After the wedding we moved into a completely different phase of the trip. Marissa and Sagar, instead of having a traditional honeymoon, decided to take 28 of their closest friends (and even family in the case of Sagar’s mum) around Sri Lanka for two weeks. The amount of organisation and work they put into this was incredible, especially on top of organising a wedding. We were all just blown away.
However, the best-laid plans of mice and men…
We had two mini-buses to transport us. The reason behind not having one 54-seater coach became apparent as soon as we got up onto the hill roads! Unfortunately, one bus driver decided he didn’t want to take the other half of our group and left them stranded on the side of the road. While Marissa made frantic phone calls from our bus, our driver suggested we beat the Colombo traffic and wait for the other bus (once there was one) on the outskirts of Colombo.
This turned out to be quite serendipitous, as we stopped outside Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, a beautiful Buddhist temple. It was not an overly touristy place, and everyone we encountered there was just really lovely and not out to get anything in return from us. A nun blessed us, a monk tied a string around my wrist (it’s still there, and not showing any signs of decaying any time soon), and a woman gave me some flowers to offer to the reclining Buddha. Other people just wanted to know where we were from and if we were Buddhist.
*”Serendib” or “Serendip” is the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. The word “serendipity” was coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole, after The Three Princes of Serendip, a fairy tale in which the heroes are always making fortunate discoveries. The word was turning around and around in my head that day, before I ever knew of the connection. How serendipitous is that!