Afterwards, my uncle and cousins and I piled into their van and went for a long drive down to Hikkaduwa and Galle. I haven't had a chance to edit the photos yet -- I took tons of them of the destruction and reconstruction as we went, but most were from a moving vehicle, so I'm not sure how they came out. Terribly sad, even in this area that was the most lightly hit (along the east coast, the wave was three times higher) to see the houses utterly gutted, with perhaps half a wall left standing. Really made me much more aware of the tremendous force of these waves that came in, higher than the palm trees. It's a strange road to drive down, because the wave apparently hit in pockets, spiraling in and out, so you'll see a devasted stretch of a few miles, and then utterly normalcy for a few miles, then devastation again.
And oh, all these people living in tents, which must be unbearably hot during the day. I can barely stand the midday here lying in a dark, well-ventilated room with the fan going on high -- mostly I escape to air-conditioned cafes. These people have no fans, and certainly can't afford to visit cafes. And in the evenings, we've started having heavy rains -- the monsoons are coming. Most of their tents are just sitting on packed dirt; it must get tremendously muddy when it rains, and most of the tents don't look sturdy enough to keep determined water and mud out. It must be incredibly frustrating.
Very sad day, but I'm glad I went. Got back late, close to ten, had some pizza (heavy on bread, low on cheese and sauce, compared to most American pizza), went to sleep.