After over two weeks of hardly seeing any tourists and being treated as a novelty in many places, we were firmly back in the western world. The hotel was like a postcard, on a small promontory right on the coast so the man-made ‘beach’ actually hung out over the waves with pristine beach to either side, complete with palms and pink sunsets. The bleached wood deck sported white sofas and curved wicker loungers each holding an almost naked white person with an iPad. I do not exaggerate, every person sitting out when we arrived was either reading on an iPad or playing on an iPhone. We later realised that this was partly because the wifi didn’t stretch to any other part of the hotel, so if you wanted to use a gadget you had to do it in the bar/beach area, but even so it was a culture shock more extreme than having curry for breakfast! I’ve just read a brilliant rant against mobile phones, concluding with: “I did not see how anyone could believe he was continuing to live a human existence by walking about talking into a phone for half his waking life. No, those gadgets did not promise to be a boon to promoting reflection among the general public.” (Exit Ghost, Philip Roth) Indeed. Why go somewhere as amazing as Sri Lanka and have your face stuck in technology?

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