INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for crazy people

Speed Bumps

Sri Lanka Part Seven

Sri Lanka Part Six
Sri Lanka Part 5
Sri Lanka Part 4
Sri Lanka Part 3
Sri Lanka Part 2
Sri Lanka Part 1

The day we left Tissa for Yala and Yala for Kandy, the former capital, was so long I remember only flashes and the dull impressions of strange and bad things. It started at three-thirty in the morning — I awoke before my alarm in a comfortable line of passed out cooks squished together on a smaller number of mattresses. Minutes later, pounding on the door, and others from the same bus hustled in to remind us we had to get going. They were so aware, as an entire group, of changes we had made to our “plan”, and were making damn sure we suffered no sightseeing consequence.

It was easier to get up than to explain the concept of the snooze. We were, of coursed, headed to Yala, which, as we remember, sucked.

As we got into the car to leave the compound, a stocky man in between two friends made motions for us to wait. “What?” I called from a cracked window. “Wait, wait,” he said.

It was four o’clock and we were running on fumes and the memory of grilled shrimp. “We have to go.”
Wait.”.

He put his hands on the hood. I felt in my heart the sound of the door handle lifting. Fuck! Nothing. Chest-pounding, at least I knew the doors were locked.

We were trapped in the compound, with only one narrow driveway leading back on to the main road. Our only the safety of the car — but in those black, predawn hours, a few windows didn’t seem the strongest protection against someone willing to act crazy.

I still didn’t know how crazy he wanted to be.
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Fool of a Tuk-Tuk, or The Carma Sutra

Sri Lanka Part Two

You drive like a local is everywhere both curse and compliment, a label given to one that has just saved a life or nearly lost one (or both). To earn such damnation/praise in Sri Lanka, a driver must adopt all of the English sentiments toward the left side of the road while rejecting every ounce of their trademark restraint, propriety, and unexcitability.

Almost every road in the country is two-lane (one in each direction), always curvier than topographically necessary, and rarely with room for central Asian third-laning between your lane and oncoming traffic. Passing has got to be fully committal, usually before a blind curve and with no shoulder for aborted missions. Honk honk.

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