I haven’t written anything on the Lair in a while and it has begun to erk me. Well, slightly at least. I’ve been playing these typing games to get my typing upto speed. And to get rid of my typos. Athough some might accuse my ‘typos’ of being a simple indication of bad spelling, i will stick by the fact that they as a matter of fact, are simply typos.
Went to Jaffna over the weekend. And I think i am in love. But the city was dusty and hot. crowded and sweaty. It was like Batticaloa minus the vibrant colors. The mangoes were’t great and the jack fruit wasn’t sweet. But Casuarina Beach was excellent.
It was lined with palm trees! Something that i can safey say i haven’t seen on any other shore in SL. The water was waist to chest deep for a long long way in. There was a fishing village further down from where we entered and they stopped us as we went for a run and we helped them tug their boat in. I think it was the first Tamil fishing village i have come across.
The people are a mixed bunch. Some of them treated us like we were foreigners before we corrected them. The bus conductors were friendly and even polite to regular passengers. There is a sense of togetherness among the people there. There was one conductor who was spiderman; he would climb up to the roof of his moving bus to adjust the bicycles perched on the top (all buses there carry bicycles on the roof), he would swing along the windows to the back while the bus was moving to coordinate the crush of people and to firmly ask them to move back, move back.
I was almost suffocated by a generously proportioned lady who with her voluminous folds of flesh leant upon me like i was some inanimate object. Though it must be mentioned here that her folds of flesh can’t have been quite as voluminous as Aruna’s.
We camped under stars by the generousity of the people at the Kovil of Casuarina. They offered us the free use of a complete house on their premises but we politely refused and just asked for some firewood; the tent insisted on not being lugged about the country only to be uselessly brought back so we owed it some inabitation.
Meg’s cooking saved our stomachs from indegestion and food poisoning. But I think i ate something bad on the way to Vavuniya. Must have been those apples dipped in chilli. Noodles are convinient food for camping noh. You just light fire, boil water, put noodles, wait and take noodles out. Yum.
We visited Point Pedro on the day of Thai Pongal. It was more crowded than Mt Lavinia beach on a busy Saturday. We ran into Indi, and continued running into him at every turn. That guy is a machine. Anyway, since camping at Pt Pedro seemed next to impossible, we trekked to this beach called Nilliady which was occupied by the Navy. Word was that we could get into a safe beach if we sweet talk the Navy into letting us in.
As it turned out, we couldnt ‘sweet talk’ them into anything. Regulation was regulation. We almost succeeded in convincing them to let us camp near the entrance to the base near a roadside cemetary but Jerry being the genius he is, revealed that he was Indian upon which they all did a double take and looked at us like we were scouts sent to scope out the coast for an invasion force.
He also went ahead and happily revealed the fact that one of us was a journalist upon which they all became harder eyed and firmly told us to seek refuge elsewhere. But to their credit, they really went out of the way to find us a place and make sure we were safe.
We went to watch the eclipse at Hindu College. Himal’s enthusiasm to ‘watch the eclipse with professionals’ kept us from heading to a more exotic location. However we did get a free lunch of some filling pongal and Lasantha showed us his ear stand while we waited.
The eclipse was great. More information on safe observing should be circulated to people though. I has just walked out the mosque when it peaked and people who saw me looking at the sun through my welding glasses asked to borrow them. And soon there was quite a line waiting to look through. I told them as best I could how to watch it safely and walked away. I like to think i contributed to preservation of their eyesight at least slightly through my action of leaving my lenses behind.
Finaly, I came to Jaffna to witness an eclipse and experienced a total eclipse of the heart. And no it wasn’t accompanied by the sound of a corny 80’s love anthem of the same title.
A more objective and full account of the whole trip will soon be up at http://sinhalayatravels.wordpress.com. They sponsored most of the pics. We even gave an interview to Veerakesari at the premises of Hindu College. Which was bustling with students come to see the eclipse showcased to them by the Astronomical Society. This pic of the eclipse was captured by Thilina Heenatigala.