Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Pace of the Pen

The Pace of the Pen

I've been sleeping and waking up very early here in Colombo. Maybe it's because I'm still sticking to Malaysian time which is two hours early. I'm enjoying the solitude here; from my room I could hear the waves crashing on the shore below and the sound lulls me to sleep every night.

I hitched a ride on a three-wheeler back to the hotel from office yesterday. The journey from Mawam Mawatha to Galle Road cost me 100 rupees (around 1USD)--probably about the same amount that I would pay for a bajaj ride of similar distance in Jakarta. A taxi from the hotel would have cost me 400 rupees.

My exploration of Colombo Fort has been quite frustrating because many areas near the harbour are cordoned off by armed soldiers, leaving me wandering among streets filled with money-changers and gemstone dealers. I had dinner at the Taj Restaurant on Chatham Road--Sri Lankan fried rice with beef. The food was okay but the restaurant was a bit too dark for me to linger and read.

Instead, I adjourned to the World Trade Center where I had a cup of latte at the Barista Cafe. There I read a little and spent some time writing in my journal. It's been a while since I wrote longhand, and maybe I have even forgotten the pleasure of doing so. When you write by hand, thoughts have to be slowed down to the pace of your pen. When thoughts are slowed down, you get better clarity in your thinking. You notice the nooks and nuances better.

More importantly, you realize that all that hurrying doesn't really get you anywhere faster. Like driving in a congested city, you are just darting from one bottleneck to another. You merely end up queueing up at the tollgate with the car which you overtook moments ago on the highway.

The languid pace of life in Colombo--the slow setting of the crimson sun over the western ocean, the lazy breaking of waves on the shore, the sputtering of three-wheelers in every street--has kind of tappered down the speed of my thoughts. But I have no complains: it's very peaceful living life at the pace of the pen.

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