Sunday, May 1, 2011

I also collect ironies

In my travels, (figurative and literal), I have enjoyed the hobby of collecting little ironies.  One finds them all the time if one is looking…

A few years ago I revisited a country where I had lived with my family for five years—Sri Lanka.  As I say many times, Sri Lanka is a cross between Hawaii and India.  It’s a marvelous place, full of history, culture, colors, and beautiful tropical beaches.  Its tourism industry though, has been badly affected by the bloody and violent Civil War that finally recently ended after twenty-five years.  

While we lived there, from 1989-1994, the prime Minister was blown up and there were bomb attacks in the capital of Colombo.  People’s ruthless and violent treatment of each other was  unfathomable.  We look back at our own Civil War in horror.  One wonders why Civil war-- war with oneself--is so very horrific.

These are all Sri lankan silver beads
On this trip, this “recherche” as Proust would say, the war was at a climatic pitch, as both sides were ramping up for an end.   My husband and I had driven south from Colombo for a beach weekend near Galle in the south.  We ventured out for a walk and witnessed something remarkable.  A bus, which had been barreling down the road at breakneck speed, leaning due to its overcrowding, suddenly stopped.  As we edged closer to get a look we saw the reason.  The bus had stopped because a small snake was crossing the road.  This is after all, a Buddhist country; and all life is sacred.

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