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Published: April 24th 2016
It took four bus transfers but I was finally back on the southern coast. The amount of sweat I was producing confirmed this. Since my arrival in Sri Lanka, I had been moving somewhere new practically every day. Despite the ease of travel in this country, I was getting tired. I needed a place to settle down for a few days and Mirissa would be this place. Situated between the bigger town of Matara and the beach town of Weligama, Mirissa was a quaint beach village that seemed to have an up and coming tourist industry. It definitely felt quiet compared to other places like Hikkaduwa. I hadn't written down the hostel address in my little notebook and all I had was the name so I walked around the place for a good while just asking people if they knew. The only problem was the hostel I was staying at was called MY hostel. "Do you happen to know where I can find MY hostel?" usually resulted in confused and blank stares. Then the afternoon monsoon rains came and I was caught in a warm but torrential downpour. I did eventually find it about two streets away from Mirissa beach, soaked
but happy that I would be finally able to put down my backpack for a few days. Yacob was the owner of the place, and I would later find out, was quite the businessman. He was planning on opening a bunch more of these hostels around the island. Within minutes, I met some of my dorm mates. Gin and Adam were from the UK and I also met Richard and Fido from Germany. All were solo travelers who met here. Sounds about right. I went out with them that evening and got to check out the beach by night. We ended up eating at a relatively pricey beach front restaurant and had some beers. I decided that was the only time I would be doing that, and would be eating where the locals eat from now on. Still, the food was good but since some of us were still hungry we went over to the main road and got some samosas. Returning to the beach, we walked along and found some places to hang out, until I was too far gone with exhaustion and decided to return to MY hostel and sleep. I had been on an early morning safari
I awoke early and after breakfast joined Adam, Fido and Richard as we went to the beach. It was surfing time! We rented some boards and hit the waves. I tried to remember the techniques I had learnt years earlier when I had briefly surfed in Bali. They came back slow. Richard and Fido were pretty good. The waves came in fast, but there were many lulls. The sun was fierce and all the sun screen in the world wouldn't stop parts of me from burning. I caught a few waves in a half assed way as the session progressed. Regardless it was pretty fun to be out there. We spent about an hour and a half and then paddled our boards back to the shore. Completely sore and drained we then walked over the a shady spot on the beach and ordered a drink. Back to beach life. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a very chilled out manner, finding a cheap local place to eat and then returning to the hostel and resting. The sun drained me. That evening we all went out again and went to find a place called the "secret"
beach. Not sure if it was called the secret beach or was just a very difficult beach to get to. The trail went up and through some jungle and came down the other side. There was hardly anyone around and we went onto some rocks and witnessed an awesome sunset. The sound of the waves crashing into the shore and the distant fishing vessels made it even nicer. We traveled back the way we came before it became too dark. We then walked along the Mirissa beach and found a place selling beer for "happy hour" prices. Later on we went to a local restaurant on the main road (where the cheaper feeds can be found) and had rice curry. I was getting to know some of the guys fairly well and we were exchanging travel tales and other stories. On the walk home (about ten minutes really) there was a little cafe that we stopped into. Only really because it had AC and it was humid as hell, but this place had a really good guitar that I noodled around with while some of the others had their overpriced drinks. We returned to the hostel and vegged out. I
was really getting into beach life mode.
Gin woke me before sunrise. We were both going on an excursion to see some marine life. Gin was a zookeeper by trade and had worked or volunteered all over the world with animals and conservation projects. The southern coast of Sri Lanka has a plethora of dolphins and whale migrations and I wanted to see if I could get a glimpse of some. Gin was adamant that we get there early because he really wanted a good seat for some viewing. When we got there however there were about thirty packaged Chinese tourists on the boat, all having taken the best seats. I was a little bummed but figured it would still be cool. The boat took off and headed south into the Indian Ocean. Other boats were near. I saw many fly fish on the way out. The temperature hadn't become an inferno yet and we were given some crappy boat food. Most of the Chinese tourists were asleep in their seats. Gin was explaining a bunch of info regarding some of the species we might see. Land was still in view behind us when we saw our first blowhole
and then part of the massive body of a blue whale. It was awesome being able to see the largest animal on the planet with my own eyes. The Chinese tourists made all sorts of noises and then pointed their cameras and started taking shots. The whale dove down and disappeared into the mysterious ocean depths. Some of the Chinese tourists went back to sleep. Later on I was able to see some Dolphins in the distance. We caught a glimpse of another whale but one of the other boats got too close and scared it away. Then, soon after, on my side of the boat I saw another blowhole in the distance and shouted out. It turned out to be a blue whale couple. One of them must have been about 25 meters long. We saw the amazing tales as they dove down. I was thinking I was lucky to have seen so many whales in such a short time. Unfortunately, the boat operators felt that it was enough and decided to head back to shore. Some of us were complaining and insisted that we stay out longer. They didn't listen and headed back while some of the other
boats appeared to stay out. I was kind of pissed, Gin was pretty furious. The Chinese seemed bored. Once we got back I didn't really know what I was going to do with the rest of my day, but then I remembered that this was beach life. Midday was approaching and being out in the sun bordered on suicidal so I took refuge back at the hostel. Gin was off to Ella, and Adam and Fido had returned from nearby Weligama, disappointed with the surfing there. We decided we would go surfing in the late afternoon again. We had breakfast in the hostel.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and sweating. As we were preparing to go to the beach to surf, some menacing clouds rolled in and it began to pour. Pretty much on queue from what it does at this time of year. Adam and I walked to a restaurant to get some snacks, and decided to retreat back to the hostel instead of going to the beach. We got pretty wet in the process but it was nice walking in the rain. He was a firefighter back in England and was telling me some
of his stories. We met this other Dutch girl back at the hostel and played cards, waiting for the rain to subside. Once we got to the beach, the sun was back out but it was late. Fido had gone to the beach anyway and got his surf on. I took some photos of beach scenes and surfers. We walked along the beach afterwards and got more happy hour beers. Back at the hostel, one of the staff made a nice spaghetti dish. We played more cards in the evening and everyone relaxed. It was beach life after all.
During the night some drunk Norwegians stumbled into the dorm and made a racket. In the morning, one of their alarms began ringing incessantly and the dude just kept sleeping through it. I was amazed at how this was possible. The Dutch girl threw her towel at him and he kept sleeping. Finally, she got down from her bunk and rocked him awake. He only pressed snooze though and it kept going off! By this point I was getting up and ready to tackle my final day of beach life. I woke up Adam and Fido and we made our
way down to the beach. We got surf boards and swam out into the warm waters. For the next hour I managed to catch a few waves and it was still so early that I wasn't getting burnt to a crisp. After that we headed back to the hostel and I gathered my things. We then walked to a nearby restaurant and ate coconut roties with Dhal and drank a fruit shake. I said goodbye to my beach buddies and wished them well. Yet another group I was going to miss.
By this point I needed to move fast and caught a bus that took me to Weligama, where I just made the express train going towards Colombo. The ride there was scenic of course and I met a retired guy from Toronto who was traveling Asia. We chatted for most of the ride. Once in Colombo, I had some time to kill. I found a nearby movie theater, thinking that it would be some entertainment while getting me out of the heat. In the end, they were only playing one cheesy Hindi movie with English subtitles so I bought a ticket and watched about half of it before
I decided to go. I ate somewhere quickly and then found a bus to the airport. Sri Lanka was a great experience and is now yet another country I want to go back to. It was a bit of a whirlwind tour, but I did quite a lot and felt I connected with the place. Onward to my next stop, but beach life isn't over just yet...
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