The time of travel to Hambantota gets shorter every time. In the meantime the highway is now finished to Matara. Much to our surprise we did not only travel through rubber plantations but also through tea estates, even seeing a tea factory. We had always thought that they only grew tea in the high lands.
Big parts of the highway intersections in Hambantota are already finished and they have cut the landscape into pieces in a somewhat grotesque manner. With the growing number of kilometers of highway, the numbers of fishing boats with sails and rudders as well as oxcarts on the streets are both on the rise as the people can’t afford diesel and petrol anymore.
After the disappointment that none of the full bodied promises of the government have come true, the mood of the people has changed to bitterness. An international airport, a deep sea harbor, a refinery, a cricket stadium and a highway and yet, all that moves within are cows and dogs.
Shortly before our departure a delegation from the opposition party was attacked by a mob (most probably paid) when they wanted to inspect the sites. The mob was chased away. There was a report in the newspaper with a picture of the Hambantota Mayor with a big caliber revolver in his hand. His statement: all was a mistake and a misunderstanding and his weapon a toy pistol ….????