|Hanging out on the SLR|
Background: Last weekend the whole family " loaded up the truck and we moved to Galle/Unawatuna. Beaches, pools, lots of pretty Russian chicks." (sung to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies!")
G did an awesome job of driving down. It took 40 minutes to get out of the city and 40 on the highway (and a very nice one by the way). We pulled in about noon and got to our hotel, Thrapoban. Immediately, we all felt at peace, the boys had wifi and we had separate, and certainly not equal rooms! In a nutshell we had a blast. Mika, G and I spent hours tumbling in the surf. I'm still finding sand in my netherlands (and I don't mean Holland!).
One day we took two tuktuks ( say that 3x fast!) into Galle Fort. It is an old Portuguese/Dutch fort that managed to survive the tsunami intact due to it's ancient block walls. The rest of the town outside the walls was not so fortunate (refer to Youtube for the footage). Like any good disaster the carpetbaggers came to town in the aftermath and snapped up the best properties. They have turned them into funky cafes and fantastic boutique hotels. It has a bit of a Potemkin feel to it unlike Penang or Melaka, where people still actually live and work, but it's lovely none the less.
G drove us back up on Monday, dodging trucks, busses and mothers picking up their kids at school only to arrive home and realize that we left our phones, chargers and dirty laundry down in Unawatuna. "Please insert your favorite expletive here!" Obviously it was my fault! (ha!) So I begrudgingly volunteered to go back and get our crap. At first I was PO'd, then I realized what a golden opportunity to get my groove back! Woo hoo! So Thursday morning, I got my act together and went to Colombo Fort station at 7:00 for the 8:30 train to Galle. I forked out my rupee 160 for 2nd class and entered into the unknown! Okay, a bit early, but I'd rather be there and have the lay of the land versus frantically trying to suss it out at the last moment.
|A bit deserted at 7:15 a.m.|
Anyway, managed to get on and get a seat. I figured out pretty quickly that you want to be on the sea side going down and the town side coming back, if you're doing a turnaround trip. You can't believe the good feeling of being on your own in a foreign country, going somewhere on local transportation, no phone (though someone has a vague idea where you might be), a little bit of cash and some local knowledge. I felt so awesome, just like the old days!
|Behold the hideous treatment of foreigners in this country!!|
I hied myself out to the hotel to retrieve our stuff and got a nugie from the "is she or isn't she pregnant" receptionist! So having accomplished what I needed to do, I decided a spa treatment was in order so I went to The Sanctuary. "Oh my Lord" was it awesome and the young, virile masseuse was not too bad either. It is truly amazing how at first, you're a bit freaked because it's a guy and then once he starts it's like "okay, please feel free to do whatever you want! But he doesn't want to do anything that he's not paid for because you're a fat old foreigner!" Life is cruel!
|A view of our apartment from the tracks!|
So afterwards made it back to the station for the 2:45 to Colombo. Everyone had appeared to get the memo that you catch the train a bit further up the tracks so by the time it rolled into Platform 1 all the seats were taken! So much for my 160 rupee investment in a second class seat! So I had to stand for the entire ride up on the sunny side of the train. Everyone wanted me to see the beautiful ocean and being Canadian I couldn't say "it's lovely but my retinas are being burnt to a crisp. May I sit down please?" But this too, turned out to be a fun blessing as I got to hang out the train and chat with some people. I felt so "subcontinent!"
Anyway after 3hours standing, the ride was begining to wear on me and I was hoping that the train would stop at "Slave Island", the closest stop to home. No such luck. It actually stopped a little bit beyond there and if I had had any cajones I would've jumped off the train and walked home. But people live right up to the tracks so I wouldv'e jumped into someones's living room. Could you imagine that at the end of the day having a large, sweaty foreigner come flying through your shanty wall? (I do like the imagery though!). So I got home, showered and got in yet another form of conveyance and headed out to a Wine and Cheese at the HOM's place. It was fun and I felt quite exhilarated by my bravado. What was also nice was that G was so proud of me and kept telling everyone, "not everyone would've gone local just to get the phones!" So I felt vindicated by and for myself. G was just the icing on the cake. It was really fun and I look forward to going further afield. Life is good.