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The Joy of the Metered Tuktuk

Today I had a million errands to run before coming back to the USA. It’s impossible to know how long anything will take here, and because of this I save all my running around for one day (or one half-day). Because of this, my godsend has been the metered tuktuk. The metered tuktuk takes the best part of a taxi (the fare is consistent and non-negotiable) with the best part of a tuktuk (the fare is cheap). While I enjoy haggling just as much as the next person, the fare for driving over 30 kilometers with several stops and waiting at each one, like my trip today, is usually decided arbitrarily by the tuktuk driver and always includes a hefty “white person” tax. The metered taxi means I get charged the same as any other Sri Lankan, and at half the price of what my tuktuk driver would normally expect.

So where did I go today? First I stopped by Lanka Hands to select some Sri Lankan music for our New York fundraiser coming up in May. Then I swung by CENWOR (Center for Women’s Research) to pick up relevant publications such as “Violence Against Women: Voices of Victims and Activists,” Gender Based Violence – Sri Lanka,” and “Sexual Harassment in Sri Lanka: Women’s Experiences and Policy Implications.” After that, I ran down to Suwasetha in Moratuwa to grab 150 bags that had recently been finished by our wonderful girls at the Vocational Training Center. We’re sending a courier shipment of jewelry to the USA today, and those bags are needed for upcoming Mother’s Day sales.

On my way back to the apartment I made one final stop at the fruit stand to grab some fresh papaya. Now the papaya was delicious, but the best part of the entire journey? When I was dropped off at the apartment with my many bags in tow, I didn’t have to argue about how much I should pay. And that made the whole outing, while still tiring, much less stressful.

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