Stepping out onto a busy Sri Lankan street means entering a new and exciting world of maximum stimulation of your senses. Your eyes, ears and nose will be overwhelmed by the loud traffic, the busy pedestrians, the aroma of foods, and the rest of this whirlwind of colour and chaos. Being outside is not just a necessity to move from A to B; it is an adventure that will capture your soul.
While zigzagging the crowded pavements, the animated talks between pedestrians are drowned out by the rush of passing vehicles. Nearby, the ear-splitting sound of a school bell signifies the end of a day. Children dressed in bright, white uniforms run into the crowded streets. The hot sun shines down on the island, not bothering its people in the least.
A quick glance at the shops that fill the Sri Lankan streets show the diversity of these businesses. One little street can hold countless stores, ranging from small restaurants selling rice and curry, to luxury designer outlets. Little booths and bicycles sell lottery tickets to hopefuls in search of a million rupees. Radiant fabrics and clothes, flapping in the wind, hang from a small stall. The salesman yells laabai laabai or cheap cheap to attract more customers
Food is everywhere
Food is everywhere. The scent of local cuisine fills the air. Directly ahead, a street vendor tirelessly sells his tasty snacks to parked cars and passing pedestrians. A shop nearby advertises the deliciousness of their lunch packets, urging hungry shoppers to stop by for a meal. Across the street, a luxurious restaurant opens its doors. The mouthwatering aroma causes an uncontrollable rumbling of the stomach.
A sea of impatient commuters indicates that there is a bus stop a bit further down the street. The sight of a fearless bus, hooting like a maniac, to create some space in busy traffic seems unforgettable, but is in fact an everyday phenomenon. Scattered amongst the cars are the coloured tuk tuks, three-wheeled taxis, named after the distinctive sound they produce.
Buzzling everyday life
A walk along the streets of Sri Lanka offers a glimpse into the buzzling everyday life on this island. Just go with the flow, dive into the chaos and after a while you’ll come to understand there is a system, a routine, a set of unspoken rules that guides all those out there. Sri Lankan streets: it is the experience of a lifetime.