Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pae's Colombo Flight

Recently, before our wedding, Pae was scheduled for a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's official name is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, wow, lots of stuff going on there! Along with North American flights, Delhi, London and Bangkok, this is one of the flights that the RJ flight crew looks forward to seeing on their schedules.Pae would spend the better part of two days in Colombo, both relaxing after her flight in her hotel and exploring the area both on foot as well as by "Tuk tuk" as we call it here in Thailand. A Tuk tuk is basically a motorized rickshaw. They're tiny, cute and are a good way to tour around, as long as the tuk tuk driver doesn't "take you for a ride" so to speak when it comes to negotiating a fare.Pae visited a couple temples, the beach and even was able to get pictures with an elephant along the way. Most elephants that we see here in Thailand have no tusks or they have had them cut off. This one, in the pictures, had some pretty good tusks going on. I almost forgot what a tusked elephant looked like until I saw the pictures she brought home from Colombo.When traveling, I enjoy trying to capture some of normal everyday life with my camera. When looking through Pae's photos of Colombo, I saw some of this, from couples using umbrellas at the beach to block the sun, to a woman in her bright orange dress selling balls, Pae captured a little of the atmosphere, real life, with her pictures. The collage below looks a whole lot better if you click on it to see it in full size.A funny thing in the pictures were some of the signs on the walls in a Buddhist temple that Pae visited. These signs had proverb-like stories that taught doctrine or I'm guessing lessons or concepts that the Buddhists try to live by. This is the "Indian Buddhism" as I like to call it rather than the one more familiar to me here in Thailand and much of Asia; "Chinese Buddhism" and "Thai Buddhism". I remember when I was in Korea, a Buddhist taught me that, just like there are many denominations of Christianity, Buddhism has the same thing, with tens of different denominations or even types of Buddhism.Above are some of the signs, you know, "don't gamble" and "don't kill animals," but my favorite being the one entitled, "Marrying an extremely young women, even when one is old". "When an aged person marries a young woman, both are unhappy. The young woman does not derive much pleasure out of the marriage. The aged person spends sleepless nights worrying if his young wife will think of a young man. This situation is a source of downfall." Hmmmmmm, I wonder what they consider "aged" and "young" hahaha!!As Sri Lanka is about 70% Buddhist, with a spattering of Muslims, Christians and Hindus, a Hindu temple was also on the list of places to visit. The temple Pae visited was one that most non-Sri Lankan crew like to go see. I love the pictures of this temple. So many characters, so many poses. (I think it is a Hindu temple. It could be a Buddhist temple. Both religions in Sri Lanka are derived from India, so the characters, gods, Buddhas are unfamiliar to me)One of the most interesting things is that there are two main buildings of this temple, one of which is well kept while the other is dirty and needs to be maintained. You can see both of them in one of these pictures. Such a stark contrast between to two temples, situated just meters from each other, on the same temple ground.I actually enjoy just sitting and zooming in on the pictures of this temple and trying to pick out each different character and try to figure out what he/she is doing and his relationship with the other characters that adorn the outer walls! Its visually stunning to look at, even just in pictures, must have been awesome to see it in person!Sri Lanka being an island, Pae had the ocean all around her and made it to the beach before she left, although she didn't swim. Just out to the beach near her hotel, look at the water, see the people out, together, eating and enjoying their lunch breaks, or those selling snacks and drinks to the beachgoers. The tide must have been in because the waves were coming right up to the little sidewalk where people were taking their mid-day strolls. The small grassy area along the beach, beach parks, were great places for people to fly kites as well.The architecture in Colombo was a mixture of old and new with construction and upgrades of government buildings, according to one of Pae's Tuk tuk driver/guide.Tamil Tigers and all of the past conflict in Sri Lanka aside, Colombo seems like a nice place for a stopover or weekend trip! Maybe we'll stop there for a few days on our way to the Maldives (IN MY DREAMS!!) hahaha. We'll have to put that one on the bucket list! Scuba diving in the Maldives...For now, I'm totally happy and satisfied sitting and listening to Pae tell me about her hotel, her tuk tuk driver, the food and her cultural and social experiences in those two quick days in Sri Lanka. I see the amazement in her eyes of an explorer who has discovered a new world, the excitement and sense of pride of an adventurer who just summited Everest. Hearing these things in her voice and seeing it in her eyes and smile brings me great happiness! Vicarious living!

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