Rain begins to trickle on my face from the trees above me. Without a shield to protect from the elements, I lay naked to nature and its refreshing gifts. I scramble from my hammock to ensure my cell phone and Bluetooth speaker remain dry through the downpour. Huddled in a corner under a tree, I look beyond myself and into the hills of Ella. The hills flow and the clouds hover somewhat as the beauty of Sri Lanka is shown to me. I wait for the rain to disappear and the sun begins to peek from behind the clouds signifying the cleansing has been complete and it’s about time to begin another day on my journey. I fold up my hammock and stow away my cooking supplies all wrapped tightly in their own locations perfectly made to fit into the makeshift luggage I’ve managed to attach to my bicycle. I tie my cycling cleats adjust my helmet and begin another day on my bicycle to journey across the island nation of Sri Lanka. I begin to peddle and roam through the small towns the streets are still calm besides dogs on their own searching to intimidate or play with me as I peddle past them. No shops are open yet and the roads are free I take this time to glide back and forth on both sides of the road not eager to reach a destination or expend myself, instead im just trying to get open. I look down at my phone which I affixed to my bicycle stem and notice that i’m on course for the day, it’s interesting because in actuality I have no real destination in sight instead I just set about today just to head north further into the hills. I want to go deeper into the mountains to see what hides behind all the rocks.
By now I’m in an hour into my ride and my music is loud and pulsating almost like the beat of a drum, I let out the trumpets of Roots Reggae with the parabolic drumbeat of an army of hearts beating to one unison riddim. My reggae though is no match for the humm I hear in the distance. I turn down my speaker to listen more intently. OMMMMMM… I think to myself is this a person or group of people making this sound? I quickly understand it’s a Buddhist temple carved into the side of a hill projecting this mediation sound early in the rising sun for those devoted to the faith. I’ve made it a habit by now to silence myself and music when I pass these holy sites a way to pay reverence to the worshippers. I pass along and my stomach begins to churn. My intermittent fast is ending and now my body asks for fuel. I stop at a Kodi and purchase some Roti’s and caffeinated tea to wake me up and provide me fuel for the continuation of the day. By now I’m used to the stares and the double-takes and I’ve gathered a few Sinhala words in my lexicon to signify to the locals who I am and where I’m from. “Kohomadha” I call out to the older man he responds gleefully one part excited and one part bewildered by who could this mysterious dreadlocked black man be in his country, speaking his language and riding a bicycle. I already came to terms that a sight of myself is quite unique and anyone with eyes would be curious as to what they’re seeing. I chat small and pick up new words and memories to carry me throughout my day.
The sun has shown its face and its rays are absorbed by the melanin of my skin. Yes, its hot but I’ve convinced my mind the sun has become my charging source. With each peddle I climb further into the hills at every peak I stop to admire how far I’ve come and with every descent, I give thanks to the day. My Bluetooth radio is back on and my mind and thoughts have awoken again as I continue my journey on a bicycle through the island nation of Sri Lanka.