Flight delayed. When we arrived Sri Lanka’s Katunayake International Artport, it was 12.30am. After collected our luggages, we headed straight out via arrival hall 1 where we could exchange some Sri Lankan Rupees and order a cab from the prepared taxi booth. Surprise! Non of the bank counters accepted Indian Rupees. “We are now carrying lots of useless cash for nothing!” Alex was pissed. Before we came, we cashed enough Indian rupees for Sri Lanka and thought we would use them here. We then cashed US$100 traveller’s cheque at one of the counter.

At the prepared taxi booth, we ordered a cab (SLR1500) and soon we were escorted by an urgly middle-age Sri Lankan man who only ‘spoke’ to Alex, totally ignored me. Alex and him walked side by side and I followed like a little kitten tailing her mother. The man took and pulled Alex’s trolley bag, asked, “Singapore?” Wah! His guess was so RIGHT… He was the first person we met in these 5 months who hit the jackpot for guessing where we came from, but unfortunately he was also the last person on earth I’m fond of. “Normally people thought we came from Korea.” Alex answered jokingly. “Singapore… Korea?” He couldn’t speak proper sentences. “Malaysia.” Alex replied. “Singapore… Malaysia? Korea?” Neither could he listen properly. Then,  some kind of ‘conversation’ went on between the two. I started to admire Alex’s energy in this ‘early’ morning, she still bothered to entertain this man.

When we arrived at the taxi stand, this man sticked out his black fingers, showed the universal hand-sign of ‘money’ by forming a cone shape with his fingers and rubbing against one another. “Satee? Satee?” He hold tight on the receipt that given by the prepared booth, gave neither to the designated driver nor us. Though we didn’t know what the hell he was taking about, we knew what he wanted. Alex played dumb, I simply pulled a face that sounded like, “don’t you dare ask anything from me!” In this case, India had taught us well. “Support! Support!” He continued with a sickening sleazy face. “We don’t have Sri Lankan money.” Alex said to him at last.

Both of us jumped into the mini van taxi, I called out, “Let’s go, it’s late!” I pointed at my arm where a watch suppose to sit, and shutted the car’s door. We thought the man would go, guess what? He opened the front seat’s door, “Korean… Korean money? Have?” Same old sleazy face and hand sign.

That was… RIDICULOUS! There are many people who don’t consider us (foreign travellers) as the guests of their country. Sometime they even failed to recognized us as individuals with flesh and blood. In their eyes we are just the ‘walking money’ that they think they deserve a part of it.

This man hadn’t done anything that deserved anything. He pulled luggage away from Alex without asking. He couldn’t even speak properly to entertain us. But worst of all, he was very rude when asking for tip. So, at the end, he got nothing from us.

 It was just unfortunate that we had to put up with people like him at this beautiful country when we first arrived.

Jing      

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