After 6 hours of car ride, 2 delayed flights, 21 hours of plane, 4 hours of layover, 3 lost suitcases, 1 tea stop and several near-fatal collisions with ancient buses, mangy dogs and the occasional cow, our bedraggled party arrived at the gates of the Rubesh residence in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Praise be to God.
Firstly, I thought my life had come to a shaky end half way across Northern India. I was woken up from an awkwardly positioned nap by the violent shaking of the plane, pitch blackness outside my window and the blinking, beeping sound of the seat belt sign. My very first thought was that the apocalypse was finally upon us but then seeing as turbulence was probably a more viable explanation, I went with option B. When the shaking didn't stop but in fact got worse, I began reasoning with myself and decided that death would be but a 20 minute deal, at worst, and about 19 minutes and 58 seconds of those 20 would be spent free falling, and haven't I always wanted to go sky diving? I promptly resumed my nap thereafter and did not awaken until the next joggle that was touch down.
Secondly, I have decided that sometime before I die, I'm going to write a book on all the creative ways one can pass the time in an airplane. In the past I have drawn, written, read...the usual. One time, I documented and took pictures of the sleeping patterns of passengers and their reactions to flash (snorting, turning over and smacking of the lips were favorites). I realize that this is creepy. This time I indulged in trashy celebrity magazines (I learned all about Tiger Woods affair and that two-tone neon lips are in), drank wine and did cross words, watched Alladin (right before we landed in Abu Dhabi...I figured it was appropriate) and spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out what exactly was in my rather elaborate salad. Needless to say, I did not try it.
Bandaranayaka International Airport (go ahead, say it out loud, you know you want to) is a case of its very own. It was all decked out for yuletide festivities and Kenny G's christmas CD was apparently on repeat...I know this because we spent roughly three hours going through customs and I heard "Away in a Manger" played in expert sax about four times.
(allow me to just pause to say I was nearly run into by a bat. It ran into the window instead.)
What an odd feeling it was, stepping out of the airport amidst throngs of bustling, completely disorganized people, singhala, tamil, urudhu and english all being spoken at the same time, honking traffic and, palm trees...and wait, what? it was...warm...humid...hot even!
It's amazing really, what hours on the plane will do...you go in one end, squirrel away up there for a few hours (or days in this case) and come out the other end in a different world. After two and a half years, I was reintroduced to beautiful stretches of paddy fields, sleeping under mosquito nets, geckos, coconut-trees, impossibly narrow roads, even more impossibly insane driving (the law seems thoroughly arbitrary in this department. They didn't even bother fitting our car with seat belts) and the epitome of good, spicy curry. It's good to be back.
Highlights of the last two days:
- Seeing the rents...I have missed my moms hugs and my dad's never failing sense of humor.
- Eating pol sambol that was so spicy it made me tear up...for reals.
- Going to dance class and reconfirming to myself that jive is not my forte. I had an absolute blast none the less (dancing with Madhawa makes me look acceptable and my dance instructor's knack for similis still kills me every time he opens his mouth),
- Taking pictures of our little sunday school kids in the christmas play this morning, singing gustily and slightly off tune.
- A full-fledged monsoon down pour.
- Being informed by little Kevin, very solemnly, that he was now five, and when aaki (big sister) was here last he was just three.
- Drinking Sri Lankan milk coffee (one part coffee, two parts milk, two parts sugar)
- Napping with the windows open.
Indeed, life is a wonderful thing. Especially since our suitcases arrived and we now have swimsuits to go raid the pool in tomorrow morn.