Living in a small town, I know (almost) everyone and they know me. I know how to get what I need, or who to call to find it, or fix it. I wouldn’t change this for anything, but after a period of time, something pulls at me - to get outside that comfort zone, and open myself up to the unfamiliar. I need to make my world bigger, if just to see to see my home with new eyes.
So once again, I have set out to see what I can see. After 36 hours on the road, in the air and on the road again, I arrived in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. It’s booming – cranes everywhere in the skyline, and advertising for development opportunities, financing, and technology abound. I think at first, I was put off by the lack apparent “differentness,” There even is a Minististy of Megapolis and Western Development,. (I can’t help but ask, is this really something to aspire toI?!) It’s not fair for a place not to grow or evolve. I certainly don’t want someone else’s world to be smaller so mine can feel bigger. The fact is our world is already getting smaller. (While I’m writing this, at a little curry restaurant, a guy is getting off a motorcycle with an UberEATS backpack to pick up an order).
So rather than asking a place to make my world bigger, whatever that means, I’m going to say “show me what you got,” because I want to see what makes a place or people special, to learn from the experience - to see what’s here, instead of what’s not.
In this case, I saw some beautiful restored colonial architecture in the Old Dutch Hospital, wide open green spaces in the midst of the city (picture a Sri Lankan central park), Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian religious sites (sometimes all on the same block), 30,000-years of Sri Lankan history at the National Museum, and lots of juxtapositions of religion and history across a city that took a day or two to open itself up to me…or maybe it was the other way around.