What I love about Jaffna…
Around the Fort, the main sightseeing spot of Jaffna, on a cute seaview road, part of the reconstruction program, with some luscious green shreds for the cows and goats and stony benches for couples to enjoy sunset, sunrise, their amorousness, or for some wild dogs having a lunchbreak nap. From the top of the Fort´s wall it looks like a sort of these road carpets for kids to play traffic, jamming or road kills. Maybe because it doesn´t match with the surrounding, too recently constructed, to clean, in comparison to the wasted area of the fishing harbour or the sewage-soaked coastline 100 meter up north. And what kind of business could be more adaquate than… instead of a Seaview Inn Restaurant, which doesn´t exist at all, unfortunately I have to concede, even if it would be mostly for tourists, but also highly enjoyable. Straight behind the Fort, on the other side of the cute seaview road, on spacious green and dusty paths, almost two driving schools set their practice area. In a queue locals, women and men, wait for their turn, to slalom on a motorbike, to excercise parking a car or a transportation bus, to let the engine of a tuk tuk roar or to leave the practice ground and drive around the fort, on the seaview road, with a huge red L behind the windscreen. The setting reminds me to my childhood when we practiced the traffic regulations on a specifically built ground, with a close to retirement policeman.
The food… in Jaffna I started to get into the cuisine of Sri Lanka, trying dishes, fruits and drinks, just at the end of my travel. Because people are so much more welcoming, not being spoilt by tourism yet. And the mangos… the best ever touched down on my tongue to explode in a frenetic cheering from every gustation in my mouth.
The Kottu, the different curries, lentil dishes, spicy as hot as hell! I love hell, you know. And the milk tea, mostly a stired up nescafe powder, but still, sooo tasty and cooling the hellish heat.
Shopping, at tiny timbered shed in a small fishing village or at a supermarket in shopping mall, if they don´t have change, small coins, at the cash desk, you get, a handhold away prepared to convert, sweets, like jelly or a bar of chocolate, tiny but reasonable and why the stock not!
“You are alone? – Where is your girl-friend? – No wife?! – Why??? – Are you crazy? – You don´t like tschiggy tschiggy [sort of the cambodian bum bum I suppose]?”
There is nothing more interesting than life at the edge of past, boardering, even though in Jaffna the alterability is on hold. First roads, a shopping malls, a modern prison, the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and some new barracks and then maybe then the government takes care of the pollution, the poor, living in ruins of war, from fishing and hoping for a change, a change god-sent, still devout. Imagine how a system would have to deal with its own dreadfulness and abuse of power – which is of course immanent, without having this piousness, installed obviously not without purpose. You can not imagine, because without religion there might be no war, driven fundamentalistic bloodlust. – I would love to help them.
The approach of residents, straightforward undressing me. “Why you wear shirt and cap?” Show off, be proud to look like a freak, gangster – they would.
Today I leave Jaffna. With a third class ticket for the night train. On a more or less bench, hexing sleep, stucked between human flesh, animals are not allowed luckily, and their belongings, questioning my decision, punishing my good sense, from the deep down of my back, disciplining me for days after. Dreaming, half with my ass rattling the rails, of the alternative option, the night bus, comfortable seat, AC, a high on volume hindu movie and being dropped off in the middle of nowhere next to Negombo at 4 a.m. You never know and at one point you have to go. I have two days left arriving south, to jump on the plane at the 12th to Bangkok, my stopover on the road to Kathmandu. Sounds doable, yes. Shut up, back!
Jaffna is a wonderful farewell for a bumpy one month travel in Sri Lanka.
In Cambodia during this time missing people found dead – no reason to reach out for conspiracies, and alive after paranoid hunts. A fire at a club in Siem Reap killed at least 5 people, the rest victims of corruption, covered by ashes, disappeared in the furrows of ember.
On the Philippines people are fighting with the effects of a typhoon. – I forgot the name, how controlling to give the nature names anyway, strengthen the community, we and all together, to fight a common enemy instead of blaming the government for the sustainable mismanagement. Raging overland, destroying land and life, naturally first hits the poor, their barely existing fortune, their huts, roofed by a collage of plastic bits, maintained by hope with garbage. My minds are with Cesar and the other homeless families I met. I hope we will see each other again in march.
Beside all this, and that, me drowning in illusions… love was around and followed me like a blind – pretended, shadow, demanding my compassion – tricky bastard. Me standing at a tennis court in Colombo, watching sister and brother challenging, a flash flut of emotions, pouring in sweat and tears inside and outside, remembering the not-at-all good old times, but missing my sister heavily, my nieces and my parents. A suddenness of a constant controversy. We fighted till we literally shed blood. I don´t miss the pain, but I miss the affection, which has taken place after, the silent pity and the never-expressed complicity, a state, which has to be changed and changed already, in this moment, me standing at the fence of a Sri Lanka tennis club, hearing the horseflies from far away, crunching red ashes and facing the doggedness of our childhood. I love you, my dear twin sister. Thank you Sri Lanka, I will keep it in mind and in my heart – I will find this mysterious thing someday.