Travel goal number seven achieved. Sort of.

21 Mar

One quick update – I forgot to mention the other day that I achieved one of my travel goals – to have a butterfly land on me. I’m not sure effectively charging at it when we were on the motorbike and crushing it with my face was exactly the moment I had imagined in my head, but I’m still ticking it off the list.


We got up fairly early and as usual, nowhere was open for breakfast – we couldn’t understand this as you’d think there would be loads of places open considering how many guesthouses and big hotels there are along Galle Road.

Even this place wasn’t open

…although I hope they don’t do that to my burger.

So whilst we waited, we took the guesthouse owner’s dog for a walk along the beach. Debris is nine months old and spends his life tied up to a post in the garden, with no water and nothing to do. Apparently he is tied up because he can open doors by himself as he’s so big, but I guess that’s what dogs do when they’re really, really bored. So we took out for a gallop along the beach

We were planning to check out when we got back, having been assured we could check out at any time, but the owner was nowhere to be seen so we patiently, and then impatiently, sat and waited. We couldn’t just leave some money for her as she had Craig’s passport. Serious boredom set in so we gave Debris a bath with aloe vera shampoo so that he didn’t stink as much and let him off his lead so he could have a little bit of a play. He used his new found freedom to try and have sexy time with Craig’s bag, then my bag, and then Craig – so back on his lead he went. I painted my toenails and Craig joined in

…after two and a half hours, we decided to put the bags back in the room as it was clear the owner wasn’t going to come back any time soon. We found somewhere that was open and ordered lunch as by then it was half past 12. The waiter came back and said they were only serving breakfast, was that ok??? We asked why and he said it was 11am and the chef didn’t start doing lunch until 12 so we’d have to wait: we have been on Bangkok time for a week and not realised it! Which means we have been getting up at 5.30am thinking it’s 7 and thinking that all the Sri Lankans are so lazy staying in bed and not opening until 10…which would be 8.30am their time which is actually pretty reasonable. Ooops!

We went back to the guesthouse and found the owner had come back. We explained we had been waiting a long time for her to come back but her response was “yes”. That might go some way in explaining why we were the only ones staying there.

The saddest dog in the world

We got the bus from Hikkaduwa to Galle on the one bus in Sri Lanka that went at a non-suicidal pace. However, the slowness and therefore relative safety of the bus journey was counteracted by the fact that the only seats left were by the one window that didn’t open. Sweaty is the understatement of the year.

Hopped off the bus at Galle and were immediately met by our entourage of tuktuk drivers. We explained that we would like to walk around and have a look for guesthouses by ourselves but one kept saying he had a “very very cheap” guesthouse close by – a snip at 2,000 rupees. We had been paying half that in Hikkaduwa so said no thank you. He said that our guidebook was out of date (which it is) and that we wouldn’t get cheaper than that, but off we marched anyway…to be met by another “helpful” soul round the corner. He too, knew a “very very cheap” guesthouse at 1,650 rupees, which we explained was too much but that didn’t seem to put him off shepherding us to it anyway. We got there and the sign said “Super Luxury Rooms” – budget indeed. Craig went inside out of politeness and they said the rooms started at 2,500 rupees anyway! He said that was out of our budget, earning shocked looks from the other English tourists who were in the reception (£12 per night is out of your budget??) who said that we would not find any rooms within the Fort of Galle for less than 2,000. Never ones to back down from a challenge, we politely shooed the tuktuk driver away and walked round the corner, thinking to ourselves that perhaps he was right, the Fort area does look pretty fancy. As this thought crossed our minds, a woman sprang from her shop asking whether we were looking for rooms. We said yes and asked how much: 1,500. Craig did his best plumber’s sharp intake of breath and asked if we could have it a little bit cheaper: immediately she said 1,200. Win!

The room itself is nice and clean with a four poster bed, a mosquito net that looks like it was made this century and is not peppered with mosquito-sized holes in it, a bathroom with four different showers (toilet shower, foot shower, normal shower and head shower, odd!) and a little window leading on to a roof space. It is however, approximately half the size of a postage stamp and as it is the top room in the house, we have affectionately (more or less) named it the Hot Box as the temperature never dips below 35 degrees. If it hadn’t been for the resident ants and the cockroach that scuttled over my hand (so gross) when I went to retrieve my bag from the floor, I would have slept outside to try and cool down. As it was, we spent most of the evening on the roof terrace having a couple of drinks – it seems like this is a daytripper town as everyone disappears at around 5pm and nowhere serves beer as they haven’t got a liquor licence. So our measly curfew, 10pm, was easily met as there was nothing to do and nothing open!

We did make ourselves some entertainment though…we met a Moroccan man called Hassan who ran the most beautiful antique shop stuffed full of amazing things. He was quite a character

and specialised in “the healing power of crystals”. He told me that my aura meant that I am adamant (I think he meant stubborn, which is true and that “if I saw a three legged dog I would swear it had four”) and that none of my friends like me as much as I like them (ouch!). He told Craig that he was “just a fairy, there is no other way of describing it”. You can imagine how difficult it was to keep a straight face! He said that he meant that Craig had so much love in his heart that no one could describe it and that he was a simple man because he didn’t want to show off how much he had.

Stubborn female, 27, seeks someone she can love more than they love her. Ideally, a modest, simple fairy of 31. Sri Lanka area. Contact toaustraliathelongway.”

A match made in heaven!

But anyway, his beard was awesome and we asked how he did it. We were sent off with instructions to go to a shop called The Lovers to buy some henna. I applied it to Craig’s beard and hair in the hope it would go bright red like Hassan’s

but sadly no luck as it just went darker brown. We hope to find a hairdressers who can turn Craig neon like Hassan as I think that would be hilarious. You can’t be a proper traveller until you have silly hair. I am excused from this exercise as I was born with silly hair.

We plan to walk around the Fort today and more of the town which is lovely,

go swimming – not diving from the 12 metre high cliffs into 1.5 metre deep water like the local boys do – and then get the bus to Mirissa tomorrow which is meant to be a really lovely beach. It will be hard peeling ourselves off it to head inland after that! We will also try to meet Joe and Gemma’s Sri Lankan friends there to say hello for them and to pass on a couple of presents.


4 Responses to “Travel goal number seven achieved. Sort of.”

  1. maybemasha 21 March 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Wow, Hassan is quite the character. You would think he would know that it’s best to flatter the woman in the couple if you want to sell your wares ;)

    Love the canine presence on your travels. Man’s best friend – through thick and thin it seems, even with a life as sad as Debris’.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    • toaustraliathelongway 21 March 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      I think he knew we couldn’t afford anything he was selling so he just chatted to us! Oh if we had the time, the bribes for the visa passes and the money we could have a mengarie by now – they really don’t look after their animals to western standards and every mange-ridden starving dog or cat breaks my heart! I hope we lightened Debris’ life a little by taking him out a bit and giving him a wash :) He was such a friendly dog but his eyes just said pleeeeeeeeeeease take me with you! awful to leave him behind…

  2. maryduranteyoutt 22 March 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Most butterflies land softly… yours just landed harder than expected.

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