Termites, Traffic Lights and Peppered Pineapple

Still no internet but Tuesday looms even closer.  We still have no fridge, but a small portable fridge, a bit bigger than a cool box and such as you would keep in the back of a car.

Sumitra and I have had to be really economical in our supermarket shopping and plan for the next couple of days sharing the small space the portable fridge affords us.

We are all at the Pelawatta house now, Sunday October 9th, and disorder and make-do are how we are living.    Jaia, son’s father-in-law, is the only one who is not discommoded.  He rises and goes for his walk, now around a different route and showers when he returns.  He then went out with son to buy breakfast for himself and Sumitra.   Earlier the son and I each had a bowl of Flahavan’s porridge oats which I had cooked at 7am on the outside two-ring cooker.  The gas cooker is Prestige, brand new with a glass top so very easy to clean.

I am lost without the wifi and will probably be able to post this blog up when we go up to the daughter-in-law’s sister’s house tomorrow evening.   We are invited for string hoppers and hoppers.  Details of these at a later stage.

I got really excited when two young very smartly dressed men arrived as they had what I thought was the Sri Lankan telecom logo printed in green on their immaculate black polo tops.  However, as usual, I had got it completely wrong and these were pest control men.

Pests! what pests was I about to hear of next, I wondered?  I know about the wild monkeys, the snakes, mosquitoes, squirrels and the geckoes.   Now it was termites?

The lads were here to prevent an invasion of termites.  Termite treatment is done to all properties.  How many termites does Sri Lanka play host to?  A quick log on and check with wikipedia tells me there are harvester termites, drywood termites, subterranean termites and higher termites and a multiple list in each of those species.  I don’t know which particular species the boys in black were after but they had apparently been here before when they spread the first dose of whatever it is they use.

The lads drilled holes at strategic points in the property and through the brand new, and newly laid floor tiles!  They poured what seemed like gallons of water, mixed with their protective additive, through the holes and are due to make a return visit when the groundworks in the patio sections have been completed.

On to traffic lights.  There are multiple sets of traffic lights here and as I have mentioned before, the traffic, apart from Saturday afternoons and Sundays when many people are not working, is consistently heavy.

Particularly if you live in the UK you would be used to a line-up of cars waiting impatiently at traffic lights for the lights to change from red to amber to green.  Accelerators would be tapped in the mini-seconds waiting for the lights to change and it would be a race to see who was first off the grid or who could beat the neighbouring car out of the traps.   Tempers flare and blood pressure is raised if the inside car overtakes the one on the right and it is a dog-eat-dog situation.

It’s a lot different here as each set of multiple traffic lights is accompanied by an overhead second counter which displays how long you have to wait until the lights change.  It’s a great idea because each lane of traffic is completely aware of how long they will have to wait and pedestrians too have their own illuminated second counter.    No lost tempers, revving of engines as everyone is fully informed as to how long before their lane will move.

Peppered Pineapple

I can’t eat spicy food, so when eating out always ask for no spice please.  Pepper is not really a spice, or is it?  Anyway the food might be non-spicy but it is always liberally sprinkled with pepper.   Non-spicy omelettes I have eaten in the hotels here on other visits are heavily laden with pepper and even the soft white rolls filled with egg, tomatoes and lettuce we have been eating for breakfast at the cafes along the road also have a thick layer on pepper.  There is always, always a thick layer of pepper.

It wasn’t a thick layer but I wondered what on earth was the black stuff on the beautiful pale pineapple we were served at dinner the other night.  It was of course pepper and I couldn’t believe anyone would spoil such beautiful fruit this way.  However, that is how they eat pineapple here – covered in pepper.  I provided great entertainment for the daughter-in-law’s nieces last Friday night when I used my napkin to wipe the pepper off the perfectly ripe pineapple.




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