In keeping with my vow to write more this year, I wrote a diary every day in Sri Lanka but as is often the case life took over on arrival in Australia. Only now we are in the throes of a heat-wave and avoiding the outdoors today have I had time to select a snippet from each day’s writing and blog it.
11-1-17 - one day in Colombo
To be honest I was beginning to doubt that Sri Lanka was a good idea at this point in time. It sounded like the thing to do and then leaving Bhutan proved to be more heart wrenching than I thought possible and going home to a comfort zone to lick my wounds seemed a very attractive option. But flights had been purchased and bookings had been made and some research had been conducted so this morning it was time to bite the bullet and see if we would rise to the challenge.
12-1-17 – train to the tea plantations
The train was a treat and our fellow passengers in third class reserved were a group of lively uni students on an outing to a hill station similar to the one we were headed for. They sang, laughed, and slept their way to Kandy, at which point a huge group of Chinese tourists boarded and engaged them in more singing dancing and frivolity.
The tea factory was his (the driver that is) highest priority and not really ours but it proved to be informative and interesting. We stopped along the way when we spotted tea pickers on the slopes and were able to walk up to see them close up and personal. It's a bit disconcerting that every photo taken is followed by a request for money, but I guess wages are low and picking a minimum of 20kgs a day of small light leaves is an arduous task.
By mid afternoon the heat was on and ocean views appeared. The coastal strip is largely guesthouses and eateries with only glimpses of the ocean through the development. Pretty little seaside towns gave way to much bigger cities and then settled back into a linear strip of beaches and basic tourist facilities.
Early evening we returned to the beach to stroll along the sand at the water's edge in the cool twilight. Ending with diner and beers on the beach made it a totally relaxing day and something you could certainly get used to. It had me thinking if we could set ourselves up in Cambodia in a sustainable way, what a luxury it would be to only volunteer and work when and where we wanted to. As Lisa pointed out this should be the year of firsts according to numerology and literally for us!! 2016 was a 9 for endings and completions while 2017 is a 1 and a year of new beginnings. Positive new outlooks and beginnings and doing it our way will keep us happy and focused. "The year of firsts" is the new mantra for me.
The sun rose a red ball and hovered over the harbour and by 7am we were motoring out to sea through gentle lapping waves. I sighted peacocks and peahens high on the ridge above the bay as we departed. Within half an hour I was desperately ill and wanted nothing more than for the boat to stop rolling and thumping over waves. Along with half the passengers I spent the rest of the time eyes closed and head down trying to overcome the nausea of the motion. Ian did see backs, tails and spouts of water from the blowholes of several blue whales albeit from a distance. I however could not look up for even a few seconds without regretting it and eventually accepted one of the boatmen's offer of lying down and that is where I remained until land was mere seconds away, some three hours later.
We have been really impressed with the variety of bird life we have seen here and especially at the beach. It started with pelicans in Colombo and bulbuls in Nuwara Eliya but since we have been at Mirissa we have spotted peahens and peacocks just roaming around, a white throated kingfisher and sea eagles as well as several of the birds that appear on the notes. The environment seems clean and the air must be too to support such diversity. Certainly the beach is tended and cleared of trash but in actual fact most people seem to dispose of rubbish responsibly so even in the early morning there is very little to rake up or collect.
We enjoyed the early morning swim and walk on the beach this morning and were happy to taste the bread offerings of the little van than drives around tempting people with its "short eats". Filo triangles and bread jam at less than 50 cents each were our selections and they turned out to be an excellent addition to the morning coffee.
19-1-17Our final day and an early morning dip in the ocean and final walk along the beach before packing up to leave was definitely required even though it ensured damp bathers and cloths needed to be transported. We had our usual brew of Ambient coffee and a few selections from the roaming bread tuk tuk for breakfast and then returned to the beach one final time to admire the tree and its unique blooms, we spotted a couple of days ago. Some research since then has revealed it is a Barringtonia Asiaitica. We took last longing looks at the surf and were happy to have spent so long at the beach.