The trek back to Colombo from Kalapitya was interminable. Big pre-elections rallies slowing our progress over and over again. Some men, drunk on cheap alcohol or high on drugs zigzag across the road. Some groups are quite large, all young men, eager for some excitement. I start to worry for our safety and tell our driver to accelerate without attracting attention. He has been living as an ethnic minority in his homeland all his life and doesn’t have to be told not to honk and to stay as unobtrusive as possible. I am glad when all the blue flags fade and we are again passing through sleeping towns, stopping occasionally for a stretch, fruits, coconut water, and hard boiled corn to much on.
We buy lottery tickets for 20 rupees, only the numbers legible to our western eyes. Many people are chewing a red root that leaves their mouths and gums bright red. They smile willingly. The women flutter their eyes coyly when my driver asks permission for me to take their picture. The colours of their blouse and skirts shining like jewels against their brown skin and long shiny black hair. Many are plump. Not as many as back in Canada, but reassuringly, more than I expected.
Getting out of the small jeep and entering my house, I look down at my dirty feet and sticky hands. Life is good.