22 Things to Know Before You Go to Sri Lanka

Originally published on Roads & Kingdoms · June 03, 2016

Sri Lanka = serendipity. Serendipity is not just the name of a New York bakery and a mediocre John Cusack movie. The word serendipity (“happy accident”) came from Serendib, an old name for Sri Lanka. It may be a South Asian cliché, but it’s also a fitting expression for the-happy-go-lucky fatalism that governs life here. Time is elastic. People make grand promises and don’t follow through. Events unfold as the heavens will them. And yet, Sri Lankans try their best to make the stars align in their favor: parents have detailed horoscopes done for their children based on the time of their birth. Wedding dates and job changes are planned in close consultation with astrologers, and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa even set an early election date on his astrologer’s advice. (He lost).

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