As happens everywhere the bills are now starting to roll in. We received our electricity bill the other day, now everyone had warned us how expensive electricity was. The man comes and reads the meter, writes the bill and hands it over there and then. Coincidentally David had rung me from Australia only the day before to say our electricity bill had arrived back home...$1900... he almost cried, didn't help that our second daughter had had friends stay the week before in the spare room and left the air conditioner running non stop for 5 days before realizing it was still on, plus the fact our children were born with the inability to turn off light switches, so to receive a bill after one month in Sri Lanka for $100,I thought I had hit the jackpot. To be fair we don't have air conditioning here ,the house we live in is quite open and designed to allow airflow, so it's just ceiling fans, which have the added bonus of blowing the mosquitoes away.
|The morning commute
It's the same with the mobile, after years with an old Nokia, David finally upgraded me to an iPhone, I was completely against it, didn't want anything to do with it...too complicated I said, now I cant live without it, Google maps alone has been my savior. It's my phone, my music, my bank, my GPS, needless to say the Internet is running as much as the air conditioner that my daughter left on, so with that, and calling Australia every day the bill came in at 90 bucks for the month...David pack your bags and get over here, half our fights have just been eliminated.
The thing with Sri Lanka is the divide, while I'm enjoying the break from having more money going out than coming in, I'm still living on Australian dollars so that makes life good here. There is definitely a higher proportion of middle income earners than when I first came in 1986, but the thing that stands out is the wealthy are now ridiculously wealthy and the poor are ridiculously poor.
|The Have Nots
In a span of ten minutes, you can then see shanty's built beside rail tracks, they are so close the occupants only have to lean out the window to shake hands with the commuters on the passing train. The roads here are so narrow you literally have to breathe in to pass a car coming in the other direction, the two drivers have barely a millimetre to spare before their side mirrors touch, but each time they manoeuvre past without a scratch...and then I exhale.
|Lunch in comfort
|Selling Lunch by the Roadside
|Grocery shopping ..This Way or
The supermarkets are just as good as we get in Australia, there are the small local ones such as Keels or Food City or you can go to the newest player on the block Arpico Super centre, they are more like a Cosco. Here I picked up my weekly groceries plus a queen size mattress, little tricky putting that in the shopping trolley, so I took home the food and for $3 they delivered the mattress. The kids love Arpico, they are more likely to get all the familiar brands from home here, but I prefer to get the fruit and vegetables from the side of the road. You know when you buy fruit in Australia it has been sitting in a cool room for weeks but here it's been picked that morning and it tastes like fruit did when I was a kid.
|Shopping for pleasure
|Shopping for necessity
You wouldn't come to Sri Lanka for the shopping, like you would in Singapore or Malaysia. You come here for the Beaches, the Hill Country, or just the Culture. However every now and then you can hit the jackpot and find a batch of clothing that was made for export, but some how found it's way into a small local store. I picked up some nice skirts the other day that were bound for Marks and Spencer but ended up in down town Battaramulla instead.