Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Back from halfway around the world

Sri Lanka is a long way away, quite literally halfway around the world and, since it is on the equator, at about the same latitude as Venezuela. When my wife realized that this island nation was going to and ongoing preoccupation, she remarked, if you wanted to study an island nation with political instability, why didn’t you pick Jamaica? !!

When I traveled years ago and returned, people always would ask, What time is it in ….? I don’t know why this question occurred, but the answer is – 9 Am tomorrow morning in Sri Lanka, for a total travel time of about 28 hours – door to door.

As readers will know – or may know – the news of a second Indonesian earthquake reached Sri Lanka about 10 PM. This time the warnings were taken seriously. As “Pali..” , my driver for this trip and I drove along the Colombo Negombo to road to the airport, it was lined with evacuees from the low lying coastal areas. Pali’s wife pleaded with him not to come and meet me – she was fearful that the Kelaniya river, that divides Colombo from the Bandaranaike airport would overflow, drowning both of us. But there was no danger.

I need to stop now. I am pretty practiced sleeping on airplanes. I rarely watch movies any more. But my eyes are closing. Obviously I am not up to the test of an ultramarathon runner, previewed on the Diane Ream show this evening. Missing two night’s sleep, with intermittent airplane respites, seems to be my limit.

By the way... I didn't meet a mean, disagreeable or unhelpful person on my entire trip. Pretty amazng considering that international travel can be a pretty stressfrul and exhausing business. It is a testimony to the basic resiliency and goodness of the human spirit.

More tomorrow……


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