My sweetheart polished off meals like a native. But me? I packed a plastic fork.
The typical Sri Lankan meal, called rice curry, features at the centerpiece a pile of rice—sometimes white, sometimes red—with sundry side dishes.
Bowls of fish, chicken, beans, spinach, okra, breadfruit, jackfruit, lentils and eggplant accompany lunch and dinner.
Spoon the rice onto a palm leaf for the traditional meal—or onto a plate if you are in a café—and mix the dollops of veggies and meats with your right hand.
Veteran finger-eaters pinch the rice and curry together, creating a mash they bring to their mouths.
(Keep your left hand tucked away—that one is used for washing.)
A side dish of orange sambol—a tasty chili, salt and coconut fusion—arrives at every meal.
Hands pinch, prod and mix; fingers turn yellow and orange. Waiters point you to a faucet or bring a bowl so you can wash your hands.
As we were washing our hands at a spigot after a roadside lunch, the waiter said an elephant was also washing up.
We scurried to the creek below where an elephant lay on her left side, letting the creek wash over her ears.
Her brother was upstream, swinging his trunk and lollygagging.
We poised cameras as the female rose from her knees and flicked her trunk side to side as if to wave hello.