Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On neon.

Steph and I are currently planning on tucking ourselves in early tonight, for those of you familiar with our sleep patterns I’m sure this must come as quite a shock. But, do not fret, it is a decision based purely on necessity—one born from a busy day shopping in Kandy and a scheduled departure time of 5:45 a.m. for what Steph adeptly described as a “well, you know, it’s a place” in the morn, rather than a change of character.

Tomorrow we are off to explore Sigiriya and Trinco with Steph’s friends. I think this trip will be a welcome break from our busy day shopping and, hopefully, we’ll come back a shade or two darker.

Today was spent experiencing downtown Kandy. For lunch we dined at KFC, which featured a slightly different menu than its counterparts in the states and also boasted a very helpful poster detailing the history of KFC. Apparently, KFC was founded at “a very happy time in the 1930s”, who knew?

Steph and I decided to be serious and fully committed the entire shopping day to our quest for neon clothing. We spent the better part of the day picking through shops looking for clothes that qualified as bright enough. This was a more difficult task than expected. We were interrupted frequently by overeager salesmen who would follow us through the store, remove clothing from hangers, and select matching belts for dresses we had only glanced at. But, in the end, despite these hindrances, I think we found some pretty stunning articles.

Combined they create wonderfully high-fashion outfits. Solely based on the attractiveness of these outfits alone I think we may have to begin our own fashion blog as well. Today’s OOTD could be titled something along the lines of “Fluorescent Females”. Don’t worry; we’ll refrain from wearing it all at once so we won’t outshine those around us.

Packing is finished and bed is calling.

Much Love, Alisa and Steph

Monday, June 28, 2010


Well dear reader, we are sufficiently recovered from our rugby shenanigans on Saturday. Truly, there really is not a whole lot that sufficient sleep and a good cup of coffee won’t put to rights. Sunday morning dawned early…8.30 to be exact. Three and a half hours of sleep combined with bodies that wished they were over jet lag but were secretly not, do not cause a whole lot of desire for action, so we settled for a good church service and napping. Oh yes, and traipsing through the dark night, battling off dogs and potholes for a late night dip. Having lounged about the house for the greater part of the day, Al and I figured a good brisk walk up to the pool would be a refreshing little adventure and indeed it was – until we met the mongrels at any rate. Then it was heart palpitations, frantic holding of hands, deep breaths and “just….keep…walking” through clenched teeth. We made it however and the ensuing swim was glorious. We put ourselves to bed by 9 that evening and what a wise life decision that was. We were new girls this morning.

While Al napped on, I decided to re-introduce my running legs to that vague and distant past time. Somehow I forgot to think about a. the humidity, b. the fact that not only cars occupy the street but also cows, ox carts, trishaws, more dogs, more cows and occasional drove of people and c. the monsoon. All three entities struck in one crippling blow this morning and I returned a panting, sopping, sweaty mass, the approximate shade of the setting sun. My strawberries and cream this afternoon seemed very well deserved.

Strawberries and cream were just one of the many strawberries and ________ (fill in blank with whatever you so desire) that were options at the new little restaurant (?) we discovered this afternoon. A restaurant devoted solely to strawberries. No joke. From strawberry picture frames to strawberry pancakes to strawberry table clothes to a larger-than-life wall hanging on the history of the strawberry, it was all there.

Four of us girls sat down and partook in all that was strawberry and it was just…peachy.

In other news, Al had an adventure on the scooter today. Needing to change money, she was introduced not only to the joys of Sri Lankan banks and Sri Lankan rupees, but to the joys of bumping along on the back of a bajaj scooter – its sturdiness equal to none.

We will stop now, on account of being on the brink of starvation…starvation tends to cramp my writing style some. Arabic food, for the win.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On rugby.


Since arriving in the beautiful land of Sri Lanka I have had a host of cultural experiences. Ranging from being asked by everyone, “Visiting from America? Have you seen an elephant?” Apparently they’re really exciting. I’ve given up on telling people that I’ve seen and even ridden elephants in the states, thanks to the circus and Winston Wildlife Safari. My new tactic is one that I hope might earn me a free elephant ride. It goes something like this, “Elephants, wait they really exist? I’ve never seen one before. I didn’t know they were real.” I’m going to test it out on the next person who asks; maybe I can get a baby elephant out of the performance. Steph says it’s pretty convincing.


It is pretty convincing. I'm thinking about getting her to get two of them, so I can take one home also. Judging by the sheer amount of clothing that I managed to cart over, there is no doubt in my mind that my suit case is big enough.


Something else I’ve experienced unique to the island is it’s humidity. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I have not had the joy of making humidity’s acquaintance until now. I can’t say I’m sad it’s taken so long for us to meet. But, people tell me I’ll get used to it. I hope they’re right.

Escaping the heat - what a rough life.

Another thing I’ve got to participate in, that literally screams culture, was the much-anticipated Bradby match. For those of you who don’t know Bradby is a rugby game between two of the top boys’ schools in Kandy and Colombo, Trinity and Royals respectively.

The game was absolutely crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. The fans were out of control. There were bands, flags, school songs, face paint, matching shirts, and team spirit galore. Also, to distract the other team, fans would sporadically set off firecrackers to decrease the other team’s chance of scoring. Royals won which, unfortunately, was not the team we were rooting for. But we did go out and celebrated the match Lankan style at Bradby Ball afterwards, which lessened the sting of defeat significantly. Maybe I’ll let Steph tell you all about it.


Hmmmmm...yes, Bradby Ball. Losing is no fun but as they say "misery loves company"...in this case, "company" included about twenty of us who met up to dance the night away, well into the wee hours of the morn. Le Garage was hopping, the music pounding and the dance floor popping. 3.00 am rolled round and it was time to call it good. After some cajoling, we got Al a first taste of driving down the potholed, rutted, bedraggled mountain roads of Kandy and she did incredibly well - despite having to drive on the left side and never having driven outside of the states in her life. Not a single dog was hit, we got the car home intact and Alisa became a star pretty instantaneously.


All in all, after roughly four days in the country, I feel like I’ve been ceremoniously immersed in Sri Lankan culture. I may come back with an accent just like Steph’s.

So much love,

Alisa and Steph

Friday, June 25, 2010

On arabic sugar and croissants. Also Bailey's.

Dear readers, we are back. After saying good-bye to kit and kin in the U.S. of A, adventures in the Middle East and 40 hours of tripping door to door, we are indeed back.

The kit and kin. And nine pieces of luggage.

The geckos, the mosquito nets and the palm trees have not changed a fraction, but there are some minor alterations to life as I once knew it.

Firstly we have a new gate. Now our gate keeps everything from stray trishaws to our knave of a neighbor at bay, so our gate is, well, significant…and the first thing I noticed coming home was that the latticed, wrought-iron gate that I had swung on as a child was gone, sent to a happier place where all good gates go, and replaced by a stately entity with a brand new attachment of a red mail box. The old mailbox was blown to smithereens, you see, when Kristian thought it would be entertaining to stick half a dozen fireworks in it to see what would happen. We never did find the top half.

Secondly, apparently we have an avocado tree. My mother was very excited about this discovery and consequently we will be having avocadoes in some shape or form probably every single day.

Thirdly, and most favorite, joining me this time is a certain Ms. Alisa Rogers-Taylor. Having never stepped foot out the country, she upped and decided flying half way across the globe with me to teach impoverished kids and soak in the delights of the motherland would be just the way to kick off her traveling career. It’s going to be a wonderfully insane couple of months with my roomie, bestie and second mom by my side.

Virgin passports

Needless to say, out journey across the pond was eventful. We began by nearly missing our flight to San Francisco, stopping but briefly on our mad dash to our gate to issue hugs out to the terminal security guards (it was more me not realizing I didn’t beep and consequently standing, arms wide, looking expectantly at the guard, who in turn looked mildly nonplussed. “What, you waitin for a hug or something?” eeeeeh. “Sure?”). We boarded our 16 hour flight with a sturdy outlook. We would make it.

Busting out the crayons, the coloring books, the books, the computers, the Sudoku and the reeses peanut butter cups did present us with some amount of encouragement and things were going well…until of course we were tricked out of our seats by a large Indian man whose primary mode of communication was enthusiastic hand gestures roughly two inches from the face. This was how he communicated that he wanted our seats, that he didn’t like his food and that the movie he was watching was great. Well, the series of short, out-of-the-silence barks of laughter also proved this latter point to be the case. Eight movies later (we highly recommend Valentines Day), a couple of good stiff drinks (nothing like free alcohol to liven up things) and a glance at the North Pole, we arrived in Dubai, alive and well.

Dubai was seven and a half hours of coffee and moseying through duty free and marveling at the indoor rainforests. It was here that we learned from a very excited and helpful Arab man that USA got to the next round of the world cup!

"Sugar" in arabic

Just educating ourselves on the current Middle Eastern trends

It was in high spirits that we shipped ourselves off on the last leg of our passage (we think we left our Indian friend in the Middle East). A couple of croissants and Twilight viewings later, we landed and alighted our flying tub with gusto you wouldn’t believe. We were glad nothing happened to the plane because being seated in front of the exit meant that in case of emergency, it would have been our job to get the doors open for safe evacuation.

“Al, which way does the door handle turn?”

“How should I know, I’ve never opened a freakin plane door…”

“Lets just try…this…way…shoot, it just tightened I think…loosy goosy, righty tighty…no wait that was lefty loosy…”

“Here, just give it to me…”

Yes. Epic fail.

The plane did not crash, thank goodness, and we arrived in due time in the metropolis of Colombo.

And now we are home. There is nothing like sleep, food and a rousing game of Settlers to put one back on one's feet. Let the games begin.

With love,

Alisa and Steph.