Monday, August 7, 2017

Travel Monday: Day tripping to Budugala and Kurugala

Who doesn't love a little road trip? Well I certainly do. You'd think I'd have run out of places to visit after a decade of tripping across this island. But, this just isn't the case. I still have a TBR list, which funnily enough stands for "To Be Roadtripped" . Budugala has been on my TBR list for something like three to four years.A friend had mentioned visiting the place and I'd also seen a description of the area in an obscure local publication.

A couple of months ago I got together a group of friends to take a day trip out to visit the archaelogical site of the ancient monastery ruins of Budugala and Kuragala. We set off very early from Colombo and took our time road tripping towards Budugala and passing through Ratnapura then to Balangoda and Kalthota. It's a scenic drive going inland in a southern direction with plenty of winding roads and glimpses of mountains and plains.

It had been very hot and humid during this time and the southern monsoon was still a little late in arriving, so conditions were still dry. I was a little thankful because in all honesty I wouldn't have been looking forward to hiking through areas that had a lot of leeches. Though having said that, I've trekked and trailed through many places in Sri Lanka when there have been leeches, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. Even when the weather is fine, I still carry citronella oil and dettol when I go on my adventures. It just pays to be prepared.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #12

It's been another crazy month in Sri Lanka. I've been fielding questions left-right-and-center (here and from abroad) about what is going on in Sri Lanka and, whether I think the country is going to implode under all the political, economic and environmental pressures and the general unrest across the population. I have plenty of personal opinions, which I won't share publicly, but what I will say is that Sri Lanka is facing a crucial historical juncture while experiencing a tremendous amount of pressure to bend and bow to external pressures. Truth be told, nothing is ever what it seems.

It makes for difficult, but interesting times to be living on the island. Difficult in the sense that, if you have your finger on the pulse of the nation, it's not a prosperous time for the population at large and many are facing hardship. The endless number of strikes across the different sectors gives testimony to this. People are unhappy about so many things that it's probably easier to list the things they are happy about than what they're unhappy about.

As an expat one of the main concerns is always the value of the Sri Lankan rupee and the ongoing saga of monetary policy. It doesn't matter as much while you're living and working in the country, but it's a different story when you're traveling, investing or planning to repatriate. The other things on the radar relate to changes to taxation, dengue epidemic, power cuts, fuel distribution challenges, water cuts, ongoing garbage debacle, proposals regarding residence visas and so on.

In the meantime, check out the month that was and some of the upcoming events for your diary... All the best for August!