Beaches and beautiful beasties, final Sri Lanka post
The food, the mountains, the temples, the people are all such a wonderful joy to experience in Sri Lanka — and then there are the beaches and let’s not forget the wildlife. Like I said in my last post it’s a magical place. Our last three nights were spent near the ocean. Two nights were at a resort in Beruwala (here’s a link to it http://www.palmsberuwala.com). It was peaceful and stunning and, best of all, not crowded. We practically had the beach to ourselves, although we did meet up with some fun folks from Israel. One night we ventured off the resort to ‘party’ at a hut bar on the beach. While the sign said bar, all they had was the local beer and a bottle of gin we could buy off an old man. What the heck, we opted for the gin. Besides a few locals, we were the only customers there, but we had a great time singing Bob Marley songs and drinking really bad gin. It’s all good, afterward we went for an ocean swim and then a pool swim before going to bed, which I swear washed away any real hangover (thank god!).
The next day we were off to play with baby turtles, eat a lovely lunch at another hut-on-the-beach place, and take a poolside nap. Two days at a beach resort is not enough time —- next time I’m making sure I have more beach days built in, and I totally plan on seeing more beaches as well.
We didn’t ask about the tsunami, but a local told us that area was damaged by it and that the beach landscape is different now. I don’t think I knew Sri Lanka even existed before then, and now that I’ve been there I cannot imagine the horror it was for these people. There is no where to run to. Our driver told us it took them by such a surprise because while they certainly get flooding and landslides from rain, they’ve never experienced a tsunami before. At least with the rain you know it’s coming.
Our last night was spent in Colombo. We were expecting our hotel to be a dud, but it was lovely. We were on the 8th floor with a beautiful view of the beach and the commuter train that runs parallel to it. And, yep, that train is packed with people, some hanging out the doors. Next time I will also try out the train. We met a couple from Ireland who said it goes up into the mountains with some amazing views.
Before arriving at the beach we visited the elephant orphanage, which was a bit of a letdown because there were so many people there, and it felt touristy. But, I got to spend time near elephants, and that was cool. I love the fact that elephants and monkeys roam freely there. Sadly poaching has taken its toll there as well, which is why the orphanage was originally created.
And, I’m rambling away not knowing where I want to go next with this post — because, again, there’s just so much to share. So, just going to blast some photos and captions to tell the rest of the story.
We got to go white water rafting during one of our drives. I think the one that eventually brought us to beach resort. OMG it was a lot of fun, and we also got to swim in the river. The mist rose above the mountains, birds sang, monkeys called out — it was totally something out of an Anaconda movie BEFORE the snakes arrived. (photo taken from Ashley’s page)
A snake charmer performed in the lobby. I was so freaking scared. Those are 3 cobras dancing and sometimes striking at him. He brought out a baby one too, and he walked around the lobby showing us a hissing viper. I discovered that we Americans do not own the title of stupid tourists. Some Europeans from various countries wanted to hold the viper or get too close to the cobras. I swear I thought one lady was going to step on the cobra basket. I was like WTF! Back up people.
One of the best treats of all: our driver Chomi! He brought us to meet his family, which isn’t something he normally does (but I like to think he thought we were special— or maybe he just really missed his wife and knew we loved the local cooking). His wife and mother cooked us a fantastic lunch, and Chomi being the cool dude he is bought Ashley and me a couple of bottles of Lion (the local) beer — they don’t drink. It made my day seeing how proud and loved he and his family are, and I’m so grateful they shared that with us.
If you ever decide to book a trip to Sri Lanka, I highly recommend the tour company we used. They’ll customize it to what you want, and we thought their prices were good. Be sure to ask for Chomi as your driver. It’s because of him we got so much of the local flavor, and I think he had a good time with us as well. (link to tour agency: http://www.alphatravels-holidays.com). If you message me I’ll pass along the booking agent we used email info.
and for now it’s good night Sri Lanka. Until the next time!