Thursday into Friday,
School ends and Kris and I catch a cab, not waiting until the next morning to leave town after a long and brutal third term in the middle school. Exit row to Doha, ah, where we part, him to Thailand me to Sri Lanka. The layover is short and spent with other colleagues headed to my same destination. Sleep on the plane and morning finds me in Colombo, where customs goes easy, and a cab, equally so, transports me to the public bus station to be on my way to Galle.
My driver is Daya, a man somewhere around my age who asks if I might want to pay the toll on the expressway to save an hour and much traffic. For and extra $2… He reminds me that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. Most think it is Hindu being nearly attached to the southeast point of India. We talk religion and he leaves me with the phrase “Free of Mind.” “If only,” I think.
Daya deposits me at the Maragama Bus Station in Colombo where in the rush we say a short farewell. He hands me his card should our paths cross in the future. I stand in line for the express bus to Galle, an hour and a half to the south. People wait patiently under the sun, many with umbrellas. Buses come every ten minutes. What seats are available are quickly filled and the bus roars off. A guava seller wheels his cart quietly along the line, selling a few. I get on the third bus, find an aisle seat near the front, pay my fare of a few dollars for this air-conditioned express bus, and fall asleep.