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A Stranger Among Us

14232647_1449881988372335_6502948759817740768_nFew Americans ever make it to Colombo, the main port of Sri Lanka and the hottest place I’ve ever been in my life.  Within ten minutes of setting foot on dry land I felt as if I was going to literally melt and disappear between the cracks in the sidewalks.

But the coastal heat serves to make escape from it that much more liberating.  Once you head up into the hills, the air turns deliciously cool and you find yourself in a sea of luminescent green, surrounded by resplendent tea plants stretching to the edges of the horizon.

The local bus, on which I had bought a ticket for one dollar (only to discover later that I’d overpaid by 500%), lumbered slowly up the mountainous roads, passed by everything with an engine while barely passing pedestrians and donkey carts itself.  After an hour and a half, we pulled over and everyone started filing out.

“Are we there?”  I asked another passenger.

“No,” he replied.  “We are stopping for tea.”

15 minutes later, the passengers slowly began wandering back.  No one was in a hurry.  We sat calmly on the bus a while longer before it started plugging back up into the hills.

Click here to read the whole essay from this month’s The Wagon Magazine.