I've just had a startling revelation, dear reader . It's suddenly dawned on me this part of the world is absolutely teeming with people. Wherever you go in Sri Lanka the situation is the same, it's a case of people here, people there, there are people everywhere! While at a bus stop in Colombo I stuck my arm out to hail a bus, and accidentally stiff armed a guy behind me who just happened to be walking by. And if you change direction while walking on the side of the road, you'll more than likely end up with a tuk tuk up your bum. However, us human beings are adaptable creatures, and as I enjoy my second week in the country the constant crowds are starting to feel like the most natural thing in the world.
The journal left off in Colombo, and it was time to push on. I jumped on a bus heading south to Galle, and after three hours with this driver it's clear the bus is king of the road in Sri Lanka. The guy was tearing around like a madman, and spent almost half his time on the wrong side of the road. Tuk tuks
and other vehicles going the other way had no choice but to retreat to the shoulder of the road, so he could keep up his extraordinary pace. He was going twice the speed of most vehicles, and I was glad to arrive safely in Galle. I checked into Thenu Rest hotel, and settled in for four nights relaxing in this spectacular setting. My hotel was inside the Fort on the coast, and it's one of the most incredible spots you can imagine. Going for evening strolls along the Fort walls while the sun is setting over the Indian ocean is a great experience, and the shops and architecture are first class. It's no wonder tourists flock to this glorious old town by the sea. However, I did have one unfortunate experience while enjoying the sights...
The thing that sticks in my mind after being robbed is a strong sense of moral outrage. It's so annoying, and to have cash walk out of my hotel room is an experience I don't wish to repeat anytime soon. Of course it's a long and boring tale, but I'm 90% sure this little piece of work was an inside job. The chief suspect
was the hotel tuk tuk driver, who accompanied me when I changed money on arrival, there was a broken door lock that took two days to fix despite my urgings, and I had to exit the room from the window during this time, which only the staff knew. Obviously I pushed the window shut but could not secure it from the outside. Anyways, after the event I smiled gently with the tuk tuk driver and chatted about the cricket, while secretly harbouring a dark fantasy about having him on the rack so I could coerce a confession! I complained to the owners about the poor security and money disappearing, and couldn't help but notice they wouldn't look me in the eye after the incident. Bugger that for a game of soldiers, as I can't be living my life in a state of paranoia and suspicion, so I checked out of their hotel the next morning without even a thankyou. However, as a strict adherent of the gentleman's code I was able to manage a curt farewell, as that was the least I could offer given the circumstances.
tuk tuk for the fifty kilometres on to Mirissa beach. It's such a great way to travel, with heaps of ventilation and room to lounge around in the back. Of course this is a more expensive option than the bus, but still cheap and there's no waiting, no crowds, and plenty of fresh air. Plus I love tuk tuks! Mirissa is another of Southern Sri Lanka's magnificent beach resort towns, and I checked into the low key Sun Ocean Inn for three nights. The highlight of the visit was taking a boat trip to try and track down some whales and dolphins in the ocean. I'll never forget the experience, and we did see blue whales surfacing not too far away from our boat, and some dolphins also. However, it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and on this occasion the ocean was very rough. We searched in vain for several hours before a sighting at all, and the four hour trip stretched to six. The problem, though, is that the boat journey turned into something of an international spewing convention, with wretched tourists from around the world hanging their heads over the side. I was able
to hold on for a couple of hours, but once you're gone, unfortunately you turn into a heaving mass of misery. I must have emptied my thankfully empty stomach over the side of the boat on at least four occasions featuring multiple retching, and felt as crook as a dog. Even when we found the frolicking sea creatures, the boat was pitching and rolling so violently that it was not possible to get a single steady shot, even with a high powered telephoto lens.
Anyways, I can't remember ever feeling so grateful to be back on terra firma. Somewhat weakened, and with no appetite, it was great to be back on solid ground, and to leave the ocean to the magnificent sea creatures who so effortlessly rule their domain. The beach in Mirissa is gorgeous, but it was time to jump on another tuk tuk for a further fifty kilometre trip to Tangalle. Yes, you guessed it, moving on to yet another superb coastal resort town in Southern Sri Lanka! What stuns me most about this country, though, is the delicious food. You can go to a low key establishment, and they will cook up a rice and curry
to die for. I think I'm in heaven here, and can't recall the last time I ate so well. The food is cheap, the flavours are superb, and there's plenty of it. Well then, Tangallle it is... I've checked into the recommended Star Fish beach cafe and it's gorgeous. My own well appointed room costs around fifteen dollars a night, with super friendly staff, and the beach is so close if you fell over at the hotel you'd get a face full of sand! This beach life is addictive, and the opportunity to transform myself from a pasty Sydneysider in the middle of winter to a tropical beach bum is almost complete. When I think about Southern Sri Lanka and it's gorgeous beaches, basically all of you should be here now!
To aim at the best and to remain essentially ourselves is one and the same thing." Janet Erskine Stuart
As I continue my travels, until next time it's signing off for now
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