This was shot in complete darkness, with the shutter open. The lights are people walking by. Harvest of light.
For Sri Lankan Independence Day we travelled in the armpits and elbows of our countrymen to the rural south, where we slept in the fields. I wouldn’t call it a vacation, but it was definitely an experience.
The Hellacious Ride
There is a window between 4-5 am within which one can catch a decent bus. Outside of that window it’s carnage. We missed that window. Mainly because one of our party decided to trust his wake-up call to a crackhead, so let that be a lesson to all. Once you miss that window the buses are slow and overcrowded to the point of suffocation.
You wouldn’t think that it’s possible to fit so many people in a bus, but they keep putting one more, and one more. It’s like they’ mathematical impossibility of reaching infinity, there always being infinity plus one. My friend Boycy was standing, until at one point he was levitating, his somewhat prodigious weight supported by the frail and fatigued juki girls around him. Around that point he had enough and got off, to find an alternate route.
I was sitting, but some guy was putting all of his weight on me. Then he got shoved aside in some shuffle and then these poor girls were practically fainting on top of me. It is really like being in a mosh pit, except with women and children and babies. I felt bad and got up with about an hour to go to let someone else sit. I almost immediately regretted this.
Anyways, we got there, had some absurd meal at a buffet in Embilipitiya (don’t eat at Saman’s, actually don’t stop in Embilipitiya) and finally got to the village where we were supposed to go. The lesson here is to catch the bus at the right time. Half an hour late is like three hours late in the end.
Chaminda in his family’s kurukkan fields
Ah, Thanamalwila. The place was near Thanamalwila, but not in the city itself. We stayed with a family that lived there, running a small rock crushing mine, for to make cement blocks and things. The region is known for growing marijuana more than anything, but lots of stuff grows there. We saw corn, peanuts, kurukkan, etc. The town was also in good supply of game (deer and boar, illegally hunted) and fish. People seem to quite directly live off the land, and the living’s not bad.
Sarath, the local barber and raconteur. A 30 second shot. Light is a passing trishaw.
The wadiya, 30 second exposure. It was actually dark.
My friends have been coming to this small town for ages, so we travelled as friends. We traveled out to a wadiya (essentially hut in the fields) for the night. Lit a fire, cooked some rice, pol sambol and meat and just hung out passing one cup around and refilling it with arrack.
You could hear what sounded like dozens of peacocks around. They sound like cats, or even people sometimes. There was a big brown cow, belling sometimes in the field. It was quite chill. After a delicious meal and a few shots we all fell asleep. My friends claimed the buru andas so I stretched out on top of a table near the fire.
This was the scene in the morning. It’s a panorama, so Boycy was able to run across the field and appear twice. If you look closely you can see an extra foot, in transit.
As we left town we saw this guy on a nice motorbike, having just bought a big fish. That’s Thanamalwila for you. Deep south, and quite fertile. Now you can see the Mahinda Rajapaksa Cricket Stadium in the distance and the Mattala International Airport will soon be about 30 minutes away.
There are more photos on Flickr.