There and Back Again

After the FOSS Fair events on Sunday, me, Suchetha and Sanjaya went to meet Rasmus and Sam Ruby, returning from their trip to Habarana, Minneriya and Sigiriya. David Axmark's flight was somewhat early in the evening, and the plan was for him to directly return to the Airpot. We met Sanjeewa Wijerathne and Rasmus at the Airport Garden hotel. The discussion over the dinner was quite amusing. There were some interesting comments about Slackware from Rasmus, which Suchetha didn't like of course, such as `Slackware is dying', `I have five years ahead of you for not using Slackware' (during a discussion about each one's age), and `like slackware?' in reply to a comment about a dying nation... ;-) It was very unfair for all of us at the table to bash a singled out Slacker, but I am sure everyone, including Suchetha, enjoyed the whole affair, and there wasn't anything personal. The matter came to a climax when Sam Ruby, who joined us after the dinner, commented in a mild serious tone `What's Slackware, we don't hear about it' and added that he used to hear many good things about Slackware years ago, but that has ceased lately. We bid farewell to Sam and Rasmus, and drove straight to Suchetha's place. It was a very scenic setting by the Bolagoda lake. After weeks of hard work, we crashed and slept tight, and woke up quite refreshed. After enjoying a fabulous breakfast prepared for us by Suchetha's mother, we made a relatively early start towards Kandy. The journey was pleasant and the drive was nicer with less traffic. Sanjaya was fast asleep at the back, while Suchetha and myself had a conversation which wondered all over the place. At once point, we started singing. In fact, we managed to sing `Mage Raththaran Helena' to completion, and a variant followed. Later we started a bit of `Panamure' as a part of an elephant discussion, but neither of us was successful at coming up with any more song suggestions. We met Greg Stein and Bruce Momjian at Kandy, had lunch at Senani, which was high up at Rajapihilla Mawatha with a great view of the city. Greg and Suchetha had a lot in common to talk about, and the discussion over lunch was a lot of education for the rest of us... :-) In the evening, we went to see a cultural dancing show at `Avanhala'. It was nicely done as a pleasant mixture of all three variants of Sri Lankan dance and music. At the end was a fire walking session. After the show, Sanjaya insisted that he wanted to try out fire walking himself, as he had done it few times before. But as the fire they had setup there was much hotter than a typical session, he took our advice not to go ahead. However, we made friends with the organizors, who turned out to be somewhat neighbours during our long stay in Kandy years ago, and one of them gave us the news of a funeral of a close aquaintance of ours in Ampitiya that took place on the very same day. Then we visited Dalada Maligawa in good time for 'Tewawa', the ritual of offering sounds. Among many things and people we showed Greg and Bruce was the old gentleman who was playing `Horanewa' for decades as his `Rajakariya' (King's duty). When the LTTE bombed the Maligava (which me and Sanjaya witnessed few minutes afterwards as we were in Kandy at that time) he was known to be performing the morning ritual. He has been thrown yards away by the bomb, but it is said that he picked up the horn (Horanewa) and completed the Thewawa in the midst of everything. The King's dury is generally taken very seriously. Greg and Bruce got a chance to peek inside the inner chamber as it was the time for the evening offering. We also went to the library of ancient books at Paththirippuwa and I showed Greg the place the King used to judge his subjects. Suchetha accompanied Greg and Bruce back, while I went to the funeral house with Sanjaya. It was nice to see some old places there, despite the sadness of the occation. After dropping Sanjaya at IFS, I joined Suchetha and Greg in the midst of a merry discussion. Our topics were very diverse, but we rarely got to anything technical. Next morning, Suchetha and myself joined Bruce for breakfast and afterwards Bruce went on to do some shopping. We followed with Greg later, and in the city I got a parking ticket, and one of my tires was loosing pressure. So I drove Greg and Suchetha to join Bruce at the place where he was shopping and returned to Kandy, paid the fine, got my driving license back and pressurized the tyres. After a couple of hours drive, I joined the others at Pinnawala elephant orphanage for lunch. The elephants were out for bathing, and we had a good view of all the hapennings from the table. It was interesting to watch one elephant that was chained to a rock in the river (probably due to violence induced in elephants in mating seasons) `learned' how to remove the chain from the connection and set itself free. However, this didn't create any dangerous sitation. A farewell dinner was sponsored by OpenWorld at the `Vadiya' seafood restaurant of the Mount Lavinia Hotel. After some tedious driving towards oncoming traffic with lots of lights, we joined Sanjiva and Shahani (Mrs Sanjiva), Deepthi and two others from OpenWorld. One thing I hated was the killing and cooking of sea animals right there, which I had seen only once before at a Chinese restaurant at San Fransisco. After the dinner, we bid farewell to Bruce and Greg. We also briefly met Himira, my group mate at the University and great contributor to the LK-LUG behind the scenes. I came back to my lodgings around the midnight, completely exhausted by weeks of work followed by a nice trip, and of course looking forward to work the next day.

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