So I’m jumping on the blog-bandwagon. I figured that for the next year while I’m out of the country in Bangladesh, instead of bothering people with a flood of impersonal mass emails, I would post it all in a one of these hip and trendy blog thingies, so that those interested could read about my life as they pleased. I have an affinity towards digression and half of what I write will probably be more like journal entries for myself to reread one day than anything else... but enjoy...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sri Lanka

The whole Sri Lanka experience is wonderful. There is something a bit surreal about the whole experience because I have not been back since 1994, and my memory is filled with all these bits and bits of images of what things looked like... I turn a corner and some little gap in time is filled in, coloring in black and white photos in my head, altering my previous memory... it's surreal because it's a bit like living in the memory and creating the memory...

Stayed at Ry Maami’s flat. Cute place right down the road from where the whole Raheem gang grew up on Clifford Road. She has an attached apartment with good ol’ Yas Maami. The house that all the Raheems (all nine kids, ie my dad, uncles, and aunts) was sold a few years ago and now apartments are being built there, that many Raheems are planning on moving into. It was kind of sad to not get to see the old house…

Going from Denmark to Sri Lanka is quite a transition. Call me shallow and hypocritical but one of the first things that stand out is the skin color. Denmark is very white, Sri Lanka is very brown. Hmmm, right… anyway… that reminds me of the famous quote from my nine-year old cousin, Emily. She was pondering skin color and happiness… she said: "All white people want darker skin… they want to be brown. All black people want light skin… they want to be brown… Brown is the center of all happiness!"

Last time I was in Sri Lanka was 1994. Colombo seems to have less poverty. Less apparent beggars, at least. Of course it could just mean that they were all booted somewhere else.

Mirak gave me a good book to read during my stay in Sri Lanka, Anita Pratap’s book, "Island of Blood." I really just never read a lot about all the ethnic struggles in Sri Lanka. Eye-opening and gut-wrenching… crazy to think this is not history stuff at all from text books… things got ugly in the 1980s and has been on and off ugly since then… I mean the foreign minister was just bumped off… crazy… I was in a tuk-tuk (sometimes known as put-put), one of those three-wheeled taxi guys, and the driver was asking me where I was from. I told him New York. He said something like: "ohh… George Bush… good man. George Bush gets rid of terrorists… we need a man like George Bush in Sri Lanka to stop the LTTE problem…" An interesting philosophy…

It’s crazy how small the country is… everyone my father talked about in politics, sports, art, you name it was somehow connected to someone we knew. Also difficult to come to terms with was some of the preteniousness and snobbiness related to this upper echelon that Raheems obviously hold… maybe it’s just the whole, Royal College is the best school in the country type snobbiness. I don’t know…

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