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The Pros and Cons of travelling as a solo woman in Sri Lanka

Sexual harrassment and preferential treatment.

Con: Sexual harassment.

Days into my trip, I was grabbed on the breast by a boy who looked all but 13, on the beach at Negombo, after naively agreeing to having a photo taken with him, and his two equally pre pubescent buddies. Since then being rubbed up against on the bus, by men definitely old enough to know better, has become a regular occurrence. The solution? Follow the lead of the Sri Lankan woman, who fend of unwanted advances with a quick jab of a sari pin. No Sari pin on hand? Wedging your bag in between sleazoid and self, or a sharp elbow to the ribs usually does the trick.

Pro: Preferential Treatment

Today I was stopped by the notoriously corrupt Sri Lankan police. My heart sank, as I have seen them many times on the side of the road, issuing fines to bikes, cars, and trucks. I chatted with the officer for a while, playing dumb and looking up at him with blank, blue eyes. After some lecturing, and talk of the fact that “Sri Lankan licence costs 50, 00 R”, he said “Since this is your first time in Sri Lanka, this is a warning” and I was free to go.

A few hours later I ran into the back of a bus, which stopped short in front of me. Jumping off to inspect the damage, I saw large red scratches of paint from the bus. Soon a crowd of elderly men had gathered around me to inspect the damage, after some discussion one of them disappeared, and returned with some polish, black paint and a cloth. Moments later there was no sign of the red bus on my bike. “Ok , No problems for you now Madame”.

Posted by Jhaniaruby 04:48 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged bus police motorbike alone female sexual harassment

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