A Sri Lankan Holiday

After a breakfast with unlimited Carlsberg in a 45min plane ride to Colombo, we arrived to our final destination. ”Welcome to Sri Lanka” smiles the immigration agent while stamping our free Visa in our passport. ”Have a great stay”.

Colombo is the capital of the country. The day before our arrival, 400mm of rain flooded the city. It is pretty unusual at that time of the year, since the monsoon is normally finished. But a sudden sun reappeared the next day, and evaporated all the mess away. We steped outside on a warm and dry ground, ready to vacation in the 4th and last country of our itinerary.

Due to a very confused and complicated understanding of our Indian Visa, we had to stay in Colombo on our first day and go figure this very frustrating situation at the Indian Embassy (in Nepal, we had to go through the same process and lost a full day of our trip waiting at the Indian Embassy for a ”transit visa” needed to re-enter when we already paid for a full multiple visa back in Canada to avoid this situation. So our question this time was: do we really need to go through this again?). After a long tuk-tuk ride, got dropped at the wrong place and waited an hour outside the Embassy under the heat of an angry sun until the end of their lunch break, after climbing the ladder of Indian bureaucracy, going from official to official, after repeating ourselves more than enough, we finally got a blury answer from a senior official with broken english: ”Ok”. ”So… are you sure we’re good?” ”’Yes, ok”. His hesitation and unclarity, but positive answer was enough for us. We wiped our sweat and tuk-tuk to a hotel.

The next morning, we caught a bus down to our hotel booked in Mirissa. To save some Sri Lankan Rupees, we opted for an non-AC local bus (that’s right, one more of these). lluminated Hindu God figurines are displayed in the front while garlands around the ceiling lights are wobbling through the fast and furious ride. Music playing some ”good” and loud Sri Lankan boom boom accompanies the crazy coloured carpet holding the top interior of the vehicule. After a disagreement over fare and an argument about basic courtesy with a greedy ticket collector, we managed, after a very unconfortable last 3 hours of our 4 hour ride, to get to Mirissa.

Paradise Beach Club is a great paradise for budget travellers like us ( prices are high in Sri Lanka, so to try to rebuild the economy affected by the recently ended civil war, the prices for foreigners are boosted up to 70% compared to the locals’ ). For a very attractive rate, you have a bungalow, half-board plan (2 buffet meals a day), access to the pool and are situated right on the beach. Mirissa is a quiet crescent beach with turquoise waters and playful waves. It is not as developped as its Northern neighbours, but offers the calm and tranquility we need for the last days of our trip. 10 days of purely doing nothing more than relaxing.

To spice up our lazy routine, we rented a motorbike for a few days. Cruise along the sea road and explore the other beaches and towns. We rode up to Hikkaduwa where we scuba dove 50ft under the Indian Ocean. We rode down to Polehna where we photographed the stilt fisherman doing their work. I even took a brief motorbike lesson that I immediately failed by driving the bike in the ditch first try. ”Fun times”.

The mean clouds now paint the sky in black and grey. Thundershowers have been covering the land since yesterday. The sun is missed, but the rain feels fresh and clean. We were spectators of a sky lightning show last night. Loud and shaky thunder and bright lights. A lighting struck the palm tree 12m in front of our eyes. The powerful show of light and sound left my heart shaking with fear and excitement. The power has been off for a little while. Not really sure how long it would last. Last night dinner was candle light. It is actually not too bad. I take the occasion to write, read and drink a glass (or few) of wine.

It has been 2 months of tramping the Indian Subcontinent, trekking Nepal, visiting Tibet and now vacationing in Sri Lanka. A short travel filled with discoveries, adventures and interesting encounters. I have seen the real colours of a country, the reality of its people. I learnt great things about life, perhaps some about mine. I haven’t quite found what I was looking for, whatever it is, but I am surely, a travel at a time, getting closer to it. Now, I can’t wait to be on the road again and plan my next trip. Itchy feet.