Tales from Serendib #2 – Meet my friend, the Cockroach

The next in the series…

I now enter my 2nd week in Sri Lanka. Bec has finally finished my full Ceylon induction – not only have I been fully integrated into the ASL furniture but I’ve been introduced to all the weekly fixtures of Unawatuna life. I ended my full induction at the Happy Banana beach party, the local “club” in the loosest of terms, where sarong- glad local surfers bop the night away alongside, mainly European, harempant- wearing newage hippies.

I also christened my little flat this week with a small soiree with Bec and Sudu, plus Irish Ann and her cheeky toyboy Dimitu (who thinks he can teach me to surf – good luck to him!) as a thank you for looking after me. Cooking is quite a mission -saucepans are virtually tinfoil and with only one hob ring, I try and limit the washing up! Any suggestion for ‘one-pot’ dinners greatly welcomed. My rice and curry diet is going well, but I was pleased to see the height of sophistication for both expats and locals – the almighty chocolate doughnut. Food falls along similar lines either rice and curry or brioche-like rolls. I have yet to try ‘hoppers’ a deep fried pancake mix in a bowl shape.

I also had my first cockroach episode (and I’m assured it won’t be my last) and yes I unashamedly got the landlord, Bubba, to kill them for me. I’m now armed with a can of cockroach-killer! Similarly, I am becoming accustomed to other Sri Lanka wildlife from the squirrels that ate my loaf to the geckos which are my first line of defence against inescapable mossies.

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My time this week has been split between the office and the swimming pool. Many Sri Lankans have a deep mistrust of the sea, partly due to the Tsunami and are unable to swim. Within the week, one local man lost his life attempting to cross a particularly treacherous stretch of beach with chopping currents at Weligama. Sri Lankans can’t escape the sea from the stereotypical stilt fisherman to the tourism which relies on the eroding sandy beaches. With many living on the coast, more could be saved through an understanding of the water and not just human lives.

ASL runs a community swimming pool which attempts to build confidence in the water for locals. I have proved to be an added novelty for both children and staff and was able to spread the delights of ‘Stuck-in-the-mud’ to another generation. Somehow I agreed to a trek up the Unawatuna Mountain to the Buddhist Peace Pagoda for the sunset which ties up this email quite nicely. Next week adventures at Koggala Lake and a weekend in Colombo!

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