Mr. and Mrs. Sting
You meet the darnedest people here. One day, it's a fisherman whose house has been wiped out in the tsunami. The next, a big-time local politician. The next, a Buddhist monk. The next . . .
View Enlarged Photo and CaptionToday (February 17, 2005), after spending the morning with a German nightclub owner-turned-organic farmer (more about him later), I waded out to Taprobane through the warm surf. Geoffrey had some guests for lunch, and I dropped in uninvited. They were an eclectic group -- a middle-aged couple from England with their children, a svelte lady from New York, a very debonair Frenchman. For the life of me (and curiosity is my business), I couldn't figure out how they were all connected to one other, or what they were doing in Weligama.
Eventually, one of the guests told me that the pleasant man opposite Geoffrey in the center of the table was a "musician" who had just held a concert in Australia, at which he had raised some money for tsunami relief. His wife was in Sri Lanka to look at some reconstruction projects involving children.
"What kind of musician?" I asked innocently.
"He's quite well-known," replied my neighbor. "His name is Sting."
As my teenage children can attest, I am an ignoramus when it comes to rock music, but even I have heard of Sting. By this time, Sting (like Madonna and many Indonesians, he seems to have only one name), had gone for a swim around the island, the same route I took when I was caught up in the tsunami. So I chatted with Mrs. Sting.
I am not being facetious. That's how she wrote her name down for me. "Trudie Styler, a.k.a. Mrs Sting. Here in Sri Lanka with daughter Coco, 11 years, and son Giacomo, 9 years." She explained that her husband had raised $4 million for tsunami relief in Australia and that she was in Sri Lanka as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Childrens Fund.
The other members of the Sting retinue included a tutor for one of the children and their personal assistant (the lady from New York.) I never did figure out who the Frenchman was. Another son is coming out in March to do voluntary relief work.
And how did the Sting family all end up on Taprobane? I later discovered that they had had dinner the previous evening at my brother's hotel in Galle and he invited them all to lunch on his island.
-- Michael Dobbs