It had become a weekly ritual – a Sunday brunch of burger and fries at an American fast-food joint. My stomach grumbled and I heeded its call for some comfort food. Should I take a tuk-tuk? No. I had to walk for a good reason.
Solvitur ambulando. It is solved by walking. I had always trusted the power of this Latin phrase, and it had never failed me. The week-long break between terms was a month away. Teaching English at SVS had been an awesome experience. Remaining in Colombo for a week without it was just plain wrong. Where could I possibly go?
A change of scenery was a must. Someplace out of the country, perhaps? A cousin had a spare room on another island – Singapore. The plane fare would burn a hole in my pocket, but the free lodging would make it a small one. I should phone her, just to make sure.
The act of walking was leading me to a resolution sooner than I anticipated. The two-kilometre trek would give me time to work out the details. However, staying focused on the task was a challenge. I’ve learnt to dodge the parked cars and to steer clear of uneven pavements.
But the teeming life around me was another matter. The stench of raw fish steaming from the stall of a hole-in-the-wall shop wafted across the street to greet patrons at a pricey Chinese restaurant. It’s a small price to pay for having fresh seafood at one’s beck and call. Come to think of it, Sri Lanka’s coast is dotted with fishing villages and alluring beaches that are waiting to be explored.
Down the road, white-clad matrons descended steps that lead from a Buddhist shrine. The whitewashed walls around the compound could be hiding treasures both sacred and profane. This island is studded with thousands of places of worship from Jaffna to Galle. Even an intrepid traveller like me couldn’t possibly run out of them to visit.
Soon, a fresh breeze from one of Colombo’s lakes sent a slight chill down my sweat-drenched shirt. I imagined the cool air at Ella delivering the same sensation on a cloudless evening. I could see myself unwinding on a veranda like a tuk-tuk driver relaxing in his chariot while waiting for a fare.
My walk was leading me in a different direction. I’ll spend the week by staying put. In Sri Lanka, a change of scenery was just a step or a train ride away. It was solved. Solvitur anbulando – the phrase came to my rescue again.