The Not Trip to Knuckles & War Heroes Weekend

Last weekend we had planned a trip to hike the Knuckles range, a mountain range in Sri Lanka in the shape of a human set of knuckles. It never happened.

After a gridlock inducing mind numbing journey that should have been 10 minutes but was instead 1 hr to get to the train station, we bought our train tickets in anticipation of a fantastic weekend of hiking.

After waiting half an hour for our train, we stepped on to find crowded standing room only, no lights, and no fans. We weren’t quite in the mood to make the 4 hour schlep so instead just gave up. (It was much easier). Knuckles will be one more thing in Sri Lanka that won’t be worth effort of me seeing.

Last weekend was a bit hellish mostly due to the fact it was the 4 year anniversary of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. The government proclaimed it “War Heroes” weekend and organized a massive parade on Galle Face Green.

A few days before I had gone running up Marine Drive. It made for one of the more interesting runs of my life, as first navy numerous patrol boats moved by going north, followed by squadrons of military jets and helicopters and finally a mock paraded even including paratroopers landing on galle face green (an impressive feat).

Apparently one of those patrol boat capsized and one of the sailors died. From my earlier experiences with the Sri Lankan navy on Mannar, where their drain plug on their skiff came undone and water started flooding the space where the engine was (a converted lawn mower engine), and the skipper started whittling the wooden plug down so he could jam it back in the hole, I don’t have much faith in the Sri lankan navy.

Galle face green was totally blocked to all access. I had the curious satisfaction of helping a lost tourist navigate her way to the train station. It’s neat to be able to help someone, especially in a friendly manner. Many times when you ask for directions here you have to be wary of who you are asking because they may have unsavory intent.

Well, I’m sure the actual parade didn’t disappoint, but I was in no hurry to see it.