There's a saying that goes "a picture is worth a thousand words"... A good friend of mine sent me this picture (to the left) about a month ago. He was walking around his local neighborhood and this unusual scene caught his eye. When I rang to ask about it, I was fascinated with the differences between my perception of the scene, his initial perception of it and the reality of the situation. It'll be interesting to see what you think about the scene with the old man and the five cats when you look at the picture... By the way, I think it's a really phenomenal picture.
Initially, I thought I was looking at a poor blind man who was being scavenged by local stray cats as he was taking his meal by the road. This was not the case at all. In fact, he wasn't blind. He wasn't poor. And, he was deliberately and generously feeding the stray cats. All-in-all, it kind of blew my mind...
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Last month, I was able to see how herbs are gathered for making different ayurvedic preparations. It was another one of those tagging along with a friend who was seeking treatment for a family member scenarios (yes, it would seem I've got the art of tagging along down pat). I've come to befriend this ayurvedic family who treat patients to the north of Kurunegala. They are quite unique and clearly operate on a different level when it comes to helping the sick.
Our expedition took us to a few nearby fields. At the time I didn't fully comprehend why they kept asking me if I was scared. I kind of missed parts of the earlier discussion (before we left on our little expedition) that warned we were going to an area frequented by wild elephants. Therefore I was pretty happy-go-lucky wandering around with my eyes peeled to the ground looking for plants. As they say, ignorance is bliss
One of the plants we went to gather was called Vishnukranthi (or as I later found out aka Dwarf Morning Glory). In ayurveda its uses include, but aren't limited to, purifying blood and improving memory power.
What I found most fascinating about the expedition was the fact most of the common herbs and plants used in ayurveda grow naturally in the wild and can be easily gathered if you know what you're looking for. If you don't have a background in ayurveda or homeopathy then you'll find yourself thinking that most plants look the same, or that the plant life below your feet is just grass. But this is definitely not the case!
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It's nice to have the luxury of traveling by car and being able to stop whenever and wherever, but the downside is definitely all the traffic headaches on either side of the commute and sometimes in-between. I'm really looking forward to the construction of Northern Expressway, which will see a reduction in commute times and more efficient travel. See Article: Work on Northern expressway to start next month
If you take the bus there are air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned options. I find the air-conditioned option preferable if you want to feel more refreshed upon arrival.
As for the train commute, it really depends on the day and time of travel and class of ticket, as this is a very popular travel route. There have been times where I've booked in advance, which is handy. And then there are other times, I've had to wing it. The worst of winging it has been to stand for most of the journey in third class on one of the busier train times! I've got no issue with traveling in third class on the train in Sri Lanka (it's actually quite friendly and fun), but it's the standing part that is painful when you're shoved in like sardines in the heat and humidity. Not fun!
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An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 1 on what it's like living as an expat in SL
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 2 on local attitudes, dual pricing, behaviors
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 3 on police force, corruption and stories
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 4 on garbage collection, waste and recycling
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 5 on the case for expat fatigue
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 6 on miscellaneous encounters at the post office, around the neighborhood, Mt Lavinia Beach and more
An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 7 on New Year celebrations, firecrackers and dodgy doctors
An expat in Sri Lanka - the Good, Bad and the Ugly - Part 8 on Avurudu, Sri Lanka T20 World Cup win and cooling fruits
An expat in Sri Lanka - the Good, Bad and the Ugly - Part 9 on living as an foreign expat woman in Sri Lanka
An expat in Sri Lanka - the Good, Bad and the Ugly - Part 10 on visa renewal process, helping Chinese tourists and enjoying roadside corn-on-the-cob
An expat in Sri Lanka - the Good, Bad and the Ugly - Part 11 on things they don't tell you about living in Sri Lanka, Peenas oil, Colombo apartments and taxes on imported food items