the day we almost took the jailbait

Do we look like we take drugs?
No, you do not answer that…

So it was the day after Ron and I left the comforts of Theva when we found ourselves walking uphill on a winding road to spend a few more nights in the heart of Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, Kandy. Too much relaxation is apparently not so good for our looks. We were the perfect victims as our common sense dangled from our ears.

We popped in a local store to pick us some cigarettes. As it turns out, Marlboro products are not available in Kandy. As for the rest of the brands they sell, they cost about LKR 1,000 (USD 10). This caused Ron a major heartache (he prefers Marlboro Black which I buy for PHP40 or USD.98 in the Philippines) that it consumed our conversation while crossing the street to get to Kandy Lake.

Without us noticing it, a guy who disturbingly looked like the young Dranreb Belleza(thus looked somewhat like Ron) started walking beside us, affirming what we’ve already found out for ourselves that Marlboro cigarettes are not available in the city. He started talking about Manny Paquiao when he found out we are from the Philippines. He talked about a lot of things I forget now because all could think of at that time was, “oh my god, who the hell is this guy?” And I’m sure Ron’s thoughts were “oh my god, he looks like Dranreb Belleza!” Oh, and he was bumming cigarettes the entire time.

We felt like he won’t leave us alone so we shook him off by saying we were so hungry we could eat a horse. He suggested a restaurant for us to visit and when he wasn’t looking, we went around the block four times and chose another place to eat in.

After dining; guess what, rice and curry with cream soda, Ron and I proceeded to the Kandy Cultural Show at the back of the Temple of the Tooth. Guess what, Dranreb look-alike appeared before us and commented about a conversation we had with a tuktuk driver long after we left him for lunch. He was following us… And so he walked with us until we got to the theater, bummed another cigarette, and left us off to enjoy Sri Lankan music and dance.

Show starts at 6:30 PM and costs LKR 500

The program was divided into sections showcasing the culture of the country. The dancers wore intricate costumes made of silver and brightly colored cloths. It was amazing how they were able to dance so vigorously and perform acrobatics with the weight of those clothes.

But what really struck us most was the fire dance towards the end of the program. I mean, it wasn’t that new to us. Just two years ago, Ron and I went to my high school friend’s house during fiesta and there were gay dancers on the street doing the exact same routine. We can tell that the majority of the audience was super excited and amused. Later, I found out Ron can do the same fire trick.

After Ron’s magnificent display of fire control, we started walking towards the temple. Is it a wonder, still, to know that Dranreb look-alike was there, waiting for us? After chit-chat, he finally said what he was longing to say the moment he saw us buying cigarettes… Weed.

Yep, he was selling us weed. The guy obviously had great deductive reasoning skills… Tats, cigarettes, tourists, ergo, weed. Ron and I subtly told him we are not interested. Ron had to say he’s a nurse and I’m a teacher which did not make any sense to Dranreb. Suddenly, Dranreb’s friend “appeared,” casually asked us for a cigarette, and told us that we can’t enter the temple looking like ourselves. Ron was wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts and I was wearing my tank top. We decided not to argue and head home but they won’t leave us. They were even telling us that the market is closed on Sundays and were trying to get us to visit his friend’s store that moment. By that time, we were already scared. They were even asking us to hang out in a local bar were the beers are “less expensive” because they can order it for us. I was like, in your dreams.

Ron quickly acted and told me we should go visit the Tooth Temple. I immediately said yes and we walked back where the theater was. But instead of turning right to go to the temple, we went straight ahead to the lake and walked around it until we reached the street leading to our hostel. I swear, we could have just booked those cheap flights to India to escape our hospitable stalker.

You’d think that we’d seen the last of Dranreb, but wait, there’s more…

After arriving at the hostel and after going through that crazy hide and seek, I just had to have Lion Lager. Yes, it’s the local beer… So, we asked the hostel tuktuk driver to take us to the liquor shop about 15 minutes away from the place. After stopping by KFC to buy beer chow, we proceeded to fall in line in what looks like an off-the-track betting outlet here in the Philippines. Hurrah, we’ve arrived at the liquor store. Guess who was there on the line? I’ll be damned…