From the semi
heights of Sri Lanka, I head on to
the southern coast, just to relax for a couple of days.
Then it is home to the freezer.
6/2. It is a bit sad to say goodbye to the little family, I have been staying with for the last two days: Hotel Werella Walawwa, Girulla Road, Mirigama. They are so nice, smiling and friendly, but here is no more for me to investigate. For two nights in a spotless clean room with new installations, two great meals and two morning teas, they only ask for 3000 LKR. There are not much more to look at where I am going, but at least there is a sea. At first, I drive down A1 towards Colombo, but turn south, 20 km before the awful big city.
At first, I do get to see open fields and patches of what appear to be nature, but pretty soon, it is all buildings and quite some road work. Some of the large road trees is flowering massively. It look like cherry trees form a distance, just even more dense. I can't determine what species it is, but they sure are impressive.
I do a few stops along the way, one it to enjoy some large eagles, playing above the field, next to the road. I try to find into some wild nature, but it is too close to the capital, I think. It is even hard to park the car, and even harder to get back out on the road again. I have to use all the nasty tricks I have learned the last two months - and that is a lot!
You can overtake, if the approaching vehicle has time enough to brake and drive into the side of the road. If you can squeeze a corner in between two cars, there will be room for you. You don't have too look for other cars, they will blow their horn, if you get in their way. Mopeds, motorcycles and tuck-tucks don't count at all. Stay clear of the busses! In any doubt, blow your horn, and do it anyway.
The next way point is another large city; Kotikawatta, and I spend a long time negotiating its roadwork and clocked traffic. Then I head for Moratuwa, and hope to cross the Southern Expressway. I have had it with endless villages and intense traffic for one day, and the last 70 km, all by my self on a excellent highway sounds just fine!
By some obscure reason, the GPC make a giant detour loop up through Colombo. I end up using around two and a half hour, to move only 20 km by air. But I get to see the giant traffic jam the National Party's convention causes along with the overfilled Colombo in general. I reach the sea in Moratuwa, but then it is inland for around 15 km to catch the highway.
The road is a thrill, no traffic at all, smooth sealing, no roadwork, no interference. I get the right turn-of, but the signs and the GPS disagrees totally. I choose the signs, and end up in the long roadwork, I now remembers from last time. At least, I remembered to mark the place where the highway can be accessed.
I find Hikkaduwa, and head west along the coast. I have a wake memory of how the hotel looked, and I find it! At first, they are a bit business like, but after some chat, they loosen up, and I get a great room for a good price. Last time we were here, we only had lunch and a look at their tiny sea-turtles. It turns out to be named; Beauty Coral Hotel. They have made money enough, and don't really bother to run it as a hotel - unless they like people.
The 185 km have taken quite some energy, and I make a pitstop at the balcony in front of my room. The view it through the screw-palms to the sea, ten meters away. After having recharged, I make a short stroll along the perfect sandy beach.
Back at the room, I try to connect to the internet. Either here are no cell-connection, or I'm already out of GB again. If that is the case, it is real expensive! (later, I figured I had the first month for free, buying a modem). I hope the hotel have a connection, I need to exchange some mails. Else, I'm sure a cafe in the nearby tourist trap will have internet.
A few facts, which I haven't been able to fit in anywhere. In contrast to so many other countries I have visited around the world, I have not seen a single live or dead rat here. Why, I can't figure. I have seen 1000s of live dogs, but not a single dead one. That is odd, considered they tend to sleep on the road, completely neglecting the traffic. That said, I have to add quite a lot of them limp or simply lack a leg. Most of them seems to have scab and quite some would benefit from more food regularly. I have seen around 50 persons begging, half seems to be all right, the other half baring some kind of handicap, and a few looked like they was into some sort of drug.
7/2. I start the day with a extensively cleaning of the car, outside as well as inside. It is amassing how much it improves the look! I do prefer the scruffy look while touring the remote places, but not when I hand back the car! A cup of tea, and I somehow got my self talked into a dip in the sea. Here is a perfect lagoon with golden sand, and a water-temperature around 28C. I spend almost an hour in it, without getting cold. The shower afterwards, on the other hand, is cold as always - big mystery to me. Then I make some accountancy regarding the tour - actually not as expensive at I first feared.
Around noon, I drive the eight kilometres back into town. No really purpose, except spending time and perhaps find a book. Like so many other cities in Sri Lanka, it is extremely elongated. Only one or two houses on each side of the road, but a couple of kilometres long. The first bit is shops, just like other villages and cities, but then the resemblance ends.
There is a harbour, and it is even cleaner, than the others I have seen. And as a new, they ask for a 25 LKR Gate Pass fee. Here are everything from the small outrigger canoes over motor-powered dinghies to rather large vessels. Next to the harbour is the local vegetables market, cleaner than usual too. The entire city is slightly cleaner than the rest, but tourists make up 95% of the income, it seems.
I see way more pale people than locals. The shops have souvenirs, colourful clothing, surfboards and endless restaurants and cafés. I look into several shops, hoping to find a book in English, but not a single. Then I spot a private Tourist Information sheet, and give it a try. Here are around 20 books, and the first I pull out is a Danish - but a romantic one. Well, can't win them all. The next is Danish as well, and a great detective book; Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: I Pagt Med Djævlen, with 518 pages - ought to last more than one day. Not that I'm bothered with English, but I better train my Danish....
There is none in the sheet, but I try to ask in the restaurant next door. It is their sheet, and I can swap with the book I just read, even wait till tomorrow - I didn't bring it. For that courtesy, I fell obligated to buy a pot of tea at their place. Then I head further out the road, giggling inside about the weird looking tourists, mainly Russians. I don't hear Danish spoken, but here is a Danish restaurant, and the Danish books considered, here must be quite some Danes.
The beach is a chapter by it self. Endless golden sand, beach chairs, white and red people is minute clothing and shops to match. I only do a short walk, to make sure I'm not missing anything. I have a longer chat with a tuck-tuck driver, and he admit; this is better than Jaffna.
I have spend the better part of the afternoon in Hikkaduwa, and I might even do it again tomorrow. Back at the hotel, I order dinner at six, and continues on my book. After dinner, I chat with the manager, telling me about his children in Switzerland and France, and how they survived the tsunami. The owner joins in, and it get late before I get to work on the diary and few photos. The fishing boats have been passing us out to sea, while the hermit crabs have been passing us on the beach.
8/2. I pretty much copy yesterdays activities; a long swim, then into town to wander pointless around, read and drink tea, and relax in general. Somehow, the city have lost its attraction, and pretty soon, I head home. A bit of washing my travel cloths, packing the "suitcase" with what I don't need on the flight, and then some more reading. That is about that...
9/2. The hotel manager want to join me to Colombo, and I drop him off at his brothers place around noon. Then right cross Colombo, passing the White House and all. I do a few stops on the way, and end up at my very first hotel at three. My plan was just to hang-out, but I get a nice room with a working-desk for 1000 LKR, and that is fine with me. Actually, I am a bit concerned about the last 20.000 LKR I have; will I be able to turn them into $ or € in the airport or at home? Surely not at my own bank! I knew I withdrawn to many, but I thought I would have used more the last week. I know; a luxury problem!
I sit in my rather comfortable room and work with some pages for my site, finishes of the diary and budgets. Luckily, I have plenty of reading material, but it is a long 12 hour wait for the flight at 4;20 in the morning. The hotel is infested with young and very loud talking Americans, exchanging "intelligent" conversations.
Once again, I am amassed about the fact almost every one of the 100s of Sri Lankans, I have told I came from Denmark, actually know the country, and connected it with wealth, milk, Carlsberg and bacon. Both kids and old farts. Among the Americans I have meet through time (mainly students), only around 10% have a vague idea of a European country, some think it is a city in Germany or France, more than half say; they never heard of it.
It feels like time have stopped - and it has! Suddenly, while I look at it, the computers watch jumps almost three hours, and now I'm running late! No time for the else so well planned shower, just throw it all in the bag and rush out to the airport.
I'm here ten minutes late, but the car-guy look a bit more pissed that that. It turns out the boss have send him out to me me two hours before, and he was here in real good time. And his boss have a surprise to me as well: The GPS cost me 5000 LKR, and I get $55 less back at my deposit. Not much I can do, but accept.
I have not bothered taking any photos today, although we did take the coastal road instead of the Express Highway, I use to drive at. But here tend not to be anything real new and interesting motives by now. The few photos from the last part is added the the former slideshow here.