I I I I I I Lanka you verrrry much

15 Mar

We were greeted the next day with a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast – spicy coconut  sambal, dhal and hot fresh rotis. So delicious…makes toast look rather uninspired. We spent the morning at the beach opposite the guesthouse

Where Craig helped three fishermen get their boat into the sea. It was kind of a make-shift catamaran like this one

and they were attempting to get out in the very strong waves. He helped them push it into the sea and then incredibly, they managed to row over the high waves and out to sea impressively easily.

We strung up the hammocks

and relaxed for an hour or so. When I got back I realised I was pretty burnt – it was quite windy so I didn’t feel hot at all so hadn’t noticed getting redder and redder. I went for a shower when we got back and saw that the reflection off the water had meant I had got burnt on my back, despite that not having any exposure to the sun, and I now have a fetching latticework effect on half my back from where the hammock strings were. I look like a glazed ham.

The next day we decided to go and explore the area a little bit, so we rented a motorbike from Ajit and went in search of the sleeping Buddha. Ajit drew us a little map but without distances, so we got a bit lost. We asked some local boys who were going the same way, and we followed them all the way to the (unsignposted) Buddha. They went a lot faster than we wanted to as the traffic was crazy, and at one point I did think maybe seeing the Buddha wasn’t worth it, but we got there with no problems so all worked out ok and it was nice of them to show us. The traffic here is weird because like Thailand and the UK (but unlike everywhere else we’ve been) they drive on the left here and have the same road markings as the UK. The difference is that they are optional, and there are a lot of big lorries and buses on the roads as well as the usual children, bicycles, animals etc.

It is funny how different it feels here – it’s only a three hour flight but immediately you can tell you’re nearer India. A lot of the women wear colourful saris and the men, long sarongs, even if cycling. Depending on their mood and the weather, the sarongs may be hitched up to show a cheeky bit of knee. The food is incredible and more curry based than SE Asia and people have naturally curly hair here…finally feel like I fit in a bit more! The weather isn’t as hot as Bangkok or Thailand, and because it is nearing the rainy season, it rains for a bit every day. But that’s fine as we haven’t seen proper rain for over two months now and in between rainy bits, it’s hot and sunny like before. The roads are very good round here and it is lovely to be able to put toilet paper in the toilet – sounds a weird thing to be happy about but wait until you walk into a toilet with two days of other people’s used toilet paper in an overflowing bin in 40 degree heat and maybe it would become clearer :)

Anyway, we found the sleeping Buddha thanks to the guys’ help

The photo doesn’t really do it justice but it’s 125m long and housed in a pretty temple. The Yoda/monk who showed us round had a shaved head and enormous hairy ears, which were almost as impressive as the Buddha.

We stopped to get a drink afterwards and ended up being invited for lunch by the guy that owned the shop. He said to come back in two days and meet his family for lunch and that if we ever stayed in Sri Lanka again, we could stay at his house for free. Very friendly!

Then we carried on to one of the three turtle farms about 15km away. They help the turtles that come and lay their eggs on the beach by rescuing the eggs, incubating them, feeding the baby turtles until they’re strong and then releasing them back into the sea. They also grow some of the turtles to maturity to ensure they continue to breed, as the eggs and baby turtles are at risk from sharks, birds and people. The man that showed us round made us promise not to eat any whilst we were there :)

But how could you eat something so cute? They were very sweet. There were also blind and deformed turtles that they kept there as they wouldn’t be able to survive by themselves, and an albino turtle (very rare – 1 in 2m turtles are born albino) called Julia.

We stopped for a bit of lunch at a hotel (overpriced and not half as good as Ajit’s wife’s cooking!) and then started to make our way back as the sky had gone black. Within a few minutes it had begun to rain. We pulled into a petrol station to fill up and thought about whether to continue. We had never been in tropical rain before so the obvious answer to this question was “yes”! The heavens opened, the rain poured down in warm, gumball-sized drops and suddenly the whole road cleared just for us – all the Sri Lankans had sensibly stopped and sheltered by the roadside. We drove along, laughing at everyone’s amazement that we would want to be in the rain, getting soaked to the skin and feeling that our day really couldn’t get any better.

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