Saturday, 17 May 2008

Second impressions

A few more impressions of the early days of life and work in Sri Lanka…

· In Nepal I was almost always called (elder) sister “didi” – in the street, in shops, in meetings, in restaurants and even in the doctor’s surgery. I have to stress that the elder reference is more a mark of respect than seniority in age of course!!! In South India and in Sri Lanka so far, I seem to be called Madam everywhere.
· Fish! Fish available everywhere – from the wee guy nipping in and out of gates in the residential areas with a pole balancing two containers of extremely fresh fish for sale to the (smelly) aisle of dried fish in the supermarket.
· Curried banana flowers – mmmm.
· The removal of alcohol, meat and eggs from sale every full moon.
· A different dress code for women in Colombo – there are traditional Sri Lankan saris with a little frill (I’ll get a picture as I cant easily describe it), Indian saris and a few shalwar kameez, but in the main women of all ages wear blouse and skirt – very different to Nepal and India.

And finally – a little moment to share. On Friday evening, as I was enjoying a lovely cold beer with a friend to mark the start of the weekend, the waiter helpfully topped up my friend’s glass. He did this with a rather interesting technique, holding the bottle well above the glass and pouring with quite a flourish – with the result that the beer promptly produced an unbelievable amount of froth. The waiter responded to our amusement by blaming the beer! “Little bit bubble coming up”, he announced! Little bit bubble?? My friend’s beer was proudly sporting a 6 inch head of froth!!! It’s incredible how much a little bit bubble can lighten the mood and make you laugh!

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