Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunsets, iPods and deviled shrimps


This afternoon, the Travelife team wrapped up work at about 530 pm in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with a private cooking demonstration by Sri Lanka’s most famous chef – yes, I cooked deviled shrimps with the same master chef who has prepared dinners for presidents and royalty -- and a food-tasting afterwards. It was a fitting and fun end to a week of nonstop travel, lots of hard work and certainly a grueling schedule, but also amazing fun. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work with these five guys, and – in spite of the hectic days – there’s so much laughing involved that even hard work doesn’t seem like too much work. I’m glad this is just the beginning of many trips around the world for Travelife’s TV team.

Walking the beach at sunset

At 530 pm we all went our separate ways just to chill out until dinner. I toyed with the idea of hitting the saree stores (again!), but Sri Lanka’s golden beach and magical waves, and the amazing sunset it promised, beckoned. We’re staying at the historic Mount Lavinia Hotel, which has a marvelous wide beach that is the only private beach in the entire country. And it was just a few steps away.

So I put on a sundress and with my iPod and Blackberry headed down to the beach just in time to see the sun set majestically over the Indian Ocean. Few things in life are more poetic than a beautiful sunset, and such a scene really induces contemplation. Especially with nice music playing on the iPod. I can't tell you how happy and alive this experience made me feel.

Thank goodness for music

On this trip, I found myself listening to three songs I’d hardly ever listened to before. We had very long and almost maddening driving trips all across Sri Lanka on one-lane roads where the saving graces had been the team’s good humor and the 1000 songs on my iPod. Many of these songs I’d downloaded so long ago and never even listened to; but on this trip, I’d had so much time to think about things and listen to songs so I discovered a couple of songs I realized I really liked. Typical me – I listened to them over and over again, and will continue to do so until I tire of them. So far, so good. These songs were: Crazy For This Girl by a duo called Evan and Jaron, who I’d never even heard of, but this song had found its way to my iPod; It’s Over by Level 42; and Dancing in the Moonlight by Van Morrison. If you’re familiar with any of these songs, you’d know that this is a really strange combination which can only be called eclectic at best.

So these three songs kept me company as I walked the beach at sunset tonight, enjoying the view and powerful waves, and thinking how lucky I am to be in Sri Lanka.

Thankful every single morning

In fact, I couldn’t help but reflect on my life and realize that it’s in a really good place right now. No one’s life is perfect and everything is relative, but my life is almost exactly where I want it to be at this moment – just a few adjustments needed. So far, it’s truly been a life of amazing experiences, interesting encounters, lots of happiness and personal satisfaction – and, yes, wondrous travels.

Admittedly, there’s not much sleep involved when you’re up at 630 am every morning to start working all day, out every night to dinner or some event, and then awake way past midnight to write a blog before turning the lights out; but each and every day is a marvelous day full of wonder and excitement. No kidding and no exaggerations. And there is not one morning I take this good fortune for granted. I wake up every morning thinking how lucky I am to be mostly living the life I really want. Not too many compromises and just a few things left on my wishlist -- which shall be kept confidential for now.

Most romantic setting in Colombo

Then, just to round off a pretty amazing day of hard work, lots of saree purchases, a private cooking lesson with Sri Lanka’s top chef and a beautiful sunset, we were invited to an al fresco dinner by our hosts on the terrace of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, with a sparkling view of the hotel in the background and Colombo’s golden beaches in front of us. This has to be the most romantic setting in Colombo, and it was a fitting end to a wonderful week traveling this exotic country.

One for the road, by the beach

We have a really early start tomorrow (4 AM!) as we fly out of Colombo to Bangkok, so tonight, most of the team excused themselves pretty early to get a headstart on packing. However, M and I sat around a bit longer to discuss the events of the day. Just as we were ending, Mount Lavinia Hotel’s marketing manager came over with an invitation from the general manager to have a nightcap at his apartment in the hotel. We agreed to drop by and were so glad we did. He and his wife lived in a beautiful apartment on the lower floor of the hotel, and it had the most incredible location opposite the beach. We relaxed on his terrace as musicians played and waiters plied us with lemon and mint cocktails. If only we didn’t have the early start for Bangkok tomorrow, we would probably have stayed around and waited for the sun to rise.

But tomorrow is another marvelous day and we're off to another gorgeous hotel and amazing dinner in another exciting city -- but this time it's Bangkok. Just another day in our never-ending and never-endingly eventful TRAVELIFE. Good night from beautiful Sri Lanka.

The Travelife team gets a private cooking lesson

with Sri Lanka's most famous chef



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