What I choose to take away from my last visit to Sri Lanka only a few weeks ago.

By Mie Ali Didi

Not many of you know that Sri Lanka is my second home. I was born there, growing up I spent most of my summers there and it is where a lot of my family still live. The country has come so far from the days of the civil war. I was so proud it. My last visit to Sri Lanka was only a few weeks ago, and I spent much of it admiring the new infrastructure and developments across the country. The roads were better, the service stops were cleaner, the towns were wealthier. The country looked more harmonious and happier than ever before.

Then the Easter Sunday attacks happened, and it left us all shocked and heartbroken, but as the dust settles nothing seem more obvious to me than to support Sri Lankans and to remember the country for what it really is. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with people with open hearts, and I am positive it will bounce back soon.

Till then, I want you all to remember the extraordinary landscapes, the kindness of the people, the deliciousness of their food and the warmth of their hospitality. I’ll spend the next few of weeks till the travel ban is lifted, sharing some of my highlights from my last trip to Sri Lanka two days before the attacks. Hope you join me on this journey in remembering Sri Lanka in the only way it should be.

Kindness in the cuisine

First thing a Sri Lankan would ask you when you come into their homes is, “Kohomadha?” quickly followed by “kaivedha?”. Two phrases that very quickly defines the kindness of Sri Lankans. Kohomadha means How are you? and Kaivadha, means have you eaten? Food and sharing of food is a huge part of the Sri Lankan culture and I cannot talk about my trip without talking about the food.

My food highlight of the trip came early on day one. Culinary Ceylon, a fine dining restaurant serving up 33 different elements and flavours of Sri Lanka in a beautifully curated 8 course tasting menu. The experience of Culinary Ceylon starts even before you enter the restaurant, masked as a run-down corner shop on the busy Dutch Hospital Street gives you a little glimpse of the theatrics that awaits you inside. I was welcomed by host Glen and his incredible team. The chefs cooked up a storm and Glen served up a story bringing the food to life. Sri Lanka’s rich history is unfolded with every course and Glen was so generous in sharing it all with us. I don’t want to give too much away, but I do believe this one meal set me up for the rest of my trip. The bar was set high, the food was a delicious reminder from my childhood and it tasted even better knowing how it came together. Glen also sang us a song at the end of the meal. A very famous Sri Lankan song also known as a ‘bailaa’ called Surangani, by A E Manoharan, who we were told was a Tamil Muslim but was famous for singing Sinhalese songs. The brotherhood between Sri Lankans run deep, despite all the political conflict, time and time again they come together, and a lot of love is shared over food and music. I hope you stick with me in remembering Sri Lanka and soon we can all go back and enjoy it all over again.

 

If you want to help in this time of need join us in supporting our partner for the Maldives and fellow Sri Lanka operator, Experience Travel Group with their excellent initiative to support the Sri Lankan chauffeur-guides after the Easter Sunday Bombings. Hummingbird are paying all of our contracted drivers but much like ETG, we also use freelancers from time to time and they are who are suffering the most and we would love to see you all support them See more …