Let me start with a story…
One day a woman was sitting on a beautiful palm beach. Relaxing and reading a book. A man came up and started a chat with the usual, where are you from, first time Sri Lanka, how many days questions. But then he offered her a coconut, which she took and enjoyed…. She heard a little voice in her head, hey psst be careful, he is after your money!!!!
As if he was able to read her mind, he said ‘Don’t worry, your my friend now, I like to chat….’. The lady somehow believed him, but the voice disagreed and said ‘you will see, somewhere in the next few days he will start to talk money’
The lady and her husband met him several times over the 3 days they were at that beach. He came along to show his fish, to just sit and chat, or to tell stories about his life, but never money.
Is this a true story or a make-believe…..
Luckily this is true and it was me and Markus on that beach. It is one of the many examples that showed us how open and honest many people in Sri Lanka are. It made our holiday so much more relaxing, pleasant and also knowledgeable.
We met so many people that were helpful, willing to share, wanting to learn and moreover were happy for us and themselves to be there.
Whenever we had a question, there was always someone around to answer it and the answer always proofed to be the right one. As a backpacker you can have loads of questions, where is… how to….. You always have the risk that people will send you in the wrong direction, rip you off etc. Obviously in the tourist places, it did happen or people did try. But outside of that, not even close.
And even in a touristy area there were pleasant surprises. Like in Ella, when the Tuk Tuk driver misunderstood the name of our Guesthouse. He brought us to Highest View. When we arrived, we said…. Sorry, we don’t think this is the right place, it should be called Highest Inn. The price we agreed upfront was 300 rupees. When we arrived at Highest Inn, he was clearly struggling and said this is actually only 120 rupees. He didn’t even want the 300, although he drove all the way up the hill and back. Which by the way was a very scenic route for which we would have been happy to pay.
I can only hope that the increasing number of tourists combined with the rapid changes the country is going through will not cause the people of Sri Lanka to change.
Sri Lanka was the 53rd country I visited and I have met so many nice people all over the world, of which some became dear friends…. But never before I met so many warm and friendly people in one country! A huge thank you to all of them, for making us feel at home!