Sri Lanka, the Island of SerendipityPosted on February 18, 2013 by JASONBUZISERENDIPITY (from the Oxford English Dictionary):From Serendip, a former name for Sri Lanka + -ity. - A word coined by Horace Walpole, who says (Letter to Mann, 28 Jan. 1754) that hehad formed it upon the title of the fairy-tale „The Three Princes of Serendip‟, the heroesof which „were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they werenot in quest of‟. - The faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. Also, the factor an instance of such a discovery. Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island country in Southern Asia. It is locatedin the Indian Ocean which is south of India. Even though Jason Buzi spent two weeks inthe country, he already had seen so many amazing things about it. He spent his first fewdays in the capital, Colombo, largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast ofthe island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte suburb (parliament capital of SriLanka). The capital felt like it was in Mumbai but only cleaner and with fewer beggarsand homeless people. Although the civil war ended in May and there hadn‟t been any terrorist attack on the capital in years, there were still quite a few military checkpoints throughout the city. Jason Buzi planned to do some volunteer work at a school in the southern city of Galle but quickly found out that it wasn‟t a charity but a business. He also realized that he wouldn‟t make a difference in a short time so he stopped volunteering after three days. However, it was fun givingmagic pens, coloring books, postcards and T-shirts to the kids. Also, he made friendswith two other volunteers: Amanda, a British girl and Mia, a Swiss girl.
The beaches in the countrywere really nice, howeverbeing able to travel aroundworld, it weren‟t thatimpressive anymore. Thewaves were pretty big andinterestingly, there were onlya few surfers around. JasonBuzi did a lot of swimming,as it was warm outside andthe water was very nice. Henever went in too far though because of the strong currents and waves. Those waves werenothing compared to the tsunami that originated in Indonesia and reached Sri Lankareally hard exactly five years ago, in December 2004, and over 30,000 people died. Hemet some people who lost their family members and also their livelihood. There were plenty of Americans since many American groups came to help after thetsunami. In fact, one “tuk tuk” driver said the Americans bought him a new “tuk tuk”.The affected areas seemed to have recovered really well, though he is sure that manypeople‟s liveshaven‟t. After a fewdays at thebeach, hewent to visitthe highlands,where thelandscape andclimate werecompletelydifferent fromthe coastalarea. Theplace waslush andmostly greenand withmany riversandwaterfalls.The skies
were mostly misty and it was definitely much cooler. Furthermore, the country is much popular with its tea and even people who knownothing about Sri Lanka knows about its tea. Thomas Lipton, a Scotsman, bought teaplantations here and introduced tea to the masses in Europe and beyond. Before that, itwas an expensive drink and the ones who could afford it were the elites. Ceylon, SriLanka‟s name until 1972, tea became very famous around the world and in turn, Liptonbecame the world‟s leading brand of tea. Today, the country is the world‟s second largesttea producer after India and it sells for a 50% premium as it is considered the best. Seeingwomen tea pickers up close was one of the things Jason Buzi was looking forward to onhis visit. It turned out that most of thetea laborers were brought by theBritish from India until now. Heasked a Sri Lankan driver andguide why the factories don‟thire local laborers but theyreplied that Sri Lankans are toolazy for this kind of work.Consequently, in the teagrowing areas, Hindu templeswere found everywhere yet themajority of the population wasBuddhist.After visiting the tea plantationsand tea factories, he went to thecultural city of Kandy, the second biggest city in Sri Lanka. He saw one of the nicestbotanical gardens he had ever seen and it was the largest in Sri Lanka. He was impressedthat it was built by a local king, long before the British came. Jason Buzi saw a traditional dance show in Kandy incorporating fire spinning and firewalking. Kandy‟s Temple of the Tooth was the most important Buddhist temple in SriLanka and one of the most important in the world. It was a giant complex containingdifferent shrines and temples. A tooth kept here was allegedly one of Buddha‟s teethbrought here in the 4th century. This is probably the most important tooth in the world andhas become a symbol of Sri Lanka‟s sovereignty. On Wednesday, he visited the Dambulla caves which contain many Buddha statues and ahuge rock called Sigiriya. It was a difficult and sweaty climb to the top of the big rock,only to discover that at the top, there was basically nothing. Only an old pool, two stray
dogs and three unsocial Finissh guys were there. He made sure to tell everyone as he wascoming down, that they should be prepared to be disappointed. Well, the sense of achievement was possibly worth it Jason Buzi shared. It wasimpossible for him not to compare Indian and Sri Lanka because there was an evidentcultural similarity. Well, you could say that Sri Lanka was the lighter version of Indiabecause it was cleaner, less chaotic, less crowded and there was not much visible poverty.Beggars and homeless people were rarely seen but it was less colorful in a way.The people and culture seem gentler, and for better or worse, you don‟t get as muchsensory overload. From his experience and those of other travelers, you are also lesslikely to get sick here, as it is more sanitary.The landscape and climate were very reminiscent of Southern India. Little wonder sinceSri Lanka was just off the tip of Southern India. The English level was also much lowerhere. Although also colonized by the British, and though many signs are in English, theydid not retain English as an official language.Overall, Jason Buzi really enjoyed Sri Lanka, but there were a few places, like Thailand,that he saw himself returning to again and again.