Eating My Way Through Kandy Hills
…sometimes life seems a promenade from food to food.
Awesome Sinhala class today. Topics for discussion: Yoga Exercise and The Middle Path. Fascinatingly* philosophical! It was good, though, because I was picking up on the new stuff quickly and understanding what we were reading and having fairly fluid flow of thoughts-into-Sinhala. The best feeling is when my mind sort of checks in with itself—are we actually understanding this or just saying yes yes yes?—and realizes that it’s not been translating the Sinhala, just swalleying it down and understanding it whole. Of course sometimes after a long conversation (or day) with no English I feel the swalleying as if I were a boa eating a boar.
After that I did fun things like breakfast! laundry! attack fruit flies! and in short order I was out on my way to town. Ran into Yvonne enroute and so we trishaw’d together to Mina’s school and saw her and all the adorable tiny kids in their adorable tiny uniforms—they wear bow ties!—and then on with it by myself. I just love taking the bus sometimes; it plays well into the amuse-the-locals aspect of the Fulbright. Extra points for jumping on or off with the bus in motion.
I went to photograph some possible sapphires for a certain future relation of mine. (I am so dutiful.) It was great fun, as always, to chat with the jewelry-store couple, Dhammika and Manik. We gossiped and speculated and they gave me, as always, more contacts in the wedding biz. Tomorrow I am going to meet a gown designer. Manik and Dhammika think I should model for this guy. He’s ‘very exclusive,’ apparently, so I’m vaguely daunted.
I already had one conversation this morning, with Herath, about how I’m getting a little bit fat. For the record, he agreed. However it’s good to be a little rounded here. Hard to say, then, whether he was agreeing in order to be polite…regardless I am all kinds of fussed about my body right now, especially as it’s starting to get used to the yoga and I want to make it work harder. Plus I’m getting fat! No, really! That gym thing sounds like a good plan.
In terms of food, though—I had a lunch packet from the almighty Soya Centre today, which was delicious and composed of quite unusual curries. The parippu was made with urud-dhal, which is very uncommonly nutty-delicious**. Other curries included a face-burning fennel-y tofu and soya-meat curry, ‘del’ curry (breadfruit, like a cross between a banana and a potato), and gotu kola, a sambol made with scraped coconut, green chilies, lime, and intense parsleyish greens. Also, my eating a lunch packet where I bought it and with my fingers scored high on the amuse-the-locals scale.
Then of course I had soya ice cream. Which I ate sitting on a curb alongside some beggars (a little ways away) and a group of gossiping/sarong-and-junk-adjusting men. The ice-cream-eating was even better at ATL, as proper people Do Not Sit By the Road. A white girl doing so is positively bizarre. One guy even said, quite joyfully, to me, “this is Sri Lanka!” as he went by staring at me. I couldn’t tell whether he was scolding me or congratulating me on being there.
After which I bought some awesome pants at Fashion Bug (no relation to the tacky USA chain, though tacky junk abounds) as part of a futile attempt to outfit myself for Colombo. I always feel frumpy when I’m there. Then I bought train tickets and somehow ended up with second class, which is okay (cheap!) but not what I intended (a guaranteed seat!).
Then off (via bus, more excitement) to Peradeniya to make the most of my ridiculous costly week-pass, only to find that the bloody library was closing early for ‘vacation,’ i.e., three days between the end of exams and the start of the new term. Bugger! Instead I drank some tea with about a quarter of a cup of sugar in it and ran into Saashi, a friend of a friend who I want to be friends with. He is working on an undergraduate thesis in Sociology about estate Tamils, which is his background, and promises to take me to Hindu weddings in exchange for editing help on the thesis. Mais oui.
From the disappointment of the library I walked the lovely 40 minutes back through the day’s fading heat and gave away lots of school-pens to the many, many kids enroute. Didn’t get scared by any vehicles or pissed off at any boys, so it was a success. I stopped off to see my pal, the tailor, and was fed with ‘sau’ which I had entirely forgotten as a Lankan food I love. It’s a pudding made with tapioca or sago and coconut milk and sugar, and it’s mildly saltysweet and just a delight.
At last I came home and did more laundry, read more books, made fabulous veggies-with-peanut-ginger-yogurt-sauce, and packed intensively for this silly four-day Colombo trip. A lot of the packing time was taken up with figuring out what to wear to the several social engagements I have lined up. I am such a flake sometimes! It’s under control, and I’m listening to Blondie, and I’ve got to get to bed soon.
[Perhaps because yoga is a big emotional release] I spent a while last night with happysad tears streaming down my face while listening to bittersweet music. Being far away is one thing, and the realization that I want to work and live outside the US more/later is hard to swallow amidst emotions of loneliness. Still missing yall.
*There has to be a good pun on ‘fascina-TINGLY’ although it won’t work well because ‘tingly’ is a word that doesn’t look like how it’s pronounced. Maybe a radio pun.
**Urud-dhal = my child's nutty friend.
***Wow, I wrote narration.