Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Musings in Sri Lanka

Naturally, I am not the type who likes travelling alone, but I also love doing my own thing.  So I suppose the only solutions is to have companions and be perpetually annoyed with them.

I woke up today at 4:45AM, which is fairly good for falling asleep at 6:15Pm.  I had spent the day buying toilet paper, exchanging money, etc.  I got to walk down to the beach, which is a block away.  I ate a lunch packet, which consisted of a bag of lightly seasoned rice and a bag of curry.  It was quite tasty.

I’ve been taking some pictures, but alas, Alicia has the camera cord with her.  So I have nothing to post.  Maybe I’ll take some with my ipod : (

I came across these two quotes right before I left, and they have been welcome companions on the journey so far.

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste, that they hurry past it. –Kierkegaard

If we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time. —Edith Wharton


50% of Cliftons Head to Sri Lanka

…the other 50% head to Texas.

Yesterday was my last day at Habitat for Humanity International HQ in Atlanta, GA.  Last night Alicia and I packed for Sri Lanka.  We’ve been camping out in our apartment for about 2 weeks on an inflatable bed, eating on folding porch chairs, washing the same dishes over and over, and making meals out of frozen edamamme we’ve had in the back of the freezer for possibly 2 years (Alicia is a genius with random foods). We went to the airport together, and now I am sitting here waiting to board for Chicago, Abu Dahbi, then Colombo, Sri Lanka while Alicia is somewhere else in the airport getting on a plane to Texas.

Alicia still does not have her VISA, but we expect it to likely get to DC at the end of next week.  She will then fly to DC, get her visa at the Sri Lankan embassy, and then fly to straight to Sri Lanka, with us only being apart for a 10 days.  Worst case scenario: Alicia’s visa never comes, I live in Sri Lanka for the summer, and she fullfills her internship requirement in Bolivia or somewhere…hmmm.  Please pray that Alicia gets her VISA soon.  We just had a very sad goodbye.  The emotion kinda surprised us both.

Otherwise, we are very excited.  We will be staying with a young lady named “Ha” in an apartment 2 minutes from the beach.  I will be chillin at the beach and exploring Colombo, Sri Lanka’s major city.  I’ll try to post some pics when I get there.

Cliftons Head to Sri Lanka!

My job with Habitat for Humanity International ends late May and at nearly the same time Alicia will be starting an internship with Oxfam in Sri Lanka.  Last summer she went to Rwanda without me, which was horrible, and stupid, and 10 weeks long.  So Alicia and I decided, “What the heck!  Let’s pack up our apartment, put it in storage, and both go!”  Afterwards, maybe we can get to Hong Kong and see my Dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephews, maybe I will get a Masters in Positive Psych at Penn, maybe we can get jobs in Sri Lanka, maybe my book will get published, maybe we will sail…who knows.

So, for the past couple of weeks while this decision process has been more realized, I have been learning about Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is personally interesting to me because of three very strong similarities with Taiwan: they are both substantial islands off the coast of emerging superpowers, they both have booming economies (Sri Lanka had Asia’s fastest growing stock exchange in 2009 and 2010), and they both have a bit over 20 million people (Sri Lanka has 21, Taiwan 23).

They have plenty of differences.  Taiwan’s mountains are about 50% taller than Sri Lanka’s though Sri Lanka’s landmass is twice as large (12,966ft to 8,200ft and 36,000 to 66,000 square kilometers).

One of the big differences is that instead of tensions with its emerging super-power neighbor, Sri Lanka has struggled with ethnic strife internally for the past 30 years in a conflict which has killed about 90,000 people.   The conflict has been between the Tamils in the North and East concentrated around Jaffna and the Singhalese that cover the rest of the island.  The tactics which the Tamil Tigers or LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil-Eelam), a political party, has used has led to them becoming officially recognized as a terrorist organization by 32 countries, including the United States, India, Canada, Australia, and the EU nations.

After numerous ceasefires and resuming of the conflict, the war seems to have ended in 2009 when the LTTE admitted defeat after a coordinated strong offensive by the Sri Lankan government.  Today, a separate state for the Tamils on Sri Lanka looks unlikely.

I’m so excited to learn more about the conflict and the country!  We will be staying in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s biggest city.  Alicia will work during the week while I write and plan weekend trips. : )  I will probably spend some time with Habitat Sri Lanka too.  

In other news, I have been devouring more lecture series lately:

  • “Naval Battles that Changed History,” –There have been surprisingly few very important naval battles but they were nevertheless very very important.
  • “Fueling the Planet, the past, present, and future of energy “– Where I was told that carbon emissions are a big problem.  He seemed to think that wind power was especially promising.
  • “Wars that Made the Western World” — Professor Shutt is always solid.  He discussed the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian Wars and the Punic wars, and I learned even more about Alcibiades, likely the best-looking, most conniving, most brilliant man ever.
  • And now I’m working through a history of the Papacy and another one on the Crusades.

I’m looking forward to sharing with my readers all this cool stuff I’m learning about and keeping you updated on our trip to Sri Lanka.   My posts will likely become more frequent now (1-2 times a week).  Thanks for reading!