|A land I'd never imagined visiting before :)|
I’d never thought or imagined that I would stay this long – three weeks now - here in Sri Lanka, a country where the majority of its population was Buddhist (70.2%). It started from months ago when a good friend of mine, Tashi, introducing me her good friend, Sonam, who was studying Medical faculty here at a University in Ragama. She told him that I was a passionate traveler who loved visiting places especially the Buddhist pilgrimage sites, and fortunately, he was willing to receive me at his rented place, and even bring me around places in Sri Lanka.
|First time taking Srilankan Air|
I bought the air ticket after he had his schedule confirmation. Earlier, he said he would have holiday on the first two week of April, followed by exam on the third week, then normal class at the last. Sinhalese New Year fell on 14th April and Vesak Day on 29th April. Both days were very important in the country and I thought of experiencing it. That was why I planned of staying here this long (total of 25 days).
|From the top of Adam's Peak or Sripada in Srilanka|
Until today, we have visited almost all the places that I had wanted to visit, starting from the famous Sri Pada (sacred footprint) or also known as Adam’s Peak – thousands steps of stairs climbing experience in the middle of the night for 3-4 hours and waited there until the sun rose; the ancient city of Anuradhapura – to visit many pilgrimage sites including dagobas, temples, stupa, Bodhi tree that sapling was brought over from Bodhgaya after Buddha reached enlightenment; the ancient cave in Dambulla; the Sigiriya rock fortress; the Temple of the Tooth (Buddha’s tooth relic) in Kandy; the Peradeniya Botanical Garden; the cool mountains with lots of tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya and Ella; the nostalgic Old Town in Galle filled with buildings built during Portugal, Dutch, and England’s time; the beautiful Unawatuna beach; and many other places in Colombo city. We have wrapped almost all by now and only left with very few places plus the Vesak celebration by end of this month.
|Celebrating Sinhalese New Year|
On the Sinhalese New Year, Sonam had last minute requested his ex-tenant to let me and juniors experiencing their culture at their home (what they usually did on New Year), plus we were invited for dinner the day after that. There, I experienced on how they usually received guest, what types of food and drink they served, the ambience, and so on.
|Srilankan New Year's dinner party at aunty and uncle house|
From this trip, I had never thought too that at this age, I had the opportunity to experience the real life of Bhutanese students who had to study for a long period of time (at least five years for Medical faculty), so far away from home, and felt their struggle in adapting their new life (with the weather that similar with Singapore – only hot and rain, the language that they had to learn from zero – Sinhalese and Tamil, the air pollution – many were missing the fresh Bhutan air, the water quality, the public transport facilities, the taste and cleanliness of the local food – many were prefer cooking Bhutanese food each and every day, plus the infamous and uncertain ‘strike’ that delayed their course of study).
|My 'nest' during my stay in Sri Lanka. Thank you Sonam!!! :)|
As temporary visitor, I too had my time adapting to the new environment here in Sri Lanka. On my first night, I had a difficult time to sleep as the mosquito loved sucking my sweet blood. Luckily the next day Sonam and Sangay managed getting the mosquito net for me and they immediately installed it. I had good sleep each and every night now. While taking a bath, sometimes I had to dance to avoid the passing by cockroaches, lizards, and sometimes the skinny worms. Lol.
|Momo making in Sri Lanka - 13th April 2018|
For food wise, I was lucky that Sonam and his friends were such good cooks!!! They had prepared and cooked many different types of Bhutanese dishes, and every time they cooked different ones. I must have tasted most Bhutanese dishes ever available over here including the experience of making the veg Momo (Bhutanese dumpling) from the scratch!!! We had it on the Sinhalese New Year’s Eve. Usually I only saw it from photos or heard the story from others. So I was very grateful that I could be part of it in real life.
|Alfresco dining at Somnath and Oli's place :)|
Not forgetting the alfresco dining prepared by Oli and Somnath at their humble place :) Thank you guys!!!
|Sonam cut Jigme's hair|
I too experienced watching Sonam cutting Jigme’s hair with only using comb and scissor, plus mirror. I heard a lot about Bhutanese students cutting each other’s hair to save cost and to have the hair style they desired, but my first time watching it with my own eyes.
|Watching them playing football at basketball court :D|
Yesterday I too had my first time watching them playing football at the basketball court. Football had been the most favorite sport by many, especially Bhutanese boys. They could spare their time everyday just to play it or go all the way to other city to catch the football match. I had never been fans of it but yes, I heard about it a lot, and grateful for the opportunity to watch them playing.
During my stay it was not all going smoothly though. One night I felt the sole of my feet itchy. I thought I was bitten by mosquitoes. After that, the palms of my hand turned itchy. Hmm… I thought, what a coincidence to have the itch at those funny places. So I slept. The next morning, the itch got worst. I could not sleep because of that. This time, it attacked both feet and both hands. It must be something wrong, I thought. True enough. Soon, the red patched appeared on my legs, but it was not itchy though. Still, it required some attention.
|Skin allergy attack!!! :(|
Sonam brought me to clinic, but it was closed (still New Year’s holiday). We went to hospital ward to see doctor and got prescription. The next day the condition got worst. The patches got more and spread to hips now. We visited skin specialist at the hospital this time and the doctor was very good. He knew my condition well and opened the right prescription. The cream was special mixed ingredients and able to counter the allergic fast. The medicine that I took was helping me too. Woah, lucky I was able to recover fast!!! Thank you!!!
|Thank you Sonam!!! ^^|
And another incident happened on my way back from Galle to Colombo. Three toes skin were torn off while riding the train. I had to endure for a duration of 3 hours until reaching home. After taking bath, Sonam had voluntarily cleaned the wound up, applied the Betadine, and wrapped each toes with bandage and gauze to make sure it was cleaned and dried. I was very grateful that he was around and always there when I needed it the most. Most importantly, he knew what to do. He was calm and always ensured me that I would be fine in no time. Hahaha… I was very grateful to stay with doctor-to-be this time round!!!
|Relaxing day at home - eat and watch movie ^^|
Coincidentally he and his friends started schooling this week. As they did not have time to go out, I too had a good resting and recuperating time at home. I slept, ate, did laundry, cooked sometimes, watched movies from Sangay’s laptop, and decided to write this post. This trip was really memorable one, the one I would never forget in my life.
|One of the feelings I got here :(|
There were lots of mix emotions that I got here in Sri Lanka. From the country, the people, their living conditions, their terrains, their environment, places, and so on. I have learned many things in life as well. Thank you SB for making this journey smooth and well so far. May I reach home safe and sound very soon. Thank you once again for everyone, especially Sonam, who has treated me very well throughout my stay here in Sri Lanka. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!