What It’s Like to Be an ‘Invisible Expat’

The expat author, Surekha Yadav, with her Sri Lankan husband, Savan Wijewardene. NGEOW SHANGLIN
The expat author, Surekha Yadav, with her Sri Lankan husband, Savan Wijewardene. NGEOW SHANGLIN

Here’s a confession: At the entrance to some of Sri Lanka’s tourist attractions, I have been known to stand a little closer to my Sri Lankan husband and hope fervently that my dusky complexion will allow me to slide through as a local and skip paying the exorbitant entrance fee for foreigners. The fee for foreigners is sometimes more than 70 times the price that locals pay—entrance into the ancient Sigiriya fortress, for example, is 3,600 Sri Lankan rupees (about $27) for foreigners and 50 rupees (38 cents) for locals.