For a place that gave me a boil on me arse ( a really big boil ) , mosquito bites, two to the top of my knob, I like Sri Lanka, a lot. They call it the emerald isle, and coming from one emerald isle to another I can safely say it is very green, in a different way, a verdant tropical way as opposed to an agricultural grassy way. There are lots of similarities between Sri Lanka and Ireland where I come from. Both are former British colonies, islands, both gained independence from Britain in the last century, suffered from protracted periods of unrest after independence and both have gained a shaky peace, something to be built on with benefits for all.
You could call it the land of a million smiles, everyone seems to have one ready, no cost, just nice and easy.
It reminds me of Ireland in lots of strange ways. People always talk about what sort of country Ireland would be if you dragged it down to the tropics, well Sri Lanka is the closest approximation I have come across in my travels in that regard. They don’t have the same fixation with beer, not to say they don’t know how to party, but they do need to stay upright on their surfboards and a light body-mass is important.
It is definitely a country with many problems, politics is family business, nepotism, cronyism, corruption on a large scale. However the corruption has an openness to it that is in some respects refreshing. You have to pay some sort of graft to get things done. And once paid you move on to the next payment to get the next thing done. It is not unlike the official graft one pays in any European state, except you do seem to be able to get things done.
There are 20 million Sri Lankans living in a country that has some of the most amazing countryside I have ever seen. Yala national park, up into the hill’s to the tea growing country, the city of Kandy and the perfect beaches . I will definitely be back.