Thursday, February 27, 2014

Paan in the Morning!


There are several bakeries near my house. One within walking distance so yesterday I ventured to walk there and get paan (bread) for breakfast.

I was a bit hesitant to walk by the school adjacent to our lane as the little fellows who go there once shouted, ‘Blah blah blah Grannie!’ at me last time I walked by. Grannie! Not even Auntie! I shook my finger at them at said, ‘I’m not your Grannie!’ It appears I was great entertainment for them. Next time I should arm myself with a water pistol and get the little buggars!

It’s typical for people here to address an older person by calling them Auntie, or Uncle. Most people don’t mind it, but I did hear one Sri Lankan man shout at a fellow who had called him Uncle, saying ‘I’m not your Uncle!’ It still takes me aback when someone addresses me as Auntie. I’m not sure what we’d say in the US, but probably, ‘Excuse me, Sir. Excuse me, Ma’am. ‘ Or just plain, Excuse me.’

As for catcalling youngsters, I’d rather hear, ‘Hey you old bat!’ than Grannie!

At the corner of the main road, there’s a hub for three-wheeled taxis; tuk tuks. The drivers sit around playing cards until they get a hire, or simply chatting. They apparently all know where I live as I’m the only foreigner in the neighborhood. I took the old man’s tuk tuk once into Colombo. It’s not the best tuk tuk of the lot; its passenger seat is about as thin as a piece of bread and there are no shocks to soften the bounce over potholes and speed bumps. I asked him to go slow, hemin, and he did. I could have walked to Colombo faster!

I discovered a tailor on the main road, sewing away on his old-fashioned machine. It’s amazing what you see on foot that you completely miss when you’re in a car. Now I know where I can get the cushion cover zippers fixed that have been broken for the last two years!

The bakery usually runs out of bread mid-morning and I got there just in time for one of the last two loaves. Kade paan (shop bread) is just the best bread ever. Not PC 9-grain brown bread made with no flour, but just plain yummy homemade white bread! Lipton will eat ½ a loaf with dahl (a mixture of lentils, onions, curry leaves, hot green chilies, spices and coconut milk), I’ll have one slice with the dalh, if it’s not too spicy. Otherwise it's bread and peanut butter for me.

When I first came to Sri Lanka, I made a stop in Kuala Lumpur. For breakfast the hotel had a buffet. I took what looked familiar and a bit that didn’t. My first bite made me gag! My mouth was on fire. My lips were on fire! People in my group poured water for me, told me to eat sugar. I dumped a spoonful of sugar into my burning mouth. Nothing worked. Only time. But I was wrecked for the day, I couldn’t eat anything. Apparently I had chowed down a spoon full of hot green chilies. After that, anything remotely spicy makes my skin crawl. Sri Lankans like their food spicy, that’s for sure! When we photograph weddings, we are provided dinner, but I usually end up eating just a bit of rice as the rest of the foods are off limits for me!

Too bad because Sri Lankan food is yummy - if it just weren’t so spicy!

The tuk tuk hub and drivers.

The vegetable man on his morning rounds.
He calls out certain vegetable names as he
goes around the neighborhood.

The tailor.

Last two loaves.


Shop girl.

The mobile bread man!
Who plays (loudly) It's a Small World! on loud speaker.
How annoying is that early morning?

The bread man's bread.

Yummy kade paan!


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