Things I learned Part II

This is the continuation of my trip back to Sri Lanka and the re-exploration of the delights therein.

Hand-phone = Cellphone

Which makes perfect sense, actually, but It feels very unusual to say it. Cell towers aren’t referred to as such and are called telecom towers instead. Hence, no cellphones. But it is comforting to know that high-speed connection claims are equally rubbish for the most part as they are in the States.

E.G. I’m using Dialog as my ISP with their mobile broadband USB dongle. I was promised 3G speeds island-wide with very few dead spots, but at present it’s 72K down and 12K up.

Sri Lankans won the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945

I had forgotten my headphones back in the U.S. and had to buy a new pair. The clerk gave me a 1,000 Rupee note as part of my change that I didn’t examine until I was at a grocery store that evening. Imagine my surprise when I came across this…

Does not compute...

For those of you who don’t understand the implications, here’s a photo taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23rd, 1945 on Iwo Jima during World War II.

A cleaned up version of entry ID 520748 taken from the U.S. National Archives at The location is Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima

I can accept that the vast majority of Sri Lankans won’t understand the significance of the photo, but I refuse to believe that no one at the Sri Lankan mint knew of  Rosenthal and the photo and what it means to the U.S.

Sri Lanka has a long history military victories and any one of them could have easily served as an artistic backdrop for the obverse of the note. Yet the reason they chose to take a 66-year-old photograph depicting a victory for another country in another war as inspiration is beyond me. I understand the whole nation is happy the civil war is over, but come on Sri Lanka… Be original!

Rain feels like getting hit by 1000 marbles/second

I completely forgot this is the start of the monsoon and the biggest downpour in the U.S is no match to the rain here.  Thankfully, flooding isn’t a major concern where I’m staying, but it isn’t uncommon to see some streets inundated up to a few inches at least after a major spell of rain.

I could have sworn the raindrops are just a bit shy of 1/4 inch. Naturally, there seems to be no discernible pattern to when the rains will start as it could be bright and sunny one minute and torrential rains the next. Large storms can cross the entire country in a relatively short period considering it’s size is roughly that of West Virginia.

Elephant dung doesn’t smell as bad as I imagined…

… but I was spot on when it came to size.

We were visiting an elephant sanctuary close to the middle of the country (I’ve seen them up close when I was very young, but I don’t remember that trip) and I must say I was underwhelmed by my olfactory expectations.

This particular specimen was roughly the size of my head.

Also, elephants don’t seem to like being stared at and we were frequently the butt of their disdain.

Well, poo to you too, you pompus pachyderms!

I love being a stealthy native

I don’t look like the typical Sinhalese person in that I have more Indian features and a pretty strong American accent when I speak English. I used to view this as being mostly bad for the first week in Sri Lanka (especially since prices tend to rise by Rs. 100 to 200 when I’m around) until I discovered the perks of not being obviously identifiable.

Especially entertaining is when people talk about me… right in front of me.

I’m sure you can imagine the delicious scenarios that have come about as a result of this, but let me just say that one particularly obnoxious lady I came across just South of Colombo won’t be lifting her jaw off the floor any time soon. I just wish I had eyes on the back of my head for when I turned around to walk away.


One thought on “Things I learned Part II

  1. Pingback: Things I learned Episode III: Revenge of the ekSith « This page intentionally left ugly

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