The tea fields of Ella, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: The Undiscovered Country

What’s So Civil About War, Anyway?
The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka

Located just off the southern coast of India, Sri Lanka is home to nearly 20 million citizens and has been an independent nation since 1947.

A Sri Lankan soldier
A Sri Lankan soldier

Unfortunately, for almost as long as it has been a country, Sri Lanka has been caught up in a civil war. To super simplify the conflict, the residents of the north and eastern parts of the country feel they are not treated justly by the government and want to become their own sovereign state. The government has said no, so a band of rebels called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have taken matters into their own hands.

Over the past 40 years, the fighting between the government and the LTTE has been bloody and costly. In recent months, however, the LTTE has reportedly been all but eliminated, which has led to a series of desperate attacks as they try to remain a force to be reckoned with. This was the political situation that greeted us when we arrived in Sri Lanka on March 26, 2009.

Sri Lanka: A Less Populated Version of India

Jungle road Sri Lanka
A typical main road in Sri Lanka. LTTE forces often wait in the jungles surrounding the road and wait to attack.

So what about our experience in Sri Lanka? The country itself reminds us a lot of India…if India was populated with one percent of the people and had just had its first tourist a few years ago.

With the exception of the capital, Colombo, most cities have a small town feel and are surrounded by nature. This was a perfect match for us, as I am a huge fan of cities whereas Carrie prefers the great outdoors. In the end we spent 17 days in Sri Lanka and, despite a few frustrations and being ready to move onto Southeast Asia, we left with a very nice place in our hearts for the country.

Note: this entry is being written from Ko Lok in Thailand, after my laptop is finally working again. I’m trying hard to catch up, so look for part 2 of Sri Lanka, coming soon. Also, there are numerous movie references in the titles of these posts. See if you can spot them all 🙂