Details of Life on the Road: Street eats, cheap sleeps, budget travel experiences

Celebrating Christmas In Sri Lanka

P1050394Photo: friends hanging out in Galle.


Stress was limited. Chaos was only that resembling Sri Lankan daily life, largely unaffected by Santa’s madness. Boxing day sales were low. Mass consumerism was indeed widespread, but for rice and curries, and fresh coconut. Snow was replaced with sand and sun rays. No physical gifts were given, nor were any received (thanks to the people who have helped me further my travels). I survived. No gifts will sit in the corner, under the tree, in a Christmas stocking unnoticed (thanks for all of the kind gifts I’ve received in the past). Santa is Sri Lankan and he lost his pot belly.

I must admit, though, that the salty, exhaust ridden air of Galle Road lacked a little friendly cheer. The kind you can only find at home; familiar smiles from friends and family, the hugs from many, the ice clinking against the short glass, breathing in the crisp winter air. Sure, these things can be found mostly anywhere, not just at home, wherever that may be. What I’m saying is that Christmas, for the most part, is about the things I’ve just mentioned but, of course, that has largely changed to gifts, selfishness, greediness, consumerism (none of which I’m innocent from). So on this Christmas abroad it wasn’t the gifts that I missed, but the smiles that were miles away, embraces which could not be replaced with greetings from new faces, and more than all of the above, unconditional love.

On Christmas Eve, myself, two Frenchmen, one Russian guy, and one Russian girl hit the town of Hikkaduwa. First having a couple of Lion Beer at the Hikka Train Hostel, we soon moved on to Sam’s Pub and drank a couple of draft beer; no whiskey was available for me to savor. After Sam’s we hit up one of Hikka’s only clubs, Top Secret. I failed miserably at walking on the slack-line, frightened Russian women with my dance moves, smoked a stranger’s shisha, and became ever-increasingly intoxicated with a little help from arrack, a local coconut palm liquor. A smile on my face, the taste of arrack and ginger on my lips, acknowledging smiles from friends, squishing the sand between my toes, my breath stinking of lust and desire while looking up with eyes closed as the raindrops fell on my head I soon headed for home. A local guy driving a van picked me up and drove me close to my hostel to where I then wandered.

My Christmas consisted of hydrating myself with as much water as I could drink, watching a film while laying on a couch in my hostel, eating a Sri Lankan rice and curry for dinner, and having an early night. I can’t complain. It rained relentlessly all day keeping me indoors for the most part although I likely wouldn’t have went far anyway due to the previous night’s festivities. It was relaxing.

I was grateful to be where I was. Happy to be alive and traveling in a foreign country. I wasn’t going to be upset that it was raining on Christmas; 800,000 people in Northern Sri Lanka were recently displaced because of this very rain which, for them, resulted in mudslides and flooding. Not 80,000, which is more than the population of my city, Charlottetown, but 800,000, almost six times the population of my province, Price Edward Island. So much devastation, suffering, and unfairness. That being said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to feel the sun on Christmas day (if you’re in a country such as Sri Lanka). What I do think, however, is that it’s important to think about what you’re thinking and saying, and to remember where you are and what you have, and that the thing you’re complaining about should probably be the least of your worries and is actually the most of some people’s real worries.

In reality, Christmas is alive and growing in Sri Lanka (and likely everywhere in the world) due to its commercialization, and globalization.

I’m not actually the Grinch, I just like to celebrate properly and not get lost in things that don’t matter, rather in meaningfulness.

What does this time of the year mean to you?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday, spent with loving friends and family, and full of joy and cheer!


P1050402Photo: Newlyweds, the only red and white photo I could find.

One Response to “Celebrating Christmas In Sri Lanka”

  1. Amb says:

    Glad to hear you had a good Christmas!! I missed spending it with you but also enjoyed it. I traveled as well, spending my time with new friends and relaxing on the beach. No consumerism for me this year either! Next year, let’s celebrate together. Love you!! AMB

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