Driver’s License and Market Day

January 17, 2008

Tom – I arranged for a car rental firm to pick me up to go look at some of their cars.  Got the specifics and then talked them into giving me a car and driver to go to AAA to get a Sri Lankan license.  I was able to do this because I had already gotten an international driver’s license in Springfield.  The driver walked with me through the process and then dropped me off at the Fulbright office.


A couple of hours later I went to an ATM, the embassy, internet café (search for rental cars), bookstore (bought a Sinhalla Phrasebook) and then headed back home very tired.


Market Day  Helen – I went to the local market with Ruki and the chauffeur (I really didn’t think he drove anymore!!).  She said she only uses him for close errands.  This was a real experience.  The stalls were all open with venders selling fresh green vegetables, fruits, rice, beans, lentils, dried fish and spices.  I couldn’t recognize half the things.  Flies were everywhere and on everything.  There was also a small super market and a fish store.  I watched as they cleaned fish, squid, and other delicacies.  The next time I went I even had them open up a king coconut for me…you drink the liquid inside with a straw and then he cuts it open for you, cutting a chip from the side which you use as a spoon, you scrap the soft creamy coconut meat inside and eat it.  Don’t think it will be one of my favorites but it was fun to experience.  Ruki kept saying “don’t let the scoopy touch your mouth!!”  Everyone looks at me because I am the only foreigner there…they smile, I smile.  I really like to go.  There is also a very nice temple across the street with a big Buddha inside and lions guarding the gate.


Thursday I stayed home after the market, had lunch with Ruki, did some laundry and then relaxed until Tom returned from the Embassy, Fulbright, and errands.  He had a very busy day and was glad not to have me with him.  We finally received confirmation that we will be going to Matara on this coming Wednesday; and then life as normal will begin.


 At 6:30 we had a taxi pick us up to have dinner with Traci (Fulbrighter in Management Information Systems from U of Oklahoma), husband Mano and daughter Charia (10).  The taxi arrived on time but he didn’t have working headlights…duh!!!  So, we sent him back to get another taxi and ended up being a little late.  One reason for going to their apartment was to use their cable internet connection, something we have not had access to since our room in Cairo.   Nothing is easy and while Tom was working to set up the diary list I played cards with Charia.


We walked to a Chinese restaurant about 4 blocks from their house.  We began with a delicious soup and then shared five different entrees.  After returning to the house, Tom was ready to send the first section of the Sri Lankan diary…opps!  He lost it!!  I didn’t say anything but thought I am not going to rewrite that again!!  Lucky for us Tracy helped him retrieve it after about 15 minutes and then he had to send it in three installments because it would only recognize one page of names at a time. 


By now it was pretty late and we needed to get home…they called a taxi for us but it took more than ½ hr to come.  The ride there only took about 10 minutes but home was almost an hour because he didn’t know where he was going and he kept saying this road is closed (there are a lot of roads closed for security) or this is a one way street…we must have gone around the same circle three times.  Tom even showed him the map but he kept driving in circles.  Finally we got home after 11 and woke up Ruki (the maid didn’t get up) to let us in.  We were only able to send the diary – no personal communications.  Don’t know if we will ever be able to upload pictures because the connections are so slow.

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