Published: April 28th 2012April 28th 2012
A rooster crowing is a powerful alarm. It definitely works. As it crowed, my eyes fluttered open. As usual, laying in bed was not an option. I would be unable to return to a deep slumber. Besides, we all had plans together, an early start on our last full day/night in Tangelle. Audrey, David and I headed for a swim down the beach. Marion stayed behind. The waves in front of our guest house were too powerful to frolic in. Audrey's small frame wouldn't allow it. Even David and I had been tossed around violently by the waves the afternoon prior. I also wanted to visit a temple to pray, something that I had not been able to do in a few days, since the boys three day party fest in Hikkaduwa. it was time to get back on track.
We walked down the beach and David an Audrey went for a swim. I was content to sit on a beach chair and listen to the waves crash onto the shore. I met a shore fisherman who allowed me to take pictures and videotape him trying to catch fish. Afterwards, we walked to the temple so I could pray. I
still wasn't fully aware of the subtle nuances of Buddhism. I knew that I had much to learn. But in my heart, I still felt the awakening. Every time I bowed my head and recited mantra in front of the relics, I felt at ease. The plan was to visit a Buddhist center when I returned home. I had found one online that ran orientation for new Buddhists in Washington DC. After a late breakfast, we returned back to the hostel. Marion had gone into the city. We of course decided to enjoy the sun and beach. David and I performed our own workouts, something we had done a couple of times since we met. We felt lazy and slothful and needed an outlet. Running, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai on the beach were perfect solutions to our physical and mental dilemmas. Afterwards, David and I decided to take a tuk tuk and visit the Rock Temple. Again, the beach was a seductive mistress that we wanted to take a break from. Of course it helped that both of our bodies were fried from the sun. We met a driver and negotiated a fee for the15 km ride to the
temple. On the way, we say much of the flora and fauna that made Sri Lanka such a visually stunning country. Sanjeeva, our driver, escorted us up the Rock Temple. It was impressive from below. We had an extensive climb to see the beautiful statues of Buddha lying on his side. I purchased a collection of small flowers for offering to Buddha statues prior to prayer. The sun was scorching. The ascent made it feel as if we could touch the sun. Our shirts were soaked before the first statue. The structures were beautiful, the stairs up to the top precarious. It was all worth it though. I was able to offer and pray to each, and David was able to see culture and history, something he really appreciated. Sanjeeva drove us back to our hotel after trying to convince us to see another tourist attraction. My feet hurt form the flip flops and we had prearranged lunch plans with the Frenchies. So, the blow hole was a no go. Upon arriving, we had discovered that the ladies left before us, but had left a note and a cute detailed map for us to follow. Smiling Marion and Audrey greeted
us at a restaurant a short distance away from our own home away from home. We chatted, snapped photos, and played "guess where the tourists are from" game, something that we invented in Kandy. Our food, even for Sri Lankan standards, took FOREVER! We repeated jokes about how they were waiting for the chicken to lay the eggs in our meal. Afterwards, they had to kill it, defeather her, and skin it before cooking it. Even our check took forever. But of course, they had to chop a tree down, pulverize the pulp and press it to make the paper for our bill. By the time we were finished it was late afternoon. David's plans for all of us to see the glorious, fantabulous, existential, Lagoon Paradise was foiled. I wanted to go into the city and shave my head closer and buy another sarong, as mine had taken a beating. The girls didn't seem too eager to go. So, without David's consent, the decision was cast by the majority. Sorry David! We all went into town together in search of the most awesome hairdresser in Sri Lanka but first, we visited a few shops for my sarong and finally
settled on one. This time, I got the freaking local price. Ten minutes later, I was getting my head shaved like a young Buddha. I guess a tall lanky New Zealander, two pretty French girls, and a shirtless Chinese looking American male with no shirt, tattoos all over, and wearing a sarong can garner quite a bit of attention in the busy city center. Of course, this wasn't the first time we had attracted smiles and giggles. Marion taped my cut at the barber, followed by the amazing head massage afterwards, standard in Sri Lanka. one bakery stop after my shave an off in a tuk tuk back to our hotel. Rains had started and the walk was far, so naturally, it was tuk tuk time. I finally showered. It had been a two days. I still had oil on my body from the suspect full body massage I had received the evening before. He came a little too close to my franks and beans, as I told the others jokingly. I also shaved, put on my new sarong, and a white collared shirt I had purchased from Nepal a few years back. I felt clean, rejuvenated, renewed. There was
no more noticeable sand in any cracks and crevices. David remarked at how dapper and young I looked. Marion remarked at how much more Korean I looked. Audrey seemed surprised and commented on what a great outfit I had on. They were all very nice compliments and ones that I appreciated. I had been walking around in a dirty sarong and shirtless for days and days. I was preparing for my life back in the States, buying new furniture and dinnerware for my semi empty apartment, and eventually, dating. With my improved outlook and awakening, everything would be okay. We went to the Mangrove Inn for dinner. It turns out, it was next to the stupendous, fantabulous, ecstasy that was Lagoon Paradise, a spot David wanted us to visit earlier. We had to laugh at the irony in that. Dinner was relaxed, just very nice. Our conversations teetered between life, love, and happiness. I suppose they are all related. The girls suggested a game of truth or dare. I suggested truth because we were all too lazy for dare. Laughing, they agreed and we spent the next hour sipping on wine, beer, and gin and tonics and learning even more
about each other. I learned that Marion didn't like a certain Olympic athlete. I learned that Audrey was very sweet and sensitive behind the tough exterior. I learned that David throws a nasty punch. All in all, a very very good night. It may have been the best night of many best nights in this wonderful country with these wonderful people. We arrived back at our guest house and chilled with the staff for an hour or so before retiring into the evening. It was midnight when David and I headed back to our rooms. A peaceful night of sleep greeted me as my head hit the pillow, something that was rare, but welcome with outstretched arms.
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