welcome to paradise!
“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”
This quote by Rudyard Kipling couldn’t be truer! A good friend of mine always said, every country has a distinct smell. Not something I had paid too much attention until then but after he told me this, I started noticing that each country has a very distinct smell. I am not being rude or disrespectful, it is just something you notice…or I do anyway.
Sri Lanka is 2.5 hours ahead of Qatar, I had one phone which had set itself automatically, my other one hadn’t and neither had Cathy’s phone. We had set the alarm for 11 am; we had gone to bed at 4 am after all. By 8 am we were awake and ready to explore our immediate surroundings before being picked up at 11:30 to go to our main Hotel in Waduwa. we hadn’t noticed any of our surroundings before going to bed; come on, after all, it was 4am and pitch black. We realised at this point that we hadn’t really stayed in a hotel but a house which is rented out, we were the only people staying there. It was basic as I remembered from a few hours earlier before going to bed but at least it was clean(ish). The chap who met us earlier on was already there and wandering around the place. It was at this point which I noticed how friendly everyone is. There were a few maintenance people there too. First thing he did was apologise as there was no electricity at the moment, something I hadn’t noticed but also didn’t really care about too much as I was simply amazed by our surroundings. We walked up to the water’s edge, we were mesmerized by the wildlife as well as greenery all around. Yes, it was basic but truly beautiful. As we chatted away with our host (man on motorbike from the night before) we were joined by a fisherman on his very simple boat, I politely declined the offer of jumping on the boat with him as we had to have breakfast and head off, otherwise, I would have been very tempted to do so!
Breakfast was provided by the restaurant next door, I must admit it was a bit of a weird breakfast as all they had was sandwiches, but hey ho, it was food. a little later I popped over to the restaurant to buy some water for our trip, it was at this point in which I failed to check on currency conversion and accepted the price told….big mistake! I had been warned to be on my guard when it came to prices as they will try and pull a fast one if they can. In western terms I had a bargain, in local terms, I had been overcharged considerably, lesson learnt.
Driving to Waduwa
Our driver picked us up not long after breakfast and we were back on the road. The drive to Waduwa took us on the expressway and then a little across country which gave us an opportunity to take in some of the sites. Mile after mile we were falling in love more and more with the place. Its beauty, its smells and everything about it, we simply fell in love with.
We arrived at our hotel about an hour and a bit later. To one side there was wide river and at the far end the sea, perfect combination! We received a warm Sri Lankan welcome by friendly and helpful staff, we immediately felt at home. We were shown to our rooms and soon settled in. The room was basic but it had air con and an en-suite, had our own terrace to the front leading to beautifully manicured and well kept gardens with a wide variety of shrubs and trees.
We had a look around and familiarized ourselves with our surroundings; then sat and had some food in the restaurant accompanied by several Lion Beers, what a great way to start our holiday!
Part III – Exploring Waduwa and Panadura