“Being happy does not mean that everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
I'm often mistaken for a tourist or traveler. To a local this pretty foreign face equals unlikely or not expected to actually live in Sri Lanka. This can be both a positive or negative thing.
On the positive, it's fairly good because of the warm and welcoming local attitude towards tourists and travelers. And, by nature, most locals are genuinely helpful and hospitable. I've visited remote villages and towns where they probably haven't seen many foreigners, yet they're never paranoid nor unwelcoming. It's the complete opposite and so refreshing. Most visitors are often struck by the generous smiles and open faces around the island. I know for a fact this is not often the case outside of Sri Lanka. And I also know some of my Sri Lankan friends haven't necessarily been treated that well whilst traveling abroad, especially with increased attacks around the globe and paranoia on the rise. It's embarrassing and troubling the number of times I've stood at one of the counters at immigration or border control in UK/Europe and the US/Canada and listened to my brown-skinned friends being questioned with a not-so-subtle hint of in-hospitality and sometimes fear. So, to be warmly welcomed as a foreigner in Sri Lanka is truly a positive.
However, there are downsides to being a foreigner living in Sri Lanka (and mistaken for a tourist). One of these is what I term the "kerching" experience. So, what is that you ask? Well, it's my label (and sound) for what happens when some locals, businesses or government agencies see a tourist and their face lights up because they think they can make some extra cash or charge a little more. Yes, it's also the sound you hear when you open a cash register...kerching!
An example of this relates to the problematic dual pricing system that exists, primarily for ticketing or services offered within the tourism industry. Dual pricing exists in countries outside of Sri Lanka too, so it's not unique to the island...
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