An American Girl in a Sri Lankan World- a day of unlikely adventure

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By 2017-04-16

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By Ewanna Wiley

The journey begins with a taxi and the question, "Do you want to take the normal road?" Lack of information and a certain amount of naive trust on my part led to a "Yes". I spent the next four hours, yes four, from Colombo to Galle in a wacky races-like trek, hoping to arrive in one piece and in time for the Galle Literary Festival. About 20 plus sales pitches later, I arrived gem-less, uneducated in the ways of Ayurvedic gardening, and without a turtle hatching experience to showcase... but I did make it to what ended up being an unexpected surprise at the end of a curvy road rainbow.

Galle in all its glory is so many things, and the Literary Festival illustrates this best by giving the world's wordsmiths one of the most splendid backdrops. In one room, during a single author's session the audience compromised over a dozen nationalities including members of the foreign press, tourists, locals, and one girl from West Virginia- all enthralled by the author of I Am Malala, Christina Lamb. This was dialogue and inspiration with no agenda but a love of literature and the desire to gain a better understanding of the world which books allow us to share.

Session completed, I peruse the book sale and find I have to restrain myself as there is a weight limit on luggage. But never one to completely walk away from book hording, I narrow to three and come away pleased with purchase. It is then that the venue of the Lighthouse hotel fully rushes my senses. The staircase sculpture by Ceylonese artist Laki Senanayake is beyond description as it really needs to be experienced and viewed from multiple angles. The open spaces and entry out to the rugged ocean shoreline makes conversation about anything else moot for at least a 20 minutes. The sound of waves lulls you into a surreal glassy stare, You

And last, but by no means least, the overall effect of literature and land rooted in one space in time takes its toll. I'm lost in awe at the Galle Literary Festival and ever so lucky to have said 'yes ... I'll take the normal road.' How else could I truly appreciate this without seeing all the turns along the way.



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