Tara Nanayakkara

Driving in Sri Lanka

Driving in Sri Lanka is not for the faint of heart. When motorists decide to force a two lane road into a five lane thoroughfare by cramming as many vehicles as possible into old narrow streets, when the symphony of blaring horns and the roar of speeding motorcycle zip past, you pray you’ll survive to tell the tale. That is unless you have a capable driver who apparently doubles as a tour guide. Wasn’t expecting that — really.

When we made arrangements to hire a driver for our ten day stay in Sri Lanka we had no idea the places we would go and the things we would see. As they say, the best laid plans... sure we were looking forward to taking an overnight trip to Kandy, in Sri Lanka’s low country. Of course we had planned to see a elephant orphanage, visit a tea factory and spend the night in a colonial style hotel. That was OUR itinerary — or so I assumed. It seems our driver had other ideas. Dilhan, a lovely young father of four with a heart of gold and eyes full of compassion devises that we need to take a few side trips. How about a delightful tour of a working Ayurvedic herb garden where we could purchase cocoa powder fresh from the cocoa pod, vanilla beans straight from the plant not to mention a host of other plant based elixirs for what ails you;. touring the grounds of Trinity college, a posh private school and showing us where to get the best deals on saris and cushion covers.

Being driven in Sri Lanka is a privilege not to be taken for granted, but a true gift from the brave of heart.