My nails seem to grow faster in the tropics. I seem to be often having a go at taming them with my little nail kit. The bluntish tongs of my nail clippers, chew rather than slice through the crescents of white. Another day in the tropics, I have just had breakfast and the warm morning has sent me gasping back to the shade of my room and mosquito net. I attempt to do some spine lengthening yoga and the exertion sends me back to gasping for breath as heat courses through my body. Prone and horizontal I tighten my legs to activate my spine and lift my torso unsupported. I’ll do ten of these lifts, I think and end up maybe at five. I then take a moment to roll over and contemplate my newly cut nails and try some supine exercises to lengthen the postural muscles of my legs. Yep can’t seem to get past five. I unfold my legs into the air and look at the negative shape formed by the edges of my feet silhouetted against the ceiling. I wonder just how I will ever teach yoga in this climate when I can barely move. Still I did mobilise my hips by lying on my side and drawing my ankle in front and behind me, yep stiff hips.
I’m still in the recovery stages of Dengue Fever and tiredness seems to be derigeur. The rhythm of the days is punctuated by the arrival and departure of guests at Udekki. The roads , traffic and distances make predicting the exact time of arrival difficult and exhausted travellers and newly arrived winter refugees spill out of cars and minibuses at all hours of the day and night.
People come to Sri Lanka to bike through back roads, view the dolphins, escape the northern winter chills, snorkel, chase monuments and explore a different climate. After the craziness that is India, Sri Lanka seems much more manageable. Local people are full of smiles and the shake of the head can mean anything. I agree, I will get it, what a good idea, they assert and you sit back and maybe you’ll get what you asked for or maybe some variation. I asked for a pot of tea this morning and after much head nodding got a cup of hot milky stuff. In the same ball park at least.
Things that are self evident are really not so self evident in so different a culture. When I visited Colombo to deal with visa issues and book myself into hospital, I was finally lying on a bed attached to a drip. A pert lass with big hair trotted into my cubicle. She was the enrolment person. She wanted a deposit there and then to continue my treatment. She asked me to come with her to organise the credit card.
“Girlfriend,” I said, “You will have to rip the drip out of my arm and I’m sure that nurse over there who took so bloody long to find a vein will probably be most unhappy. Is there some way we can do this at my convenience?”
She said, ”You have to pay a deposit.”
“Yes, I think you did say that.”
“Are you able to pay?”
There I was covered in spots, hot, dehydrated, prone, cranky and convinced my days were numbered, and my sense of humour was getting darker, no, it was getting black.
“If you say so.” I tried, going the route, it you can’t win then agree with what ever they say.
My driver a roguish fellow with good English was watching and I could see him rolling his eyes. He led the girl away before I was tempted to stick pins in her eyes. I gave him my credit card and passport and he shooed the pert backside away from me. About 20 minutes later she returned with a document and credit card for me to sign and Bobs you uncle I was ensconced in the private health system of Sri Lanka and that my good readers was day one, it got sillier. Yet I was hung off drips for 24 hours, which was exactly what I needed and the fungus that was invading my upper legs was noted and treated, more than I can say for the local doctor at Udekki who was more concerned about the passing of Merv Hughes, than my condition.
I was expecting to write posts about the clear skies, soft tropical breezes, amazing sea food and somehow magically transform from one black hearted, soft white skinned miscreant to a tropical Pollyanna. Not really going to happen, you do carry the traits you express and repress and what can I do with that? Well, other than, be kind or failing that at least agree with people, even if they are crazy and back away slowly from the madness of others beliefs and behaviours that seem so at odds with my world view, my little island of sanity or not. At least my nails are healthy….