More Arak! (6 bottles later!)

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Tsunami Hotel (renamed Tuna Hotel)

Flag of Sri Lanka  , North Eastern,
Friday, June 10, 2011

We had been given a recommendation in Ella of where to stay in Arugam Bay and so we head to the Tsunami Hotel, which is a bit of a rubbish name considering the place was wiped out in the 2004 tsunami. The sign outside the hotel said "The Sun Hotel" although it was originally “The TSUNAMI Hotel”!  The lads told me that they were about to rename it the Tuna Hotel. We had a barbeque in the gardens that evening, right on the beach, with a young couple we had just met (Cat and James) and, as it was James’ birthday, we thought it had to be a good excuse for a party! Luckily enough, Mambo Bar (not the original – another fake!) was having its usual Saturday night party and so the 4 of us head along the beach with the lads from the hotel. What a night! Dancing barefoot in the sand, surrounded by palm trees in the open bar / dance area, was such fun! The music was pounding dancey techno and all of us gave it large until 2am – that’s a mega late night for us at the moment!  Grey was completely inebriated, with a silly grin on his face most of the evening, running round the dance area (I can’t say floor cos it was just the beach!) having dance-offs with the locals! Highly amusing! When we left it became apparent just how drunk Grey was, when he was finding it hard walking in a straight line and the sand didn’t make it any easier! He had a bit of a sore head in the morning and just a tad dehydrated! Brilliant night out with Cat and James though – what a birthday party for James! Paradise is definitely a one road town or an island, we’ve decided! Spend the next few days in the sea, jumping huge waves - but scarey at times, but great fun. Trying to decide when we are actually going to move's a difficult one!

Having originally said we'd stay in Arugam Bay for 3 days, we were still there a week later! Spent the days chilling, reading, jumping waves and drinking with the lads and other guests in the guest house. We did take the motorbike out one day and drove about 45km north – amazing how many road blocks were still in evidence form the fighting, but they gave us a bemused look and waved us on. This was lucky actually as we should have got our international driving licenses stamped in Sri Lanka if we are going to drive – oops! We only found this out as George, an Aussie got stopped and was asked to see his – a cigarette for each of the policemen seemed to do the trick though! We were hoping that being on the bike would mean that we had a cooling breeze as we drove along, but nope, it was boiling hot. Passed loads of Buddhist temples and Hindu temples and loads of roadside shrines to Ganesh, which is obviously the favourite Hindu god in Sri Lanka. The Hindu temples were really lovely too – highly decorated and colourful. We also saw fishing platforms out in the rivers and lagoons that the fishermen stand on to fish. They are handed down from generation to generation, keeping the best spots in the family. When we arrive back in Arugam Bay, there are buses everywhere and hundreds of locals on what is usually a fairly deserted beach – ahhh Poya Day, Full Moon. Apparently, every Full Moon and New Moon, the whole place gets a half days holiday – something we should think about in the UK, as it’s always a good party on a full moon! It was weird going out for lunch and seeing soldiers walking down through this quiet little backwater, with huge machine guns strapped across their chests, but, again, a hangover from the war in Sri Lanka. Apparently, now there’s no fighting, all these soldiers have nothing to do, so they are called Special Task Force and are now based in Arugam Bay – bit weird! We had an introduction to some more local animals – first a smallish lizard stuck in our sink, which even the lads were afraid of and we had to get "little Brother" aka “Dancing boy” (Watch out for him in Bollywood Movies in the future!) to get rid of it for us. Then the next day, I went back to the hut and saw movement on the door and this huge lizard jumped off of the door! Not kidding it was at least two feet long (including tail), I nearly pooped my pants! He ran across our little patio area and tried jumping over the wall 3 times before he made it over. Then we had the squirrely things fighting on our roof every morning, which was made of palm leaves so was very noisy,  a monkey being attacked by crows and our very own ant colony! Naleen, the owner, was great fun – he introduced us to lots of his business partners (he has 18 in all), including Steve (from the UK) who has another guest house just along the beach. We all had dinner together one night and everyone got rather wasted on Arak. It made me laugh that on the bottle it has VSOA – like VSOP – same same but different! We finally decide to leave Arugam Bay and Naleen (the owner) lets us use his personal minivan (with a/c) to go to our next destination – with a charge of course!
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