So… what can we say about Sri Lanka?
Well it’s a truly fabulous place, with stark contrasts in climate. You have the Safari Park which suffers drought in the dry season but which is only a couple of hours’ (terrifying) drive from the Rain Forests.
The people have a ready smile and are eager to engage with those pesky foreigners.
The hotel, despite being somewhat corporate, was an eclectic mix. There were burkas, bikinis, saris and t-shirts. At weekends the place is besieged by families from India off on a short break to Sri Lanka – as you do.
The roads are actually pretty good. It’s the people using them that present the danger. Traffic follows a strict hierarchy: way down at the bottom are the pedestrians, who are obliged to fling themselves out of the way – frequently. Barely above them are the cyclists, with a similar duty. Then there are the scooter/motorbike riders, most of whom have grazed elbows, because other traffic passes them THAT close. Then you have the tuk-tuks, whose drivers have absolutely no awareness of other traffic and apparently no fear of death. The car drivers come next and they intimidate the previous three classes by using their horns (a lot) and driving terrifyingly close to anything in their way. Then there are the lorries. They own the whole road and are going to damned-well use it. All of it. At the top of the food-chain are the various breeds of bus, which have a particular penchant for overtaking lorries on blind bends. Quite a few time we rounded a bend to be confronted by a bus overtaking a lorry, overtaking a tuk-tuk, which was attempting to run a scooter off the road. You survive driving in Sri Lanka by luck, not skill.
If you get a chance, go there. Just stay off the roads, eh?