Rob and my mom 'catching some rays' on the beach in Bentota, Sri Lanka. Rob couldn't get enough of the Indian Ocean - that is until he got into water over his ankles.

My parents have been in Sri Lanka for over two weeks now and we’ve managed to keep them alive. Success. The fact that they appear to also be having a good time is actually just a huge bonus – and some may say miracle.

You see, my mom and dad’s travelling experience to date has been fairly limited. There was Mexico a few years back (which is drawing many parallels for them here), Ireland last year (which is drawing no parallels since they don’t have Guinness here) and then various places in Canada and the U.S. – the most exotic locale being Hodgeville, Sask.

So, I wouldn’t call them rookies, but they’re definitely closer to travel virgins than travel sluts. And to adapt and enjoy life in Sri Lanka (in only a few weeks), it’s much easier if you’re on the (travel) slutty side.

Having said all that, they’ve adapted extremely well here and I’m very proud of them. As my Grandma Humphries used to say, “They’re good scouts.” That’s not to say there hasn’t been some bumps in the road. Not that I’m keeping track, but here’s a couple foibles that we’re already laughing at:

  • Rob and his battle with constipation. To be fair, Sri Lanka certainly can’t be blamed for this. You see as soon as Rob leaves 1615 Hird Crt in Regina, his colon goes on strike. Most people would be horrified with this appearing on a blog, but not my dad. It’s become his badge of honour and I’m pretty sure the badge is brown. Whenever he gets out of his daily routine, even for a day, constipation sets in. Not sure if it’s psychological or physical, but the only fix appears to be laxatives, and lots of them. Luckily in Sri Lanka, they hand out as many prescription-grade laxatives as you could ever need at the grocery store – all for 15 cents. Problem solved in only two days. Bring on the rice and curry.
  • On the second day of my parent’s visit, I was coming home from the store when I man met me at the gate to our house. He was holding what looked like a pencil case and was waving it around. He had also got the attention of my landlord’s family who had come out to see what was in the pencil case. Handing me the case, I heard my landlord’s daughter ask if someone had lost their passport. I quickly replied, no way. But…sure enough, there was a Canadian passport inside the case and my mom’s mugshot inside the passport. The man had found the case laying on the expressway a half-block from our house. He brought it to our house – because luckily – he had heard from people on the street that we’re the only white people in a hundred-block radius. We’re still not sure how or when it fell out of my mom’s bag (we didn’t even know it was lost), but needless to say we dodged a huge missile there. Thank you karma and anonymous Sri Lankan man.
  • And to prove I’m not picking on my poor parent’s, I’ll include a story about myself here too. Because even though I’m starting to settle in here, I can still get rattled at a moment’s notice. On the weekend we were staying at a beach resort near Colombo and we had arranged for a late checkout on Sunday. So basically we were just swimming in the pool, ‘soaking in the rays’ as Rob called it and freeloading for as long as possible. It was a really nice afternoon, so we decided to stay as long as we could before they kicked us out and we could still catch a train back to Colombo. I knew they had a train schedule somewhere in the main office, so I decided to sneak in there and take a look at when we could catch the train that evening. The moment I was opening the door to the empty office is the moment that I unexplicably cracked…

– Hotel manager (perched above the office door from the second floor restaurant) – “Can I help you sir?”

– Shaun (looking up towards the direction of the voice, holding the door handle and wearing only a swimsuit) – “Uhhh…I just need to grab something from my bag.”

– Hotel manager (still on perch) – “Okay, sir, go ahead.”

At this point I go inside the office and ridiculously rifle through my bag looking for something that I might need. I need nothing. I take a quick glance for the train schedule, but see it nowhere. I leave the office empty handed and go sit down beside Rob at the pool like nothing happened.

– Rob (looking at me in bewilderment) – “You lied to that hotel guy.”

– Shaun – “I know. I cracked.”

At this point we both started laughing and Trina started shaking her head and talking about having to do everything. I have no idea why I didn’t just say I wanted to see the train schedule. It’s not a state secret and I knew they had a copy. It could point to some deep psychological issue or it could be that I’m simply still a bit off here, never really sure about what I’m supposed to be doing.  So that when someone asks politiely if they can help me, I immediately assume I’m doing something wrong and crack like Humpty Dumpty.

To sum this blog up, here are three takeaways:

  1. I’m happy my parents are here and that they’re seemingly having a good time.
  2. Rob wears his brown badge everywhere in Sri Lanka
  3. If my parents are travel virgins, I would put myself as a travel heavy petter. 

Peace out and don’t give up on the Riders. This is what being a Rider fan is supposed to be like. Get a grip.

My advice: just enjoy being outside with your buds watching a game and sharing some laughs. In that scenario, we’re all winners.

Shaun

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