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10/12 2013 - 10/2 2014

   Map + Plan


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 After the northern part, I now reach the north-eastern coast.

5/1. The Lonely Planet guidebook is pretty simple regarding the area I'm now entering: It say absolutely nothing about it! On my detailed map, I'm able to find Chundikkulan- and Kokkilai Bird Sanctuaries. They are only accessed from a rather small road, and I guess my elderly car won't appreciate it at all. With that in mind, I skip the first one, and head straight for the larger city of Mullaittivu - of which LP book does not speak either.

 It is a brand new and smooth road, leading through huge fields of rice. The rain is drizzling - when not pouring down. It is an unusual low-pressure along the coast, which might last several days. I don't really feel like leaving the car, but on the other hand; I having a hard time looking out the wet and steamed windows. Tinted windows are even worse in the rain, scratched, hydrophobic and dark. To add to the misery; the water is pouring into the car, making the carpet smell even worse. If I open the window, I get soaked, if not, I can't look out.

 I do several tea-stops in tiny villages. In one place, I'm paid back in bon-bons, change is hard to get bye here. The area seems to have suffered a lot during the war, many buildings are still filled with bullet-holes, those in use still look quite scruffy. The gasoline stations contain only gas in one litre glass bottles. Then again, the few people, not riding a bicycle or walking, have a moped. Private cars are unknown around here.

 I try to do a few walks where the nature still remains, but unfortunately, it is usually where yet another battalions have their headquarter. I pass five or six, along with some navy platoons. Foxholes on every coroner, even in the rural areas, but the guards all wave back with a big smile. Guess they are bored on a road, only used every second hour or so.

Just like yesterday, I pass many houses with a "RED CROSS" painted on the roof. First I thought of hospitals, but I guess it is houses for the farmers, sponsored by the Red Cross. Here are Buddha temples, Hindu temples, mosques and churches, but I only stop at a single temple. The average Buddha temple is painted in red and white stripes, and it might have been the inspiration for circus tents?

 As I pass Mullaittivu, the farming vanishes, the military not. Here is a brand new and smooth road, which the GPS does not know about, but I must admit; I do enjoy it. I was hoping it would pass right over the small straight at Kokkilai, but no such luck. I end up in a strange gathering of buildings, and little military, at the lagoon.

 Before I get to investigate, my car is surrounded by 15-20 young men, paying way too much attention to my person. They want to guide me anywhere, sell me cannabis, ivory items and so on. The strange lack of military personnel make me leave right away - within the car. I did pass a battalion five kilometres ago, and I figure I have to go back anyway.

 Before I give in, I try to have the GPS leading me the shortest route around Kokkilai Lagoon. It leads me down grass-overgrown wheel tracks, leading to nowhere at best. I guess the new road have changed a lot around here. Back at the battalion, I interrupts a cricket mach.

 The big chef invites me to his shelter, watching the game. I get a cup of tea, while he tell about his country. He let an officer draw down some way-points, leading me deep inland again. None of the names can be found on my map or the GPS, but I've give it a try anyway.

 The area is now mainly large trees with dense under-forest. Large ponds are filled with birds and lotus, and some with water buffalos. I stop at a shop-like sheet, and cause some disturbance. I recon they are not that used to pale people around here. The next stop is at some huge boulders with a degoba at the top, and a misty outlook.

 Here are more wild nature and military presents, and that combined with the rain, keep me in the car most of the time. Although the solders are friendly, they do not like cameras around their nests. I reach a narrow, serpentine causeway, and I have to walk back, to look at the fishermen. They use throwing-nets to fish in the shallow lake, and the catch is only small fish.

 I've been thinking of changing the front/back wheels on the car. Like any other front-wheel driven car, the front tend to be worn down significantly faster. When the road change to mud, and the rain picks up, I get that thought again. Then a tire-shop make me decide. Why bother myself, when I can support the local community with 200 SLK?

 The plan I got for negotiating Kokkilai Lagoon works perfect, and I reach the sea at Polmodai/Polmudday. Would be easier, if they use same spelling every time! From here, I can follow the costal road down towards Trincomalee. The sea displays some great surf, but I'm here all by my self.

 I check the new market and the few shops in Polmodai. Like so much else around here, it is sponsored by either EU or USAid. Here is a strange "we are not here" atmosphere. I continues, trying to investigate the nature when possible. Lagoons, marsh and bush dominates. I find several interesting areas, but fail to find what I'm looking for. And the rain tend to pick-up every time I leave the car.

 More farmland and lagoons, some even with rather high mangrove. I start looking for a hotel at four, but I have to drive all the way to Nilaveli, before I find one. It just turns dark, and combined with the rain, I'm pretty desperate. The first one seems to be a sign for a huge resort, but in their driveway, a humble place offers a room for 1000 LKR. It is nice and clean, and it even have toilet paper, soap, bed sheet and towel without me have to ask for a first. But I can't get dinner.

 I walk down the road to the posh place. Six uniformed employed just in the gate! It is absolutely massive and real fancy. Besides from the many servants, only three Russians are found here. I get a good chicken soup and grille pork chops. Strangely, they are served at a low coffee table, and at the same time! With a coke, I have to pay 2100 LKR. I don't dare to ask what the rooms are here!

 Back at my humble place, I feed 100s of mosquitoes while working. They seems to be attracted by my repellent and the clashing. I thought I got a bright idea, and hang the mosquito net from the bed, over the table. Then I learned the net was too big for the animals! I really hope the weather improves, and the area will be worth the donation (of blood) and the extensive driving.

6/1. Another rainy day, and I guess the diving is out of the question. It is out of season, it have been raining quite a lot, and the waves have been high the recent days. All in all a recipe for a bad dive with no visibility. The new plan is to go inland to the mountains once again, and see if I can find the sun.

 But first, I will drive 30 km back to have a closer look at the area I passes last evening, in the heavy rain and dusk. The nature looked interesting, and some bridges might offer some great sceneries. If just it would clear up a bit. Walking around with the umbrella is one thing, but the milky images I get is useless.

 Never the less, I do a few stops to investigate the bushland along the cost. At first, I find little of interest, then some huge piles of dung. Are here elephants!? Next pile convinces me, and then I hear a big tree be broken real close. I think it is time to drive on, right now!

 I stop a bit further up the road, with significantly less bushes. I reach the sea, and it is significantly calmer today. I get a chat with a local fisher, who warns me about the elephants. Those are jungle elephants, and way more aggressive and jumpy than the savannah type. I should at least keep 50 meters distance, and never surprise them. Well, does it count, if they surprises me?

 Yesterday's waves have brought a lot of crocks and other marine life to the beach. I collect a sample and make a photo. A dead sea turtle have also been brought up, to great joy for the crows. The road was overtaken by the waves last night when I passed, and now it if full with sand.

 I reach the big bridge, and get a cup of tea with the fishermen. The most significant around here is, if you ask me, the huge dung beetles. Their balls are egg sized. The other side of the bridge have some huge boulders, overgrown with bushes. Some monkeys scares me, when they suddenly jumps right over my head. Those elephants still lours in my mind!

  I returns, and head towards Trincomalee on the costal road - still in the rain. When it clears a bit, I do stops, open areas or not. The beach is occupied by zebu and screw-palms, but the area is - despite the pouring rain - apparently too dry for orchids.

 When I reach Trincomalee, I head for the coast. Here, a huge Portuguese fort; Frederick dominates the peninsular. Further out, a temple sit on the steep rocks. I chat with two German tourists, doing the tour on public transport. Mainly because they did not find an offer on a rental car, like I did.

 The temple's area offers great views to the sea with small fisher-boats and Trincomalee city on the other side. A huge golden statue look significantly different to others I have seen. Either it is not Buddha but Hindu, or it is in another state of his life?

 The fort's area is, beside for the 22. Battalion, occupied by spotted dears and some orchids in the huge trees. Unfortunately, the soldiers have little understanding of my needs to get close to them. I walk outside the fort through the gate from 1676. The fort was originally build by the Portuguese in 1623, then captured by the Dutch in 1639. The French failed to get it in 1672, but a hundred years later, the British succeeded, just to loos to the French same year. Next year, they gave it back, and the British then gave it to the Dutch. They only had it in eight years, then the British captured it back. Lot of commotion for a ring of stones...

 I do the walk around without finding anything especially interesting, and head of. On my way out of Trincomalee, I passes a great mosque. The rain picks up, and occasionally turn into cats & dogs. That, and the piles of elephant calling-cards at every place I stop, keep me in the car till I reach the enormous Kantalai dike. It is real high, long and wide, offering a great view over the tank and the forest on the other side.

 From here, I enter the dense forest. The first mountains are covered in mist and rain, and I fail to escape the rain, when I pass over the first pass. I reach Habarane, which have some hotels. I find one with hot water, but it is only 16;30, and I figure I can scalp a bit of tomorrow's sights.

 The nearby jungle ruins of Ritigala should be some awesome "Indiana Jones" settings, and I find them at dusk. I see no elephants, but clear signs of, they are present. The peacocks on the other hand is sitting everywhere, looking miserably in the rain.

  Returns to the hotel for a great dinner, containing of a prawn cocktail, dewilled pork and fried bananas with ice. A pineapple juice and a pot of tea, and I have to pay 1500 LKR. I pick-up the computer, and start working in the restaurant. Several pale people passes bye with their local drivers. It seems like I'm at the local hot-spot. The rain continues, and the weather forecast have a full-hedge for tomorrow. It might be a sunny day, it might be pouring down, or it might be a mix. So helpful!

 I make a slide-show for the north-east coast encounter.

 From here, I go back into the central lowland once again.

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