Cows are everywhere, including on the volleyball court. This fella was waiting to serve, but then got hauled away to give some milk for the afternoon tea.

With World Mental Health Day in the books and a quarter of Trina’s school year complete, we’ve headed to southern Sri Lanka and are currently on a week-long tour of the beaches.

When you live in a country for awhile, you quickly forget what it’s like to be a tourist. You get into your day-to-day routine and things become familiar – and people become familiar with you. You build a small little world around you and things get normal – even the budders and the starers.

But step outside your daily routine, even a little bit, and you quickly become a tourist again. And by that I mean, people constantly trying to get a buck off you.  Two days on a touristy beach and you’re quickly reminded that your six months of volunteering mean nothing. You’re the same as any other white person on the beach trying to work on their bad tan and drink cheap beer.

I’m not angry or surprised by this. Not at all. It just reminds you that you’ll never be treated like a local here and it’s kind of sad. Deep down, I want to be Sri Lankan.

Just when you feel like maybe you can fit in, someone asks you if you want a massage or to buy some shitty beads or watch their cobra dance. (This isn’t a sexual reference, but rather it refers to a man who carries around a cobra in a basket and makes him dance for money. Poor cobra.)

But, even as tourists, we’re having a good time. The weather is great and we’re getting a chance to relax and enjoy some cleaner air and quiet nights. We also got to stay with our Sinhala teacher Geetika and her family in Galle on Saturday and visited her school today. It’s quite something to watch Sri Lankan kids play duck, duck, goose or Simon Says. I’m even going to try surfing tomorrow. That will only end with a gut full of salt I’m sure, but it will still be fun.

Anyway, it’s good times for us right now even though the Riders keep losing. On the bright side, the Wings are still unbeaten the last I checked, so all is not lost.

Have a good week!

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Shaun

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