National Dress has convenient pockets
It’s coming up Avurudu, so there won’t be much writing from anyone, including me. For starts, this is a list of things I love about Sri Lanka. There are a lot of unique objects and foods which are completely normal here and yet novel to me. National Dress and Arrack for example. They are both dirt cheap, functional, and awesome. Then there are certain foods which I think are simple and great – like Cheese Roti, Pol Sambol and Purippu. Of course, there are things I don’t like, but some little tidbits of culture are so awesome that it outweighs the others. That is, I can put up with the dirty and ugly bits of Colombo cause it has real character underneath.
Not the whole git, per se. I can’t really keep a sarong up with any confidence and I don’t like wearing sandals. I do, however, like the color and the shirt. White is the only color any human should wear in this heat, and the tunic style is much more comfortable than a tie. Plus, it has extra pockets in the side which makes a geek like me very happy. I carry an iPod/camera/phone which, having only two pants pockets, gets inconvenient. The national shirt sorts everything out cause I can keep my iPod in there, and the headphones in their own comfy pocket. I’ve tried keeping my hands in there like it was a hoodie, but that looks stupid. I especially love that I can wear what is essentially a pajama top to meetings and people have to be cool with it. When I get older I think I’d like to wear national all the time. I remember once I had to go to jail (just visiting) and Dr. Ari told me to look in his closet for a white shirt. It was like the Batcave, row upon row of the same thing. I would like a closet like that.
Linen is the pimpingest summer material ever and I can get a suit made for like $50. Odel has linen suits for like $1,000, but they can bite me. I love linen cause it’s cool (temperature wise), hangs well, and generally looks good in its natural color. You can get the material off the rack somewhere like Hercules Tailors in Thumulla and get measured for ludicrously inexpensive trousers. Linen is really hard to find in the West, and uber expensive, so I’m happy to find. I generally don’t recommend wearing it to matches as the ground is nasty and the material rips like nothing else in a fight.
I had one while sober yesterday and it is truly a wonder. I dunno what exactly is in it, but it’s this cheesy chicken concoction wrapped in a roti, like a Sri Lankan shawarma. I think the guy who invented it brought the idea back from the Middle East. It is my favorite thing at Pilawoos, as I don’t actually like Kottu that much. I get it without chilli so as not to weep uncontrollably.
Coconut is probably the greatest fruit ever. You can drink it, eat it, dry it, dessicate it, fry it, wear it, make tools out of it, etc. It is the veritable cow of the trees. My favorite coconut dish is Pol Sambol, which is basically coconut, red chilli, lime, salt, and red onion. It’s so simple that I used to make it in University. Achi gave me a big bag of dessicated Pol Sambol and I lived offa that, purippu, basmati and eggs for like a year. I can honestly eat Pol Sambol and rice every day and never get tired of it. The other stuff was just so I wouldn’t die.
Pang and Purripu
Purripu is a subcontinent thing, also great. I used to eat this in Uni cause the recipe is literally red lentils, salt and tumeric. Boil. And it’s good. Vegetarian girls with protein deficiencies love it. The Sri Lankan variation is a bit more complicated, with curry leaves for one (very hard to find abroad). I especially like it eat it with bread and butter (pang) as it is tastes really good.
Arrack is my favorite spirit now, and it costs like Rs 500 ($5) a bottle. And it’s 35 proof, Oi. It’s a dark spirit, which I like cause they have more character. The first alcohol I ever enjoyed was Scotch cause it was just so complicated. Tommy and Tanya had a large collection and I used to like just the smell, they were each different and interesting. Arrack is similar, except not as complex as Scotch I’d say. I like arrack and ice, and also arrack and coke, which tastes just like Vanilla Coke to me. It is distilled from coconut, God’s tit on earth.
This is quite possibly the greatest Sri Lankan film ever. One Shot is trancendentally bad, that is, so bad that is achieves greatness. Ranjan Ramanayake’s ego is stunning to watch, this movie being the second time I have seen him crucify himself. He also has a motley crew of ethnically correct friends and skewers the politicians mercilessly. Despite being the finest cheese, this film actually covers some of the most important tropes in Sri Lankan culture (corruption, powerlessness). But I digress. There are no less than five scenes of people peeing themselves and the ending is spectacular. Somehow, with no explanation, they leave Colombo and end up in the sand dunes of Arabia. Then One Shot throws Anarkali off his motorbike and she is never seen again. It is incredible.
And that is all I can think of right now. Happy Avurudu, I’ll be somewhere I don’t know where from Saturday to Wednesday.