In Colombo airport everyone smiles, the heart-deep smile of one human being wishing another a safe journey and a safe return one day. The gardens here are beautiful. Hot pink oleanders remind me of a long-ago life on a hill in Provence. Jacaranda and butter-blossomed Tabebuia aurea take me to the valleys and cerrados of Bolivia. Oriental magpie robins posturing in these far-travelled trees, palm-squirrels pinging across the grass, and a white-throated kingfisher, his blue still a surprise after so many years, bring me back to South Asia. For two weeks more this time.
Sri Lanka has been a joy; her people kind and genuine, her whales and leopards beautiful beyond the power of words to tell. From my heart I too smile, and thank, and bless.
‘Take heart.’ says Alan Bennett in the last line of the book; surprising words from his pen perhaps. A surprise too, I do.