A Sri Lankan Budhist monk takes pictures of an unseen Sri Lankan airlines Airbus A-340 which transported President Mahinda Rajapakse who became the first passenger to go through the facility at the new Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala, in the southeast of the island on March 18, 2013.  AFP PHOTO/Ishara S. KODIKARA

The story as to how this airport rose and fell is a dive into a quagmire of national politics, geopolitical maneuvering, raw corruption, and the hunger of China to invest in massive infrastructure projects along what has subsequently been dubbed the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.