Over an hour before the sun was to rise above the horizon of the Indian Ocean in Sri Lanka, Alexander and Stefan Kreis were preparing their equipment for the journey that lay ahead of them. “Our goal of the day was to reach the mining area in late afternoon. For this, we had to leave early and meet up with friends who were to come with us. In remote areas such as these, the English language isn’t of any help. You need someone to translate from Sinhalese to English,” explains Alexander Kreis.
The roads ranged from very good to improvised stretches of dirt. “Usually, the main streets are in fairly good condition. It is only when we left the main road that it became a stretch of dirt,” says Stefan Kreis.
However, vegetation occasionally growing into the road, made it hard to spot oncoming traffic.
Also, many drivers drive where they find space. Slower vehicles, such as Tuk-Tuks, will be overtaken by any chance possible. Even if that means that two cars on each site overtake the Tuk Tuk at the same time. It doesn’t matter how many lanes a road has. “This driving style forces buses to honk before driving into a curve. It is a warning signal for other drivers who might have chosen to drive on the wrong side of the road out of convenience. And yes, that the vegetation grows into the street and reduces the visibility doesn’t help either,” expands Alexander Kreis.
the rural site of it all
When traveling to Sri Lanka one will find little shops for food alongside the roads. This is even more obvious outside the city of Colombo. Many families, especially in more rural areas, have several streams of income and often put great importance on the organic production of food. Thus, it is common for people to have a little shop directly at the street and an adjacent field, or garden right behind it. The fruits they sell are usually from the area and many are grown by themselves. “The taste of the fruits is very intense. Much more so than in Germany. They are sweeter I think,” says Alexander Kreis.
The villages in a rural area are typically nestled into the vegetation as the picture shows. “It is as if one is reaching a little oasis. The people have created their own little world in the middle of the jungle,” says Stefan Kreis.
[A shop outside the city of Colombo in Sri Lanka – Picture by KREIS]
[A village in the mining area – Picture by KREIS]