Mean streets of Hikkaduwa

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 15, 2012

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, January 20, 2012

I destroyed my ankle the other day, and am wondering how I did it. It was either overstretching it from too much snorkeling or too much morning beach running. I told Estela I think it was from trying to climb a coconut tree, and she asked me why in the world I tried to climb a coconut tree. In my manliest voice I said "because we're on a tropical beach and me want coconut." Then Mason told her that I got like six inches off the ground, and my head was actually lower than it was when I was standing up. He went on to explain how pathetic it looked. Thanks son, someday I will pay you back when talking to your girlfriend about any number of things. Too bad my retribution has to wait ten years.

The fact is, there is no reason at all to climb a coconut tree, except for the novelty of it. We have a kindly and smiling old man who lives on the property with us who is like a monkey. He scoots to the top of these coconut palms like he’s walking into the kitchen, twists off some coconuts and then crabs back down to the ground without breaking a sweat. Before I leave here, as long as my ankle has healed properly, I will learn to do that. Mason and Shelby want to also, but Adriana has absolutely no desire to do it and questions where the profit is.

We have a second guy staying in our compound who seems a little bit creepy to me, and doesn’t seem to have any useful function. He comes into the house randomly to help out by slicing fruit or doing the dishes, and told us he would wash our clothes for us, and I told him okay, what harm could it do? So Estela handed him a basket of clothes, and he shoved the entire load into the washer and turned our colors and whites into colors and yellows. I had a good stern talk with him, telling him that every human being since the beginning of time, and even some smart animals, know you don’t wash colors with whites. The girls had to throw away their entire wardrobes they purchased in Thailand, except for the offending yellow pants that Adriana bought for a bargain at a Bangkok bazaar. The guy sulked away and we haven’t seen him since. Yay.

The surf came down today to a more reasonable size but there were still some big waves pounding the shore right in front of the house. Mason and I went out bodysurfing for a while, and then went down the beach and rented a couple of boogie boards and went out again. The girls joined us for a while and we all got swept into a pretty good rip, washed out past the line of the surf and had to do a little bit of hard swimming to make it back to shore. The girls got a little bit spooked and came ashore after just a few waves. Mason and I stayed out for a while longer as Estela snapped pictures from the beach. What kind of a weenie have I become that I am always waiting for the waves to get smaller?

We have been traveling around town a lot on the main highway, which sits right outside our gate. A couple of times each day we go into town to grab a bunch of bananas or some bread, milk or whatever we need that day, or to hit a beach to go snorkeling where a barrier reef protects the inner bay. Usually we just jump on a bus, the sort that you might have ridden to school when you were a kid, with no lap belts and seats sized for oompa loompas. The buses roar down the road at unbelievable speeds, passing each other, regardless of the head-on traffic, right through the middle of town. The driver has all muscles clenched and you can feel the quiver and oscillation of his subtle course adjustments reverberating as pitches, rolls and yaws through the steel structure of the bus, and his wisdom gives him the tendency to speed up when you would encourage him to slow his ass down. This is not to be, and would challenge the mental acuity and muscular reactions of any self respecting Sri Lankan bus driver. We haven’t seen the results of any accidents here, so I guess it works.

We get on the buses mostly because they are very cheap. They cost the equivalent of ten cents, as opposed to the more expensive tuk-tuks, which cost (gasp) almost a dollar. We take a wild stab of where we want to stop and we jump off and then start to walk around, as one stop is as good as the next. The tuk-tuks, which we didn’t ride all that often in Bangkok, are little three wheelers that in Sri Lanka are covered in the back (open in Thailand). They fit our family well as long as Mason is sitting on my lap and one of the girls is sitting on Estela’s lap and we keep our elbows tucked in so they don’t get sheared off by a passing bus. Often, the driver will veer off into the dirt shoulder when a bus or cargo truck smokes past us in either direction, but these guys are nimble drivers and have been doing this a long time. These tuk-tuks cost about $3000, which is a pretty sturdy investment in Sri Lankan terms. We would like to take one of them home to drive around San Clemente and I am wondering how long we could get away with it.
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Rhonda Sippola on

I'm so glad Estela bought the new camera before you guys left! I'm enjoying the photos so much!

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