|East meets West, my friends and I, drivers, security and plantation superintendent all take in the view|
|Everywhere we went we took photos of Anoura so he would be able to show his wife and children|
Perhaps the strongest character I met was Anoura, our driver for the first half of the trip, who took on a role that went beyond the role of driver and tour guide to the point where he felt almost like a surrogate uncle as he swam at the beach with us, took our photo with elephants and enquired after their likelihood of our matrimony (although the country seems quite permissive it's values are still old fashioned). When leaving the car his protectiveness would always manifest as he instructed us not to talk to strangers. He taught us our few words of Sinhalese, in particular 'Anoura hondai (good)' which he wanted us to say to his boss. When we went to an Ayurvedic spice garden he told us about the strength of Sri Lankan Ganga, which apparently can do wonders for a person's sex life. He even took us to his home in Columbo and introduced us to his wife, child and sisters who all live together in the small house. Incomprehensibly his greatest desire seems to be to live the isle to live in the west which he imagines as a place of huge opportunity as a result of the years he spent working as a driver in Greece.
|Dropping us off at the airport to return to England|
|Always alert keeping his eyes on the road; good when they're as treacherous as these|
|Caught relaxing and enjoying the view|
Shanta was our second driver (excluding our initial meeting when he collected us at the airport) and an entirely different character. He clearly held a very senior role as my friend's Father's driver and was very obviously ex-army (we found out towards the end of the trip that he was also armed). However as time went on this professional demeanour would sometimes slip such as when I would come across him during my early-morning strolls (I had an unfortunate habit of coming across him when he was just dressed in a towel!), when our friend would tell him to drive faster on the perilous mountain roads and he would laugh 'yes buba' before putting his foot down or on safari where everyone let their guard down at the magic of the experience.
|TSHIRT Vintage - JEANS Motel - TRAINERS Nike|
|Krishna and his son cooked for us at Citrus Bungalow|
The majority of the tea plantation workers are Tamils, although I never got to meet any (we wouldn't have really been able to communicate) I did get images of some of them at work. It is a hard job but they are strongly unionised and this, combined with the government's desire to prevent more unrest in the country means that their wage is kept up although it is still extremely low to us. For the few Tamils I did meet (such as the Apu Krishna and his son) the introduction was always prefaced by "he is Tamil but he is a good man".