Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sri Lanka, Colombo - The Tea Country.....

My trip to Sri Lanka was very diverse to say the least and reminded me very much of Mauritius, Sychelles, Bali and most islands in the Indian Ocean.

Some facts:

Sri Lanka is in Southern Asia, it is an island in the Indian Ocean, south of India.

Sri Lanka has a low-income developing economy. Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. While the production and export of tea, rubber, coffee, sugar and other agricultural commodities remains important, the nation has moved steadily towards an industrialized economy with the development of food processing, textiles, telecommunications and finance.

Colombo has an overall cost of living index which equates it with low cost of living locations. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Colombo is currently ranked 265 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international locations.

Personal experience:

People, animals and transport seem to co-exist side by side with no animosity or restraint. Dogs wonder aimlessly across roads or bask in the sun on the side walks, cows and goats roam around everywhere, even on the beaches (which I found rather amusing) and people are everywhere, whether walking, cycling, using a tuc-tuc, motorbike with 5 astride, in a taxi, bus, car or truck, each takes up a space of the not too wide road.
Co-exist they do, there is no anger at being stuck behind a truck, merely a short tooting of the horn to say I am here and would like to overtake you, politeness abounds and the expression and sounds are all of friendliness, within a country that sorely needs help at redeveloping itself since the tsunami and Tamil Tiger war. People are poor and yet happy and friendly. Not just for the child on the hip or the person at their side, but for everyone.

Tourists flock towards the resorts and some chance the areas slightly outside of these areas, to experience a quieter less harassed holiday. Small pockets of expats can be found, dotted all over the country. When you bump into these people and chat about life on the island, there is not much to complain about. Yes, sometimes the water or electricity gets turned off, yes the internet is not as fast as they would like it to be. In this little piece of paradise, expats are not too concerned that it takes a little longer to do things here, the people are prepared to wait, not too hasty to move forward too quickly. Really all they want is a comfortable existence, one that provides for a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs and a safe nights sleep. 70% of the population are Budhasts, which explains the simplicity of life. The better you are in this life the sooner you will reach the divine being.

Tomorrow I will write a bit more about Expat life on the island .....

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