We-my German wife Kay, my fourteen-year old daughter and I- were waiting at Colombo Airport in Sri Lanka for the taxi to arrive. It was really our first experience with the way things worked there, and let’s just say that after two hours of waiting we were less than impressed.
While waiting we mingled with a swarm of Sri Lankan children who were apparently waiting for their mother to get off work. There were one or two small boys, somewhere between five to eight young girls between the ages of seven and fourteen who all looked alike, and a young man of about sixteen who was sure he was in charge. All of the girls were very interested in my wife and daughter; specifically, their sandy blond hair. Each of them made it clear with hand signals that they needed to take 14 pictures at least with both of them, separately and both together. This took a while.
To kill the time while killing time, the boy informed me in very poor English that if I liked one of the girls, I could just take her with me.
Knowing what I know now, after six weeks on the island, away from the cozy safe arms of a starred resort, I should have led my family back into the airport to board a plane for anywhere.
Sri Lanka needs help. Badly.