Posted By craig on May 19, 2010
We got going early and got lost often on this shortened day. A lot of the streets/roads around Jaffna are not tagged. The interesting way I found that a lot of people in Sri Lanka ask for directions is not to ask about how to get to where you are going, but to ask how to get to somewhere you think might be near where you are going. This makes some sense, but is frustrating. Maybe the person you are asking actually knows how to get where you want to go and the place you think is near where you want to go is nowhere close… just sayin. Anyway….
We made our way to Point Pedro, the most northern Town in Sri Lanka. There is a fair bit of agriculture around Point Pedro, but we were in search of fishermen and the beach culture, since it not only a coastal town, but one that hasn’t seen much in the way of tourists in the past few decades. I was hoping to get an opportunity to shoot some interesting people.
It was only a short drive down the road from there to Valvettithurai, the boyhood home town of the late leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Just as we pulled into town a Hindu ceremony was getting under way. As far as I understood, it had to do with the Sinha/Tamil new year, which was being celebrated while we were on the island. They were just starting a parade of sorts which involved about 30 men rolling in the hot sand of the main street. I don’t know much about Hinduism, so I don’t want to try to explain what it was they were doing, because I don’t know the significance. The people were very open to us observing. They just seemed happy. It was beautiful. I would have loved to stay longer, but…
I had, unknowingly, broken one of the cardinal rules of travelers: don’t drink the water. We had started this trip in Ja-Ela with several big bottles of well water that was boiled. It’s water that I had no problems with in any of my visits before. Along the way, our van driver had started refilling our bottles with tap water wherever we were. Shami and I both thought it was still water from Ja-Ela. It wasn’t, I got sick, it wasn’t fun, use your imagination, or better yet don’t. When it first hit I thought I was having an appendix attack. I was more than a little worried. Luckily, the driver put two and two together and got some medication from the pharmacy. I spent the rest of the day in our guest house so I didn’t get to do half of the exploring I had hoped to do. Lesson learned.