Awesome old temples, gorgeous beaches, bustling cities and jaw-dropping wildlife. Sri Lanka has it all. But if there is one thing about this tropical island that will stick with you the most, it is the heart-warming smiles you’ll receive from the islanders.
It doesn’t matter if you walk down the street, get a ride in a three-wheeler, buy something in a shop, or visit one of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful monuments. Everywhere you go, you are greeted with a broad smile. Believe it or not; Sri Lankans even receive their parking - or speeding ticket from the police wearing a smile.
At first the smile might be preceded by a curious look. But it’s like the song made famous by Louis Armstrong ‘When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles at you’: the smallest grin or nod of your head will be rewarded with a huge inviting smile.
No doubt they’ll want to have an innocent chat with you next. Because Sri Lankans just love to make conversation; often using elaborate hand gestures to illustrate their story. ‘Where are you from?’ or ‘Where are you headed?’ are probably the preferred opening sentences. And there is always that reassuring smile that it’s ok no matter what the answer.
What is it that Sri Lankans have to smile about? Sri Lankans believe that all things are connected. Their well-being is inextricably linked with your well-being, that the one necessarily must ensure the other in order to exist itself. Same as the traditional welcome Ayubowan - by which they wish you a ‘long life’ - a friendly smile goes a long way and in the end will benefit all.
So while you’re here, collect as many ‘Sri Lankan smiles’ as possible! It truly is the best souvenir to take home with you.