exploring sri lanka’s western province part I
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
One of the (many) great things about this trip was that we had no real plans, it was a “take it as it comes” sort of trip. For us, it most definitely worked as we had the opportunity to experience and live the real Sri Lanka.
After having had a nice meal we popped over to the beach. At this point we started noticing how very friendly Sri Lankans are. Some want something from you but others are just curious to find out about where you are from as well as to practice their English. One such chap who’s name escapes me came and started chatting with us on the beach. He showed us how to catch crab fish from the sand (Eric got the hang of it quickly, I didn’t…….at all). He then brought his mate who climbed up a coco nut tree and brought us down fresh coconuts, peeled them and chopped them, we then had coconut milk directly from the coconut. I really didn’t have the heart to tell him I can’t stand coconuts! He “casually” mentioned he was a tour guide and if we were interested in visiting places he had a mini bus he could take us in. we mentioned we were interested in seeing the Elephants, Botanical Gardens and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. He gave us a price and we just left it at that. We were also given a price by someone else before deciding to go with the chap from the beach; we did this on Tuesday.
Having chilled on Friday, we popped over to reception and ordered a couple of Tuk Tuks to take us into town and in particular to any big markets. We headed off to Panadura market which was pretty big. Loads and loads of fish stalls (not quite my cup of tea but still…) as well as numerous shops and stalls selling fruits, veg, clothes etc, etc, etc. we had a wander around trying to take it all in and then headed back to our Tuk Tuks which were waiting for us. After that it was off back tot the hotel to chill out by the pool and have some food before heading to the beach to play. If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka (which I would whole-heartedly recommend), it’s important to be aware that the beaches in this area have pretty strong currents. Locals go for swims etc, but don’t venture too far out. If you are looking for a beach holiday with swimming etc, etc, it is probably best to head further South towards Galle.
One person’s reality is another person’s adventure.
The best adventures are the ones not planned. I appreciate that in some cases planning is required (fail to plan, plan to fail and all that) but sometimes it is great to just “go with the flow”. We decided that we would catch a train and head off to Galle. We arranged for a couple of Tuk Tuks to take us to the train station. We arrived at the station and bought some tickets to Galle. We were advised by a very friendly chap (who would later change our day) to buy second class tickets as they are better than third class. Obviously we looked like we couldn’t afford first class, either that, or first class wasn’t running on a Sunday! We purchased our tickets to Galle which is approximately 1.5 hrs on the express train and then waited for the train to arrive. We got chatting to the friendly chap who told us to buy second class tickets, it turns tout he lives in Jersey and is a French language student there. We chatted for a long time and then our train arrived. It wasn’t as quiet as we had been lead to believe but it seems to be that you can always squeeze a few more in. Eric and family squeezed their way in and found some standing space as did Cathy and Katja. I sort of squeezed in between a few people hanging out of the doors, great fun! Katja soon got chatting and playing with a couple of local kids and had a great time. We settled into our standing positions enjoying the fresh air from the open doors in the carriageway while holding onto whatever one could to try and avoid falling onto someone causing them to fall off the train and a certain death! During all this we continued to chat with Mr friendly chap and he suggested we don’t go to Galle but get off at Ambalangoda which is one stop before Galle. He suggested we took the river tour, visited the mines, the turtles and the temple. Having not gone out with any plans in particular, we took his advice!
Part IV – Exploring the Western Province