Sri Lanka's western coastline stretches from Colombo to Jaffna at the northern tip of the island. Several elements distinguish it from the rest of the country: it is on the west coast that we find the greatest concentration of Catholics (Roman Catholic as people will tell you at the outset), from Negombo to Mannar, where the neighbourhoods, and even entire villages, are distinguished by their religious affiliation. This is one of the reasons for the rapid reconstruction of the areas destroyed by the tsunami: the Italian government has invested heavily in repairing the damage caused in this region. In the rest of the country, Tamils are generally left to their own devices.

Another interesting point is also the beginning of the Tamil region, where one can have a different perspective, depending on the encounters, of the political life of the country; more strongly marked intercommunity differences, unlike the Sinhalese area where Buddhism predominates and thus somewhat erases the identity particularities of the minorities. Here, Sinhalese and Tamils live together, not necessarily in total harmony given the current political situation, but peacefully, demonstrating that the two ethnic groups can cohabit smoothly in the same space.

One will also appreciate the fact that not many tourists, or even no foreigners except NGO staff, visit the coast; the coast has always enjoyed a rather bad press despite the few attacks that have occurred there. But don't let that stop you from being vigilant on the ground, political conditions are very changeable in these troubled times. However, as we passed by, the coastline was deserted, peaceful and the people extremely friendly.

Finally the beaches are pleasant, in places, even bordered by lagoons, but be careful because swimming is dangerous.

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