguish the schools according to the pattern and colour. I wonder how to keep the uniform snowhite. I remember my childhood and white would not be something my parents readily choose for me to put on.