I played the Sri Lanka lottery today and won!
Within 30 seconds after getting off the bus in Gaul, a bird pooped on my shoulder. As many of my close friends know, I’m not a big fan of birds. Here is another reason why. After I cleaned my self up I walked past a booth that I have seen in other cities in Sri Lanka. I went to investigate and found out it was their lottery.
The booths are shaped like penguins and the top portion of the head swivels to open or close the booth. I man stands in the small booth and sells scratch tickets and lottery tickets which are nailed to a wood board.
Written in pencil on a note pad that is displayed next to the tickets was last weeks winning numbers. The man sells and redeems the tickets only with cash.
Since the bird crap might have been good luck I asked for two tickets. They cost 20 Rupees each and I started scratching away. I won 20 Rupees on both tickets! Even though I won, I’m still not a fan of birds. Now 40 Rupees is the equivalent to 40 cents in the states, so I’m not retiring anytime soon. So I bought two more. Losers! Great now I’m down 40 cents!
A Sri Lankan man, who was standing next to me while I was scratching, told me that the lottery raises money for tsunami relief. With much of the government corrupt and none of the lottery tickets computerized, I wonder if any of the money actually makes it to any relief work. I really hope so.
My actual goal today was to find a USB cord for my camera since I left my card reader in Colombo. I was desperate to download my already shot images. I have a shoot tomorrow at a school and I need the space.
I asked the man at the lottery stand if there was a place in Gaul that sold cameras, radios, tv’s etc. He said, “yes” and he started off down the street. I followed him. Minutes later we ended up at a shop, but they didn’t have any USB cords. We went to three other places until we came across the very simple cord. He was asking $20 dollars for it, which is very expensive for Sri Lanka money and expensive for Americans back home. I talked him down to $10 and was happy with that.
Anytime anybody helps you here you have to automatically assume they want money. They’re nice people but they also want to get paid. I slipped the man who helped me 150 Rupees and said thank you for his help. He said he didn’t want my money. He then asked, if I could buy him something very important.
He told me about his daughter who was in the hospital with esophagus issues. Her throat will not open at times and doctors are trying to help her. He said she needed powdered milk and said it’s over here in one of the stores. He took me there and I realize it was baby formula.
The formula cost about 1,000 rupees, which is very expensive for the average Sri Lankan. For Americans it’s about 10 bucks. I believed his story. Most people tell a sad story about the tsunami. However this guy had something all together different. Either way I purchased it for him. I asked if I could take his photo and he said, “yes” with a smile. When I was about done he flashed me the peace symbol. He was very happy man.
My bird stained shirt and I jumped back on the bus and headed back to Unawatuna to start downloading images. On my walk through Unawantuna I came across a women who I briefly met yesterday with her friend. (I was getting off the bus and they both directed me towards the town and my guesthouse.) She was taking a private cooking class learning how to cook Sri Lankan food. We talked a bit and she invited me for lunch, and to eat what she was cooking. Annette would be coming by as well. With Sri Lankan food and English speaking company I eagerly agreed.
When I met up with Marieke and Annette, we sat down and had an amazing meal. She was a great cook and they were both great company. They are both from Holland and spoke amazing English. I thought one was from the states her English was so good. We talked about our countries, our travels, politics, wars, Sri Lanka, and everything else.
After the meal we walked over for a few fruit drinks by the ocean and agreed to meet up later for one or four beers, and dinner. We had a lot of fun talking about everything under the sun. I might meet back up with them in a beach town north of Colombo next week.
If they’re reading this post, you guys rock!
At the end of the evening we received the bill and Annette said, “lets go Dutch.” Nothing like going Dutch with some amazing Dutch women.
Defiantly a winning day….