Following the locals

How to really get to know a new culture? EAT and follow the locals.

Local food tastes like anywhere else in the world. It adds that little something to your experience. And when you come back home from the country you've just visited, all those ingredients, new tastes and foods will become a part of your life. Trust me you will at least try to use that one ingredient or cook that dish you really loved. You will prepare it your way and so happens that you combine a little bit of a culture you just got to know and a little bit of yourself. I believe it doesn’t happen only with food. The same thing happens with our thoughts and experiences. Every journey can change you a little and make you a different person. You meet people, see and experience things. The more it differs from your life, the more it might influence you. Travelling and opening our minds leads to a mutual understanding of very different cultures, religions, situations and eventually it leads to peace - peace of mind and global peace. That's very well needed not only for our personal development but for today’s world and for its future. And so I consider travelling as the best and the most important education we can get and we all should strive for.

I’ve been in Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks now and I must say they difference between locals and foreigners quite visible. Prices and sightseeings entry fees differ a lot for locals and foreigners. The entry ticket for a UNESCO site and one of the most visited place here - Sigiriya costs 60 rupees for locals and 4500 for us foreigners. I feel that there are a lot of places that are meant for tourists only. If you consider yourself as a traveller and you want to experience the real culture, you have to follow the locals. Because they know the best.

Forget restaurant where you cannot find local people but only tourists. Usually the food tastes really bad, the ingrediences are not fresh and well.. it's pricy. Though the service is mostly very poor, get ready to pay a 10% service fee and some taxes which are not usually included in the given price. Just follow the local people - go to a street food restaurant, where rice and chicken curry tastes amazing, where you have to eat with your hands, where you can chat with locals and where the prices are just funny.

Same with the accommodation. Forget fancy hotels crowded with tourists. Book a smaller one runned by a family, enjoy home prepared food, chat with them, see how they live and just get to know them.

A week ago we visited Sigiriya that was mentioned before. We didn’t hike the actual place which was pricy and too crowded. Instead I was given a tip from my Sri Lankan friend to hike a viewpoint from which is a beautiful view on Sigiriya. And so we did it. We enjoyed the hike, didn't meet any annoying tourists and the view was just fabulous!

I've been very often visiting this market in the streets of Maharagama (the place I currently live in) since the day I arrived. I don't necessarily come here to buy food, I usually come here to feel the vibes. The chaos, colours and different smells, fruit and veggies that I've never seen and tasted before - all that makes me feel the culture. Just go for it, step out of your comfort zones, don't be tourists and become travellers - people who want to learn about themselves and the world around!

No comments:

Post a Comment