To Sri Lanka, which I feared would be like India and hoped would not. And my hopes have been fulfilled. Of course after barely two days it may be too soon to tell, but my feeling is that the people are a lot less fatalistic. There certainly are fewer of them.

I’m here to do some training, but that doesn’t start until tomorrow. So today I had the opportunity to visit one of the community projects we work with, in the south of the country. I won’t write too much about that now as I plan to make a story of it for work. But one huge surprise occurred when I woke up this morning. For an 8 am rendezvous with my guides I had dutifully set the alarm for 6.30. But when it went, the day seemed strangely bright outside. I seemed to recall, having checked the weather last week, that sunrise was at about 7 am.

So I turned on the TV, but the stations that displayed the time all seemed to be Indian, which is half an hour ahead. Confused, I sheepishly phoned the front desk. It was 7.30.

I jumped into my clothes, abandoned the idea of breakfast, grabbed my stuff and made it downstairs just in time. Ahead lay a bum-bruising three hour ride in a newish pickup with totally shot seat springs, and an enchanting visit with the women of Dodanduwa. But that, as they say, is another story.

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