Going into the country.

One Greg Anderson, whose biographical info I could find identified him as being “American” and an “author”, apparently is the father of the quote, dear to all those who use and abuse of the word “wanderlust”, “Concentrate on the journey, not the destination”.
On a balmy day of March, some five kilometers north of the small town of Ahangama, I decided to take heed to Mr Anderson’s advice and to concentrate on the journey.
There is a small tea plantation in this side of Sri Lanka that gently declines towards the sea, far away from the more orthodox tea environment of the Hill Country. It is a quaint little affair that offers tours and cakes for free, and is eagerly assaulted by throngs of Buryats, Kazakhs and other Central Asian peoples, looking exotic in their white robes and headscarves against the tropical vegetation. Most visitors, myself included, reach it by means of vans, or tuk-tuks, speeding past a scene of pure tropical idyll. On the way back, I chose not to do the same.
It was a sweaty hour to Ahangama, an excursion that ended with the inevitable sunburnt neck and perspired shirt, but the rewards for following Mr Anderson’s advice were amongst the most precious of my journey in Sri Lanka.
A dirt road unwinds through the gardens. The red earth reminds of Africa and of Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Tombs crop up unexpectedly. An overgrown clearing in the forest holds a handful of sepulchres, forgotten by the locals.

It’s easy to feel like a visiting politician, on the road to Ahangama. Everyone – man, woman, youth, toddler – will wave and say hello to you. Since I was too busy waving back, I’ve always got the moment before or the one after the wave.

I’d always wondered why Asian tourists, on hot days, strolled under open umbrellas. As I felt my neck starting to glow red I suddenly got why.

Lacking a brolly, water buffalos hang all day in mud pools, with a spotless egret for company.

At a roadside workshop, a game awaits whilst punters have taken a break to do some work – namely, turning some fish left to dry.

Reaching the perfect balance between speed, cooling breeze and effort. Nirvana can be found on the road to Ahangama.

Talking about Nirvana…

The only tuk-tuk that didn’t offer us a ride. Probably because they were too busy enjoying the day themselves.

Rice paddies appear and vanish in the bush, on the road to Ahangama.

This entry was posted in Asia, Overlooked locations, Sri Lanka and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Going into the country.

  1. It looks gorgeous – and I’m grateful for the reminder that such places exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lexklein says:

    I’m big, big, big on the journey, even when it occasionally becomes a real pain in the neck (more so than the sunburn, I mean!). These photos show exactly why. The journey is often where you see people going about their lives, or feel ensconced in nature, or come across mundane scenes that the destination sometimes tries to keep hidden. Lovely trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hi Lexi, thanks for the comment. What can I say, I subscribe to everything you’ve written, commas included. Had we tuk-tukked back (is that a verb?) we would’ve missed everything. Sometimes we saw minivans of other fellow tourists coming or going, and they looked at us with pity. They were the ones missing out!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D. Riso says:

    Hey Fabrizio. Now, that’s the way to luxuriate in the journey. 😁The quiet bliss of moving from one place to the next in a foreign land. Thanks for taking me along on this gray April morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      You’re very welcome, Julie 🙂 Seriously, this and another moment – driving through the countryside one early morning – are my favourite Sri Lankan memories.
      By the way, it’s beautiful and sunny over here in London, how about that!? If only I wasn’t at my desk… but I had a good walk from the Tube instead of hopping on the shuttle bus. Not so much in terms of views unless you’re a plane spotter..

      Like

  4. Cecilia says:

    Great pictures from a great place! Thanks, it’s very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

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