A Day in our Sri Lankan Life

Monday, October 1, 2018 at 22:09 (UTC+0530)

When the alarm chimed just after sunrise (always six a.m. here) it was time to start chopping fresh fruit for a morning smoothie. Today the blender was filled with pomelo, pineapple, banana, and lime, as well as the usual yoghurt and orange juice.

Being the first of the month, and a Monday, it seemed fitting to return to Seneca's dilapidated gym and sign up for another month. For an hour I pedaled the rickety stationary bike and lifted random weights while the television blared some Singhala morning show.

The vegetable lady across the road was happy to see me again after three months. I bought green beans, onions, garlic, and potatoes for dinner tonight. Everything of imperfect shape, and as fresh as you can imagine.

Shukri the young tuk tuk driver was nearby so I hired him to give me a lift home. It's only about a mile but the road is in a terrible state of mud because of construction (that has been going on for months). We made a quick stop at the Egg Center where I bought six brown eggs, speaking only Singhala, to the delight of the owner, who always teaches me another word or two.

Arriving home I realized that I was almost out of beer, so I grabbed my crate of empties and asked Shukri to take me half way to Kandy, to a shop called the Royal Mall, where I could exchange the empties for full ones. It's a bit ironic because he's Muslim and so doesn't drink, but he didn't mind. We set off and were soon stuck in traffic, buses belching dark diesel smoke into our little open vehicle.

The beer run was a success — I got two whole crates — but on the way home we got into the same traffic jam again. This time we stopped next to a police motorbike with two officers who eyed the large amount of beer next to me and said something to Shukri. He answered them with nonchalance.

Later I asked what they were saying about the beer. "They wanted to know where we were going with so much beer. I said I was taking this alcoholic foreigner back to his hotel." I gave Shukri a nice tip when we got home.

So back home now it was time for some reading, a nap, and trying to set up a printer for Karen.  She was working like a busy bee.  I tried to be helpful. Actually I've got a lot of reading and organizing photos and documents to do myself.

The skies darkened and the daily deluge began at 2:45.  The air became heavy with humidity and thunder echoed around the hills like distant artillery.  The power cut out while Karen's laptop was doing updates. Luckily the battery kept it going until the lights came on again.

Tonight I whipped up an ad-hoc curry. I split a coconut with my machete and reamed out the white meat with the rotary coconut scraper that came with our kitchen. I boiled and diced potatoes, sliced green beans (and nearly my thumb), fried up onion and garlic and green chili. Karen popped out to the front yard to pick a sprig of curry leaves. All of it went into the wok with coconut milk and turmeric. By God, it was delicious.

The evening wrapped up with me strumming my "Grape" brand guitar, Karen's birthday present to me, and she swung open the doors to let in the cool night air. Our friendly neighborhood dog Kiki lay down on the door mat to listen in.