The monsoon arrived last week in Sri Lanka. It had been overcast for days, no sun, and raining on and off. It had been building up to this of course, but the previous past two weeks had been fine albeit with regular pregnant rain showers. The Monsoon actually made landfall in Bombay three weeks ago and has been tantruming and showering its way East ever since. It marked its full arrival in Sri Lanka by being moody and petulant; the garden birds sullen, the Ocean rough and disturbed, and the Fishing Boats have been erratic in their catch. One local, a boy of 18, has been drowned and is unfound a mile off the coast when a rigger capsized, and since then the waves have become even more unpredictable. Seven were rescued, and the local Temples have been festooned in white in mourning for a truly Lost Boy. Women have wailed, while local Monks remain stoic, and the Father drinks. He has nothing left but daughters now, and he is ruined. The Fishermen stay at home, annoying their wives and disturbing harmonious lives. Deprived of nets, and hooks, and the stench of rotting fish, they instead watched the World Cup until 6am and drink too much Arrack. Ocean swells have been replaced with Hangovers. Diets change from Mahe Mahe and Tuna to Mutton and Goat, and sometimes even those are the same. It has been time now for me to pack. I bear north-east to Mongolia for the summer, the Siberian grasslands and long evenings out with the horses, swapping Ocean Spray for Arctic Rivers.
Along the River Tuul, Mongolia
Despite the distance, both Sri Lanka and Mongolia are Buddhist, giving me much food for thought about the Monks who centuries ago spread their beliefs. Even as a seasoned traveller myself, I am impressed. Asia is very large, even with aircraft, and ipods and departure lounges, and flight attendants with ice cream desserts and lipstick shades named "Vermillion Blush". My personal studies this summer, gleaned from old and yellowing and musty aromatic books purchased on ebay from extinct libraries; partially destined to be read in deserts and grasslands, will be about those ancient explorers, who travelled so far to spread their word of spiritual enlightenment and learn about the ultimate human destiny from the esoteric mysteries of Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is a long way from Sri Lanka’s Monsoon to the Siberian Steppes. But in many ways, as the famous Bangkok market t-shirts state: "Same-Same, But Different". I shall report on the Mongolian summer months and the work I shall be doing on researching and updating my book, and I shall also be helping out with the Snow Leopard Trust. Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and ancient Silk Road ruins, awaits, and I have heard its call amongst Sri Lanka’s angry, Monsoon whipped surf, drumming a tattoo message out on the wind swept beaches for me to return North.