1. One word: BEACH
I’d say no matter where on the island you are, a beach is less than an hour away as the crow flies (two hours for the Sri Lankan crows… they stop for everything). The beach is everywhere- either it’s down your lane or a left from the next junction. Morning swim? Of course! Midnight skinny dipping? Go for it! Just remember to dust off the sand before getting home.
2. Seafood restaurants
Seafood restaurants are pretty much Sri Lankan culture. Our Lankan entrepreneurs are rather innovative with their locations so your meals can be enjoyed in front of the ocean (if you want to eat in front of your meals’ family), and also at tiny kades in towns nearing the coast. Oh, these are everywhere … like the little hermit crabs you find in your bikini bottom.
3. Thambili (King Coconut)
Now this is one of our special secrets. The water from the King Coconut is basically guaranteed to cure hangovers, tummy aches, dehydration…my guess is, it’s probably straight from the fountain of youth. The orange colour fruits of heaven are so accessible that they are our first go-to substitute for water.
4. The perfect winter
Where’s winter in a tropical country you ask? The Hill Country of course. Full of tea pluckers, giving you their ‘come hither’ toothy grins – okay not ‘come hither’ – and bright clothing, surrounded by rows and rows of tea plantations, topped with the perfect degree of coldness. With horse riding, paddle boating, and beautiful flowers throughout the entire year; it’s our very own England!
Rambutans, coming to a pavement near you! Disclaimer: Only once a year.
To get to the juicy goodness that lies inside, you just have to get through the furry outer layer. It’s like Pringles; once you pop, you can’t stop. You usually end up dripping the juice all over you and having furry bits stuck in your teeth from trying to bite it open, but hey… it’s all worth it.
6. Juice Bars
There’s something about freshly squeezed juice that makes us just as happy as seeing a chilled beer on a hot day. In the tropic, we’re blessed to have all types of fruits, so we actually know where bananas come from! Seriously though, we have all sorts of juices and it’s usually made out of fresh fruits with no sugar.
The only time spreading your legs is not met with disapproving-aunty faces. Worn widely by men and women, these one-piece Sri Lankan-copyrighted fashion trends offer an instant cooling system from the bottom and of course, it’s very easy to take off in a hurry.
8. The constant Vitamin D… at least before 10am
You get to wake up to a dose of Vitamin D every morning and just feel the nutrition going into your skin. Mostly because the sun will burn you alive regardless what time of day it is. The only saving grace is that you don’t have to gulp down those horrid tablets.
9. Instagram clichés
You are bound to be the travel photographer of the year among your followers on Instagram with beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Every single day. Each sunset is worthy of a picture; every row of palms is certain to make you feel like you are in the jungle somewhere even if you just took a snap of five trees in the middle of the city.
10. Rain day! (Also known as ‘our house is flooding’)
This is the island equivalent of ‘our house is snowed in’. Basically the moment the water starts pouring in, you can just call in sick or not go to school because your canal has flooded or your car is 3m deep in water. So if you’ve been hearing heavy rain from 4am and it’s still raining a 7am, you can conveniently turn around and go back to sleep. Unless a cricket team is losing; then they just carry on and blame the rain.
11. Exclusive beachwear
You already know we wear flip-flops everywhere, and I mean everywhere – at home, to the store, to a friend’s place, to work, to parties and of course, to the beach. They now come in all different colours and patterns so we’ve started having a ‘home’ pair, ‘casual’ pair and a ‘formal’ pair.
12. The heat of a caveman’s wonderland
The win in this is that we use the sun as an excuse to simply not do things. “But it’s too hot,” “but I can’t function,” “but I’ll get sunburned.” Thank you, heat, for letting me laze around at home and preserve my energy.
13. Local vacations
We say we have seasons, rain and no rain for the most part, but we actually don’t bother to account for it when planning a vacation. Wait… I said ‘plan’. Wrong word. Usually it’s on a whim of someone saying ‘I’m bored, let’s go down south’ and off we go, while long Poya weekends call for a definite trip to just about anywhere.
14. Exotic (say it with a sultry tone)… Ex…o…ti…c
From time to time you’re allowed to play the exotic card, okay? If you are from an island, whether it’s Sri Lanka or Greenland, you just feel exotic. It’s all about culture, languages, colours, and wild animals that you don’t find even in large, overrated parts of the world. Plus, these words make for fancy hashtags.