Rediscover My Own Home From Childhood
Hashanthi just returned to Colombo after spending some time in the central highlands of the island.
“My family comes from Kandy where I call home and which is also the main city of central Sri Lanka. My dad and my elder brother are planters, I think it’s safe to say that the tea country is my second home as we used to spend a lot of our holidays in the tea estates.
So as soon as the curfew was lifted here in Sri Lanka, our family decided that it was high time to escape Colombo city life and take a trip travelling back in time to the dear places that we used to call home.
Our first stop was in Bandarawela, a town famous for its pleasant climate which is not too cold nor too warm and of course for the tea plantations. My elder brother is the superintendent of a tea estate over there so we had the privilege of spending a few days in a planter’s bungalow. We set out on a lot of drives through estate roads around Bandarawela and Haputale and hardly came across any vehicles or tourists. Usually these roads are busy with tourist vehicles but this time we had the road to ourselves and could stop in the middle of the road and take hundreds of pictures at our own pace. Yes, it is a bit sad to see the Tea Factories without any tourists but one could hardly complain when you have the roads to yourselves.
Next we headed off to Kandy, our hometown. We drove through the Nuwara Eliya town which is usually a tourist highlight also dubbed as “Little England” with the colonial style architecture still there to be seen. I think this was the first time ever that I saw this town without any tourists. Once again, I wouldn’t complain about not having to go through the usual traffic but something that really struck our hearts was to see the local vendors not having any business that they used to get from tourists. So although we had plenty of soft drinks with us, we still decided to make a stop for a Thambili (a.k.a. King Coconut) to support the roadside vendors.
We finally arrived in Kandy and it felt like we had travelled back in time to our childhood in the 1990s. No tourist to be seen around the town and the famous Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic, which is one of the most visited tourist highlights had only a handful of local worshippers who still had to maintain social distancing. Back when we were kids, there was a civil war going on in the island tourism was not really thriving, it felt exactly like those days.
I am now here back in Colombo and when I look back at this trip, it was kind of a bittersweet experience which I find hard to put exactly into words. It definitely felt like I was re-discovering my hometown from Childhood.”
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