Published: June 27th 2010June 3rd 2010
On the way to the beaches of the western coast we stopped at a few temples and sacred pilgrim sites, one of them is Kirinda situated near the beach, there is a temple perched atop huge boulders, there are lots of people walking around the beach, mostly families on a pilgrimage during Vesak.Another is the ancient place called Situl Pauwa and like most of the other temples here it's perched atop huge rocks, apparently they did this so everyone can see where the temples are cause way back then there were no roads and people have to navigate through the forests, this serves like a beacon, a guide for them to follow directions.
Then we stopped at this town called Kudawella where they have this blow hole among the rocky cliffs near the sea, I have to pay $2 to witness this"phenomenon", now there are railings from where the blow hole sprays from the rocks, as the story goes, a gringo fell in one time while watching the spectacle, must have gone too close for comfort. We are in Dikwella area where we spent the night at Mr.T's relative's house, our first homestay, the way to get there was tricky
and we have to ask a few people for directions, it's tucked within the rice fields and forest area, his family lives on a hill they partially flattened by cutting and removing soil from the side of a hill, its all red clay, around the house are veggies and big trees, I like the place though it's small, the family is very nice, they all walk barefoot and they served us excellent dinner of rice and curries, me and Sachil have to share a double bed, it was so hot and full of mozzies, we had a few drinks with Mr. T's guy relatives, I could not understand them so I cannot share in their conversation I felt ill at ease so I decided to go to bed, I went to the drop toilet, it was clean and not smelly , problem is there are bugs crawling, we saw a huge scorpion outside it as big as a mid sized crayfish! Sachil is freaked out by creepy crawlers and he just don't feel comfortable sharing the toilet with them, one time I went and there was a huge spider staring at me. Sleep was uncomfortable but we passed out due
to exhaustion only to be woken up by noises outside, the family gets up quite early.
The uncle showed me all the veggies they have and fruits, herbs and spices, they basically live off the land and they have a rice field across from the house but this year's crops are damaged because of the recent flood caused by a strong cyclone that we arrived into last week. We said our goodbyes, took a few pictures and then moved on our destination target is Galle, we stopped at a town called Walligama to watch men fish perched on poles, but we have to be quiet as they charge us if they see you taking their photos, you would think you are safe cause the guys are at a distance from you fishing but there are watchers on the beach and chases vans and tourists on foot to ask for money for the privilege! there are lots of makeshift fish market stalls all of them are selling mackerels, no other variety that we saw. The sea is rough and choppy so maybe a bit hard to catch fish. We passed Galle we later came back to visit the fort, it
is too damn hot and humid, walking is a struggle, we saw a few gringos, this place, is quite popular, the beaches are nice despite being rough, but we can't find an affordable place to stay, most hotels and GH are shut for the season and those that are open charges ridiculous prices, after lunch we walked around in Hikkaduwa to find a place, we found one called Coral hotel something, recommended by the restaurant we had lunch, they showed us an ok room next to the beach but the manager was rude, then I later found out from Nish the manager wasn't happy we will only pay 3,000 rupees, well why then did he agreed to it in the first place, so we decided to get the hell out of there and find something else.
This took awhile, we drove towards Colombo and as we get closer, it gets expensive we checked out a few resort, for triple rooms average is 7-9,000 rupees, one was a really nice resort but a tad bit expensive for us that we regret not taking later as we cant find a better deal, after all our last night together, anyway we got
diverted and stopped at a turtle hatchery place where they have green, hawksbill, Ridley turtles, some are maimed due to accident or attack by sharks, when the tsunami hit all of them got washed out and only a few remains, they have baby turtles that just hatched a day or 2 ago they are not releasing today cause of rough seas, the way they work is they buy the eggs from locals for 8 rupees a piece and then incubate and protect them until they hatch in the nursery, they don't get any funding from the government so they charge entrance fee, the little ones are so cute and cuddly I want to take home some.
Anyway moving on we kept looking for a place to stay, we phoned a few, one really nice place quoted us 6,250 rupees a night and they have a huge pool and big estate but when they saw us they want to charge us the tourist price which was almost double it! Quite unfair really, why the double standard, that's not the way to attract tourists. And get this I have not been on a hotel that has free wifi, you have to
pay for the service! Sri Lanka still has a long way of becoming a backpacker's haven, not a lot of backpacker's outside of Colombo good thing I am travelling with Nish and Sachil on a hired van and driver, for 2 weeks it's about $300 each person, not bad but the food and accommodation is not included but we split between the 3 of us. Anyway we settled in this hotel, not near the beach but cheap and has a/c me and Sach shared the a/c room while Nish and Mr.T shared the fan room(a/c broken).
In the morning we visited a temple in Kalutara, it's a fairly big temple that connects on both side of the road, you have to take the "subway" stairs, there was a parade ceremony happening when we got there, it's the parade for offerings I was told. We then went to the beach to have lunch but there is no shade anywhere and the shade we found is inside a forest of huge Pandan trees but litter is all over, we did not want to sit there so we ended up going back to the van and turned on the a/c on full
blast, this humidity is wilting us quickly. A quick drive and we are in Wadduwa, home to Sach and Nish's relatives, we got dropped off here and later we will go to Colombo to sightsee.
On our last day together, me, Nish and Sach went to the waterfront in Colombo, there is a big park there where they have all types of celebration for Vesak, a lot of kids flying kites, there is also a lot of security around and our driver have to turn on the light inside the van each time we pass a check point so the soldiers can see who is inside. We also saw all the preparations for this weekend, a big event when all Bollywood stars come here for some awards show or something.
It is still humid despite it being night time, we were hungry so we ate from the food stalls scattered about, fried prawn cakes,nan bread etc. i had some shrimp thing and it wasn't really that good I begged them not to put too much spice. we watched some puppet show, seems funny the locals were all laughing I just enjoyed the clumsy silly movements they make on
stage, we finished one story and left. They dropped me off to my hostel, Hornbill home hostel which is in a quiet residential area, Safeel, the guy I spoke on the phone to book it was there, he seems nice, I got my room for $10/night, big, with a/c and fan , en suite toilet and wifi but there seems to be a stench in the room which comes from the toilet, I traced it on the sewage/drain pipe, ok that's one negative I just put up with it for couple nights. There is a tea/coffee making area too, in the kitchen but you can't cook as there are no stoves, and no water in the sink!
Next morning I woke up to a severe thunderstorm, they turned off electricity in the house to avoid overloading or something. I have to ask them to turn it back on after the storm had passed, I am starving by now, no places to eat nearby they have a book for take out orders but I decided it's better for me to take a walk and look for food myself, it's hot and muggy I was sweating profusely as I traverse through
traffic laden roads, I saw a big supermarket but hardly anything interesting to buy, then on my way back I saw a small restaurant with cheap fried rice chicken, my escape from the spicy foods here, I also bought a papaya fruit for later snack, it's cheap so it didn't matter if they doubled the price, I was told by Nish that locals tend to charge more to unsuspecting tourists, that's why when we were all travelling together they always come with me even in small convenient stalls.
I heard a knock on my door early afternoon, I opened it and a young white dude in his boxers were standing in front of me,wtf??? he asks if I found a shirt in the cabinet, I let him in to have a look himself, he left it on his last time staying here apparently. Him and me are the only ones in the homestay hotel. I went down the office on the 1st floor to pay my bill, $20 for 2 nights not bad for what I am getting apart from the stench coming from the sewage pipe. I told the manager Safeel to book me a taxi for tomorrow
morning and if Suresh the young caretaker can give me a morning call, he said he can't guarantee as the young man might sleep through so I am left to my own devices having no alarm clock of any sort. I turned in early as I leave the next day.
Got up at 4:44am, s@#t!! taxi is supposed to be here by 4:30am, so I jumped out of bed and got ready and 5 minutes, I waited for the door bell nothing came, 5:15am I got worried, the airport is still 45 something kms away, I buzzed the room service button, comes the still sleepy Suresh, I told him the taxi is not here yet, so he called whoever, a tense 10 minutes as he could not get hold of anybody, I told him just find one on the main road, just as he was getting ready the phone rang, Safeel was on the line and told us he will call the driver again so I should wait one more minute, then a beep outside the gate, it's the driver! at 5:30am I was pissed, I told him I have waited for an hour, then he claimed he was
there at 4am but no one answered the door so he left, I don't know who screwed up but am just relieved to be on my way. Rains came, torrential in some parts, we got stopped at one point by military, they asked for my passport then let us go, took a good hour, dodging crazy bus drivers we arrived at the airport then we hit big traffic near the departures terminal, the Bollywood stars started arriving hence the traffic, they shut down the road to let them pass, f@##ing celebrities I will be late for the flight!
6:30am I was in the queue for check in, they are ohh so slow, I noticed here in this country no one rushes, they take their time and the only time they rush is when they are on the wheels and driving in the road! I had a great experience here in Sri Lanka thanks to our abled guide/driver Mr.T and my cool friends Nish and Sach, I got templed out but the beautiful beaches and warm hospitality made it worthwhile, and the food ohh so spicy for me, rice and curry, not my thing, the only ones I love is
the ones cooked by Nish's relatives, I will remember the coconut rice with sambal, a reason to comeback..
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