Beruwala to Nuwara Eliya – Celebrations in Tea Country
As Dmitry already posted, Sri Lankan presidential elections took place this week. Polls closed at 4pm Thursday. By 8am Friday, the incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa had conceded defeat to his opponent, Maithrepala Sirisena, and vacated the presidential residence. At 6pm Friday (26 hours after polls closed!), Sirisena had been sworn in and announced his new Prime Minister. And by 10am Saturday, as we drove from the beach town of Beruwala to Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s highest peak – many villages had already put up posters of the new president.
We did see a number of latent pictures of former-president Rajapaksa, but many had his face covered with plastic or simply ripped out. I am just astonished by the speed of the democratic process here: the new president is not taking any breaks – he has said that he will name his 25 member cabinet tomorrow (Sunday). If I were him, I would at least take the weekend off.
In addition to watching the new posters go up, we also witnessed many celebratory gatherings and one parade of honking, happy cars and tuk-tuks.
Our journey took us through breathtaking scenery up to Nuwara Eliya, the heart of tea production in Sri Lanka (or, as it was once called, Ceylon).
The tea is usually picked by women, who allegedly have more nimble fingers. My question is: what do the men do?