Back to Tangalle

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I don’t know what it is about Tangalle but I just love it here, in all of Sri Lanka this is the place I want to be, I’ve completely fallen in love with the place and it’s people!  I check back into Hotel Harmony and straight away meet Fasloon and Dihan, Galle and Ruwan and other friends I had left behind.  It looks like they are getting ready to party so needless to say I join in and Galle goes round for a bottle of Arrack for me (well it would be rude not to), it’s a great night getting reacquainted with everyone and I’m delighted to be back.

I’m now classed as one of the locals, I eat their spicy food and chili’s at local places with wee old men and not only that, I eat with my hand, which I must admit I prefer now rather than using ‘tools’ of any sort!  I have string hoppers for breakfast, which I alternate with bread or rice some days but always have a fish or calamari curry.  I go and buy my fish direct from the men at the harbor first thing in the morning or go round to the fish market if I’m out later in the day, then buy fruit and vegetables from the local stalls with Fasloon teaching me how to make curries ‘Sri Lanka style’!  Tangalle has an impressive market every Wednesday and Sunday in the main square which has hundreds of sellers of fruit and veg, spices, household goods and much, much more, it’s generally undercover but that’s to keep the sun off everyone! 

 I’m taken out to nearby Dickwella to see a huge ‘Budda’ statue and on route have fresh King Coconut at the road side before steeling a shot of Ruwan’s tuktuk… they’re great fun to drive and I love the chaos on the roads.  You need to dodge cows and buffalo and goats etc. many a man or beast could walk out in front of you while you’re driving.  The ‘Budda’ is impressive and there are ancient drawings on the walls on the way up the stairs to the top, it’s being restored at the minute with tiny gold mosaic tiles covering the whole statue, impressive.

 I spend my days mainly hanging out with Fasloon though and we’ve pretty much become inseparable, whether it’s pottering about down at the garage for repairs to the motorbikes, trips to see local sights and places, or just chilling out down at the beach.  I’ve borrowed a motorbike from the Hotel and although it’s only a 125cc, that’s classed as a big bike here and the owner almost has a fit when I first take it out, the sheer panic in his face says it all… can she really go that bike??  They all just have wee 50cc bikes for running into town with but other than that they never go far.  I’ve a few favorite spots normally ride out to, one is the paddy fields on the way to Beliatta, I find the color of green so vibrant it’s almost not quite real… my other haunt is the end of the beach which I love.  The looks I get are hilarious even Fasloon has noticed how obvious they can be, some people their jaw almost hits the floor as they openly stare, I always acknowledge them with a nod or smile or a wave and it really makes their day.  

I’m invited into many locals homes for lunch or dinner and I always feel really privileged by their kindness, out comes the best crockery and although I try to reassure them that I’m perfectly happy sitting on the floor eating with my hand, they always insist I get the best.  I always end up eating at the table with the man of the house, with the woman then eating after wards and normally in the kitchen out of sight, sometimes I can get them to come and join in but it’s a hard task.  I always take some sort of gift with me when I’m invited, normally some sort of cake or biscuit tin, but realistically I don’t know what I should be taking and hope I’ve not offended anyone!!  Other occasions I’ve provided the fish and veg (on advice) and the food is always incredible, it seems to me that everyone in Sri Lanka can cook and are exceptional at it, the Sri Lanka flavours are amazing although very spicy but I love them!  I’m invited often out to Fasloon’s family and extended family and friends etc. always treated like a VIP, I can’t get over the kindness of everyone I’ve met in Sri Lanka, they’ve been the most beautiful and genuine people I have met on my travels…  

I spent a couple of days with couch surfer hosts Firdouse and Shishama and their 5 children in Wallasmulla, Mi Ella, which is nearby to Tangalle, I found them on the website and it was a very positive first experience of actually staying with a local family.  I met Meto from Egypt at their home and we hung out together for a few days, I took him to Tangalle, Unawatuna and nearby Mirissa and his favorite beach was… yep you’ve guessed it Tangalle.  One of the days we decided to cook for the family for putting us up and while in Tangalle I got Fasloon to take us to buy fish from the market for a fair price and we ended up with really nice tuna, dinner proved to be a great success and the family were delighted by our efforts complimenting our cooking.  I have to admit it was pretty successful evening!!  

Firdouse does a lot of good work in the local community helping out poorer people and trying to provide some sort of assistance, he hatches chicken’s and gives them out to families setting up the hen house, to provide them with fresh eggs on a daily basis, he is very kind hearted and takes me to meet some of the families.  I end up travelling through town in the back of his three wheel machine with one of his children sleeping in my arms and the looks I get are priceless, one of the families he takes me to meet there are six women, every one of them have jet black teeth from chewing the tobacco, it’s really not an attractive look but I’m treated like a VIP as they make me tea and give me the best seat in the house, once again a truly humbling experience, these people really do have nothing but are so welcoming, unbelievable and it sums up the Ceylonese people.  

I only leave Tangalle as I have arranged to go to the Kandy Perahera, which is the main yearly event here in Sri Lanka, it’s a must see if you’re here at the right time and I was delighted when I realised I was.  One of the Kandy drummers that I met previously, Buddika, arranges everything for me accommodation, seat etc. and it’s nice to see him again with the rest of the troop in the actual parade, and what a spectacular event it is…  

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