For thirty-odd years Sri Lanka was besieged by violence and bloodshed. My hosts tell tales of constant road blocks, and curfews and black-outs to avoid air raids. A wall, that lists the names of people killed during the civil war goes on for as long as the eye can see. By all accounts the last thirty years spent battling the LTTE were some of the most unhappy years of Sri Lanka's long-long life.
And now suddenly, it's over and it seems a little like nobody can quite believe it. They don't know how to deal with a reality where the country has nothing better to do except gear itself up to be the 'miracle of asia'. They look a little bemused as their President marches on a spree of forced development cleaning roads, painting houses and generally beautifying the country once despoiled by bomb blasts. They walk past check-posts-that-used-to-be and wonder why no one is checking their ID's any longer. Armed forces once engaged in brutal combat now run paddle-boat services on lakes. Heavy sea-tankers used to freight war equipment host New Years Dinner & Dance parties ticketed as low as Rs. 1500 a person.
It's interesting, isn't it, how peace sometimes takes as much time to get used to as war does?