27.02.2017 30 °C
9th February 2017.
West Coast of Sri Lanka
We've been in Sri Lanka a week now and having been in India we believed it would be of a similar environment but more calm and orderly. We were wrong (surprise surprise) and it's taken this week to adapt to a new culture and way of life and find our feet. We've had to change our plans due to my sprained ankle and this has meant we are travelling our route the wrong way around, starting with the beaches which are dotted all along the west coast and then going inland. I've felt like Goldilocks on holiday; one beach beautiful for sure but deadly quiet (Bentota) one beach too touristy and hectic (it's like a Russian takeover) but the third one (Unawatuna on the South coast) just right. The beaches differ greatly and Sri Lanka caters for everyone's taste, you've just got to find what you want which is the difficult part.
Since the hype of India we are feeling slightly underwhelmed at the minute as it lacks a certain charm India has. The highs and lows were so extreme there and it wasn't uncommon to experience a whole range of emotions in one single day but there was such a good energy everywhere and the places were so vibrant and the people so friendly. There is no other place like it and by the end it had won us over! So the transfer to Sri Lankan hasn't been quite as easy as we expected although each and every day we become more used to it.
A turning point in the last week was when we visited the Tsunami Museum. It was a raw and thought provoking account of what the Sri Lankan people have been through. When you watch natural disasters at home you're so far removed it's very difficult to comprehend but seeing just how hugely affected the whole Island was then and how it plagues them today explains a lot of the way of the people and you have to admire their grit and determination when everyone has lost so much. What with that and the Civil War this Country has been through so much more than we could ever imagine. Also talking to the Locals brings about a new perspective and once you crack their hard outer shell the majority are genuine and friendly. One woman had set up a few tables outside her home and we went there for a breakfast a couple of times. At the start she seemed rather annoyed we had turned up and demanded we had the scrambled eggs as it was easier to make but by the end she couldn't do enough for us, plying us with more food than you can imagine and telling her stories of her life.
We've also taken a day trip to Galle. It's the fourth largest City and once you get out of the modern part and into the Dutch fort area it's a beautiful place to wile away the hours. There are huge colonial buildings everywhere which has a variety of shops and cafes to choose from and the old fort is dotted along the coast offering fantastic views of the sea.
We were told by fellow travellers not to expect much from the food in comparison to it's northern neighbour but we've been pleasantly surprised. If you find a Local making food, simply with a couple of tables out the front then you're on to a winner. The home cooked food has been delicious and we have been tucking into huge portions of different Sri Lankan curries, often made out of the local fresh fruit and vegetables in season. I'm slightly concerned at the rate in which our waistbands could expand if we continue like this. We've also had the chance to test out our culinary skills with a Sri Lankan Cookery Course which was great fun. Making coconut milk from scratch is a rather more lengthy process than I imagined and the food was delicious. It is worth noting that the majority of accommodation has been more upmarket too although everything is much more expensive than India.
At the moment our time here feels like a jigsaw piece and we only have the corner parts. We're looking forward to filling in the gap and creating a well rounded view. We can't wait for Safari which is coming up in the next week and then we're heading inland to the cultural triangle. Exciting times ahead, the mountains await.
Love Susie and Rob