The East is a lugubrious entity. It’s people are bogged down with a hard life, yet they appear to have hope.
Some of them will try to rip you off. But most of them are awfully glad to see you. Tamil is the de facto language here and you’d pass through whole towns with almost no Sinhala on commercial signboards.
The landscapes are dry. There is drought in these parts, areas showing water on maps are bone dry and uncultivated farmland stretches as far as the eye can see.
The economy seems to have gotten a temporary boost because of development. A lot of people who would be otherwise working on their farms have switched to laboring on the roads to keep the bread in the basket. The women work the roads as well and men take on the harder jobs like breaking rocks for concrete. They get paid an average of Rs 400 a day.
Roads are being developed at a rate. And public transport also seems to be improving. The government has rebuilt hospitals and schools.
Tourism seems poised to provide the next boom in these parts. In Arugam Bay, small business owners are already preparing for next years inflow. The hope the roads will be finished in time. A lot of them are also searching for investment to expand, touting ideas of surfing schools and guest houses to visitors.
In Kalukudah and Pasikudah most beachside land at has been given away to on 99 year leases to big shots. The President’s doctor and Ghotabaya Rajapakse are speculated to be amongst them. In the next couple of years these beaches will begin to be covered in luxury resorts.