This is the latest in an archival series about three months I spent in Sri Lanka in 2011…
Well, unlike last week, I’m not sure where to start this instalment. I think from the beginning… are you sitting comfortably?
My Indiana moment: There is a point on the edge of the Una beach where you can watch the sunset over Galle. Deciding to scramble to a higher point for a better photo, a weathered Lankan man with wild white hair beckoned me to the other side. It seemed like a moment from Raiders of the Lost Arc, where the mysterious guide rises from the mist! This wise fellow, turned out to be an Ayurvedic doctor and insisted on covering my arms and legs in green slime. A surreal moment… slathered in luminous green oil on a rock face at sunset, there were definite Temple of Doom undertones.
So my week started off rather intriguingly. Monday, other than the medicine man episode, we celebrated Bec’s birthday at Wijaya Beach with a beautiful pizza and a Passionfruit Daiquiri. I also met Sophie, a Danish au pair working in Colombo – more later. Mid-week a trip to Tangalle for the foundation-stone laying ceremony of a new Turtle Conservation project – a very auspicious affair with ribbons flying and Buddhist chanting.
The weekend. With another change of plans, I headed to Colombo rather than Ella (I will make it eventually) to stay with Sophie and the Danish family she is working for. In true Nordic style their house was a modern minimalist palace and I was delighted to be presented with a spring mattress and hot water. I caught the bus early Saturday and made it to Colombo after a 3 hour ride. I hit the ground running, meeting up with Sophie and Fang (The mother) and immediately hitting the shops. It was good to flex some plastic! Lunch at Barefoot, the biggest fairtrade shop in Sri Lanka – it was “research” for my dissertation.
After a long day shopping, we unwound at dinner. Another surreal moment – eating Cheese Fondue in a Swiss restaurant with a Danish family in Sri Lanka! We went for cocktails at the Cinnamon Lakeside Bar, the hang out of Colombo’s trendiest. Somehow Sophie managed to get me singing with the house Jazz band in front of cocktail-sipping crowd.
We then joined some other friends of mine at the Taj Samudra Nightclub, who coincidentally also happened to be partying in Colombo over the weekend. As always seems the case, we eventually got home nearing 5.30. Sunday, after a very long lie in – I repaid the family for their hospitality by demonstrating how to poach the humble egg. Unsure why, they seemed to have an undying-enthusiasm for poached eggs?
Sophie and I had a browse round the National Museum where the building is the most fabulous part and ended up at Barefoot again for another Jazz lunch. (Jazz will forever remind me of Sri Lanka now!) Two guys from the previous night joined us and I was lucky enough to hitch a ride back to Una, as one was heading to Hikkaduwa. But in the true Sri Lankan spirit of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’, I had to agree to a date with him tonight. I can tell you now, as a guy from a party he’s the life and soul, but this will be our first and last date. Even his name I find slightly annoying – Jazz. I’ll have to deliver the news later…
So, in a nutshell I have managed to condense this week to just over 500 words. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll make it to Ella this weekend – but in Serendib who knows?!