Vesak display in Jaffna, by the Army
I’m wading up to my neck off Casuarina beach. Mainly trying to get away. Indirectly from Colombo, but directly from the 700 Sinhalums on this here beach. Last time I was the only one here. Now there are so many people that they emit a loud murmur, punctuated by hoots and screams. In the evening this Jaffna beach actually kinda sucks, the water is grey and we hobble in and out, stabbing our feet on rocks on coral. The driver is laughing at us, I think. We’re laughing at ourselves. How silly to be invaded by the Sinhalese.
That’s a joke. We laughed because it’s a joke. It’s no invasion of course, but Jaffna is still occupied by hordes of Sinhalums mobbing the beaches and doing their strange light displays around town. Like Mahinda says, it’s good for people to go up and down, but in all fairness, we are hilarious.
Despite being island people, I know a lot of Sinhalese who can’t swim. Or don’t swim. Hence they go to Casuarina, which has no rips at all, basically wind waves. There’s a family wearing life jackets in 12 inches of water. We can’t even swim.
The people, especially during Vesak, are ruining Jaffna a little bit. There’s traffic in certain places, which is baffling. The beach was full and noisy. The night buses are full, you can’t stretch out and I didn’t sleep at all. All the cafes and stuff seem full of Sinhalese families and chatter.
The locals, however, are cool as ever. No one has so far asked us for any money or even tried to negotiate. The trishaw drivers say ‘give what you will’, as did the guesthouse guy.
We got lost wandering around Nallur till someone finally picked us up and took us to a kottu kade. I’ve never been so happy to see a Muslim in my life. Our driver was studying for his M.A. at Jaffna University. More qualified than us actually. I asked him how much and he just said welcome to the Jaffna Penninsula and grinned. I slipped him a Mahinda and he gave me change. Maybe that’s a metaphor.