by Amy Kennett
Sri Lanka is filled with warmth, from the tropical air to the freshly baked rotis. The warmth seeped into the rolls of film I brought back, the shots all drenched in pink daydream hues and golden light, perfectly capturing our two weeks on this teardrop shaped island. Shooting on a busted old Ricoh matched the feel of the place; everything old but working, simple but beautiful.
Our trip was spent mostly in the south and central regions, but we crossed landscapes that changed drastically before us. Cities bustling with that South East Asian energy, littered with colonial remnants and architectural influence; long, stretches of idyllic coastline dotted by smaller fishing towns; expansive mountain ranges of the hill country. Although each area is unique, the locals are all filled with the same genuine hospitality and warmth, so much so that even the tuk-tuk drivers are smiling.
One such tuk-tuk driver befriended us on our first afternoon in Galle, charming us with his lopsided smile and quirky English. He surprised us with his generosity and deep love for his home, showing us around on his own time. We caught a glimpse of the city through the eyes of a local; stopping at backstreet markets and small temples, ending up at his private sunset spot – a quiet rocky outcrop overlooking the harbour. Here, he shared his life with us, his voice floating out over the water as we watched the fishing boats pull in and the sky fade into dusky tones. Before taking us home we shared a meal at his friend’s bustling restaurant, and although we were clearly the only foreigners, we were loudly welcomed as old friends.
We found this openness and love for country everywhere through the rest of our trip: with local children as they patiently taught us scatterings of Sinhala, with the elderly ladies who offered us in for tea as they gossiped on their front porch, with the temple boys who let us hand-craft decorations for the arrival of the Prime Minister, and with the mothers we cooked meals alongside and fathers who opened their homes.
These are some of our moments.