Welcome to Sri Lanka!

soldier 1

I love the conflict zone ambience!

soldier 2

There are soldiers everywhere…

soldier 3

…wearing different uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

soldier 4

Some were seen at structures like bridges but mostly they’re everywhere – there’s an armed soldier every 100 meters or so.

soldier 5

The car (furnished by Holiday Inn Colombo) had heavily tinted windows at the back, which I wound down to take photos of this interesting phenomenon, much to the consternation of the driver and the Holiday Inn representative. Heh!

soldier 6

It’s like playing I Spy, no wait, like Foto Quest Fishing where you try to take as many photos of different soldiers as you can, preferably in groups.

soldier 7

Congratulations! You’ve just snapped a rare Sri Lankan soldier in desert combat fatigues!

soldier 8

However, it should be noted that most soldiers in Sri Lanka are fond of shouting questions and firing guns with no apparent preference about which order they do this in, so I would exercise caution when taking photos. I’m told the military does not like to be pointed and shot at (even with a digicam).

soldier me

I managed to take one with a decidedly grumpy looking soldier.

soldier last

I also convinced him to let me pose with his rifle. He was apprehensive and put the safety on and won’t let go. I got the impression he was extremely uncomfortable about the whole thing. ;)

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21 thoughts on “Welcome to Sri Lanka!”

  1. Yea, HB. He must be terrifed with the prospect of allowing a foreigner a chance up close with the rifle. ;) I would be grumpy too if I had to stand all day long with firearms.

  2. Cheers: Haha! Touche mate. I imagine standing all day long in the baking sun while carrying a heavy rifle won’t do wonders for my mood too. ;)

  3. cynthia: Haha! Yeah, a man of little words, that one. ;)
    Three cheers for pharmy army! =D
    KY: Heh! Surprisingly, not a single cent. He was with another soldier, the other one took our photo. The dude even gave me his contact and asked me to email him the photo. :)

  4. iyouwe: Sri Lanka is an awesome place! Very laid back culture (despite the military presence) and a surprising mix of different ethnic and religious groups too. :)

  5. hey there,
    waned to go to SL for my upcoming holiday but yeah, dats excatly what my friend told me. the military all over n stuffs. so in the end, we detour to some other destination! but i owuld love to visit Colombo one day… soon.. Cheers.

  6. Cheers: Haha! That’s a Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 offense. ;)
    If you look at the last photo, I actually put pressure on the trigger (even though I didn’t squeeze) – the safety was on, but the good man was so worried. Nice guy though, told me to send the photos to him.
    ZeekNotGeek: Oh, Sri Lanka is an awesome place. The military don’t bother foreigners, they just wave you through when they see you’re not local. They are concerned about domestic terrorism. It’s pretty safe actually. Worth a visit! Cheers! :)

  7. Wow..interesting photos HB. I’m trying to identify some of the guns they are using (AK47? looks like some of them). Looks like they are expecting trouble with so many soldiers posted around the place.
    The corrugated asbestos roof sheets in pic#2 don’t look too nice either. Great shots HB…stay safe. Cheers.

  8. Jeff: Thanks! :)
    Hmm…it doesn’t look like proper AK47s. It seems to be Type 56 (an AK-47 knockoff from China) and some carry Type 81 assault rifles (also from China) – the black ones.
    The civil war with the Tamil Tigers ended earlier this year, so it’s primarily to prevent remnents of the LTTE from doing terrorist acts, at least that’s what I was told. There’s a few incidents here and there since the war just ended recently, but it’s really a nice place to go on vacation to. Cheers! :)
    Michael (Mike): it’s a democratic government, but called “social democracy” which is quite convulated – something about the socialist movement which I don’t even understand myself. :)
    Yeah, it’s perfectly safe for travelling (well, maybe not perfectly, but quite safe) and it only takes 3.5 hours to get there. Cheap food too! :)

  9. Ya….eiling told me you were in Sri Lanka that weekend I was in KL. You must have been “the fairest of them all”! Given a choice, I think I would rather fly back to Sibu… LOL!!!

  10. suituapui: Oh, yeah I remember you came over during the Merdeka day weekend. Missed meeting up with you, catch you next time in Sibu! CNY open house! ;)
    Haha! There were some Caucasian tourists there too but most of them head to Kandy instead of stick around in Colombo. Sri Lanka is a pretty nice place to go though, for the beaches. :)

  11. cool, i will b heading there mid oct. due to work, i hv slashed off 2 days from my initial 9 days trip. did u go out of colombo? if so, tell me mroe about it, that’s where i m heading…polunannwara and kandy for sure.

  12. ktx: Enjoy Sri Lanka! Kandy is a very nice place – about 5 hours from Colombo, give or take an hour. :)
    The local tour operators have very cheap packages to get around Sri Lanka. Have a great vacation! :)

  13. I love Sri Lanka, good memories checking out your pics. I stayed 6 weeks with the Tamil Tigers during ceasefire, that is off the beaten track, but they were very friendly and grateful that a white guy came to stay.
    Unfortunately, they’ll all be cannon fodder by now, along with many of the civillians I met.
    Gov of Sri Lanka is one evil and genuinley racist institution but has a gift at passing off horribly transparent propoganda as fact and noone seems to give a damn.
    Lion Lager!!!

  14. moogi: Nice! That’s awesome! The civil war was over when I got there, so I didn’t get to see any Tamil Tigers. That must have been one hell of an experience!
    The government of Sri Lanka eh? I saw one of the candidates campaigning – the banner was “No alcohol, no cigarretes. Vice free Sri Lanka 2010” or something to that effect. Let’s just say that if he does, I’m not going back. :)

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