Election Day

I was hoping to go diving again on Tuesday morning, but I woke up too late.  In addition to the normal hoopla, today was the national election.  There was a lot of tension around, both optimistic, and dreadful.  The election was between the current president, and the general who recently finished off the civil war.I had a big breakfast of egg hoppers, and a couple more hoppers filled with spiced onions.  Normally I have been refusing such a large breakfast, because I don’t like going to dive with too much food in my stomach, so with no diving today, the family took the opportunity to stuff my face.

Afterwards, a coalition of old men came by to pick up my Aunt and Uncle to bring them to the voting station.  To give some background, I think my uncle has Parkinson’s disease, and as far as I can tell he hasn’t worked in 15 years.  At first I thought my Aunt was yelling at them that he wasn’t going to go vote, but it quickly became apparent that she didn’t want him to go dressed like that.  She handed him a clean collared shirt, and sarong.  His protests that he could wear his ratty t-shirt, and the same sarong that I think I’ve seen him wear for the whole trip fell on deaf ears.  After he changed, they stuck him on a tuk-tuk (a 3 wheeled taxi) and sent him off.

In a bit Danarathna and I headed off to the beach.  On the way there I asked him if we could swing through the polling station.  After the way this election had been built up over the last couple of days I was expecting an uncontrollable writhing mass of people, angry and polarized.  Instead I found a calm and peaceful line of people, and one local police officer who I thought was military because he was holding a large automatic weapon.  In front of the polling station there was a list of names (maybe 40 in all) each with their own symbol.  Presumably they were all candidates for the presidency.  I think it’s worth noting when they do an election here, everyone takes the day off, as well as the day after.

The rest of the day was spent wandering aimlessly around the beach.  That night, Ranji and I and a couple of his friends drank a bottle of Red Label that I picked up at the duty free section of the airport.  In the background we could hear firecrackers going off in the distance.

January 26, 2010 • Tags:  • Posted in: Vacation

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