So I Wait My Turn, I'm A Modern Man
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
13Trip End Feb 05, 2011
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We had been told to visit the 'Ridden Bar' by the Lankan bartenders from the Kingfisher bar the night before. They said that on Wednesday night, all the Colombo girls would head down, as it was a Poya Day, one of many holidays these Lankans get. Ryan was excited, but started wondering whether the bartenders were full of shit. My bet is that they weren't really - we didn't stay around long enough to see - but I'm quite sure that decent Sri Lankan girls are much more family orientated, much less party-types. Thailand, a place that operates by the same Buddhist chapter as Sri Lanka, is similar - girls in the bars are nearly always prostitutes, while decent girls stay with their family until they're married
Ryan was turned off the Ridden Bar anyway. There were men going around with a monkey, who would sit him on your lap and then expect money by the end. The monkey tried to take Ryan's iPhone, but we laughed and paid him 70 rupees. When the man asked for more, Ryan refused and away we went. But later at the Ridden Bar, we noticed a different one of these guys (men with monkey's on a leash) surrounded by a group of polo-shirt wearing Lankans (the polo shirt often indicates they're from a higher class, I think) and of them grabbed him by the ponytail, smacked him in the face, threw him to the ground and took a few rupee notes from him. It was quite a sight - the man looked very ashamed and pathetic. I was distracted slightly by a gorgeous Lankan girl nearby, dressed in a pink dress. She looked nice. But we decided not to put much faith in the Ridden Bar's promises.
We didn't realise that, being a Poya Day (the holiday for the full moon), there was a ban on alcohol. Especially since the Thai Poya Days are filled with debauchery with the Thai parties! So the owner of a beachside bar served us beer in old-fashioned teapots. When Ryan asked what would happen if the police checked inside the teapot, the owner laughed, opened it up, and the beer's froth indeed looked like some sort of cappuccino. Nice.
Soon a group of travellers called us over to share in their own tea-party. A german guy, a belgian girl, and two more austrians drank with us into the night. Ryan showed them videos of his friends in Chapel St being shot in the arse, and they didn't seem impressed. They seemed more impressed with me, for being older and having a philosophy degree
So we woke yesterday at 6.30am, and made our driver wait for 20 minutes while we unfortunately made the wife of the guesthouse rush our breakfasts (which are pretty huge, a plate of fruit and 5 pieces of toast with sausages and eggs). We left around 7.20am and started what was a long day of sitting down. What did we see? Touristy things, of course, like ancient Buddhist carvings in rock, more recent concrete temples (with a wonderfully wise old man leading us around, someone I could actually talk to about the different kinds of buddhism in China compared to Sri Lanka and Thailand) and turtle hatcheries, until we had a huge expensive meal in Tissa before a few hours in a jeep in the Yala National Park. Here, a reggae-singing all-round cool-guy in dreadlocks showed us spotted deer, buffalo, bathing elephants and even a mongoose. We also sore a memorial for the tsunami, that took out 2kms of the park and many of his friends with their own jeeps - very sad indeed. But the tsunami damage has been noticeable everywhere, even six years later. We returned back at 10.30pm and went straight to sleep without dinner. Another day ticked off.
So what can I say about Sri Lanka? Firstly, the people are great. They are very children-orientated. Children are everywhere, and they are smiling and happy. I'm now at a point where I wave at every child who walks past - they all seem to have amazing, beaming smiles. And so, I find myself walking around in Galle with a smile on my face
Unlike Thailand, what you can see here are Lankans enjoying their country - they are all over the beaches and all over the streets - thus, you don't have to feel that uncomfortable tourist feeling that you might in Phuket and Samui, where only the westerners/Chinese/Japanese seem to be enjoying the place.
But anyway, we've covered a fair bit of ground in the last week and now we're off to Hikkaduwa - I need to rush back to the Fort, pack and get in a three-wheeler. Until next time.