So, whoops, I’ve been completely remiss in this whole listing-blogging-letter-writing business since before departing for Sri Lanka on April 12 (or 11th? I’m not so sure of dates anymore). Basically, Leah (my roommate) and I had the grand plan to take Sri Lanka by storm with two nights in Hikkaduwa (the beach-y, young people area), two nights in Galle (Dutch colonial fort area) and two nights in Kandy (the cool highlands area). But, due to the Tamil New Year, meeting some neat travelers in the Chennai airport, loving the beach, meeting some cool Sri Lankans on holiday from Colombo, and enjoying the hospitality of said Sri Lankans, we changed our plan around a little bit.
We stayed an extra night in Hikkaduwa, sunning ourselves, then went further south to Mirisa, to see some whales and dolphins. (Turns out that you have to get up at 5am to take a boat to see these whales, but we swam with them the night before, so we decided to skip the whole early-morning business.) Then, we spent a day and a half in Colombo, seeing the country’s capital city.
We thought the neighboring countries would be quite similar. Turns out they’re not. Here’s the Cliff Notes version of how India and Sri Lanka are different:
1. Sri Lanka = cleaner. Cleaner roads, cleaner people, cleaner bathrooms, cleaner trains.
2. Better roads in Sri Lanka, too. Fewer potholes, paved lanes, lane markings.
3. Much more of an island culture in SL—more laid-back people, less hassle.
4. A bit less chaos in SL, although that may or may not be a good thing.
5. Way fewer street vendors/food sellers in SL, and especially in Colombo. India is bursting with people selling cell phones/cigarettes/juice/anything on the street.
One thing they both have in common though—an obsession with cricket. I don’t think a day went by when cricket didn’t come up in conversation.