The internet has been down for a week because the modem was blown by a thunder and lightening storm. I spent last week staying in a guest house the Seaside on Medaketiya beach in Tangalle. My family have been decorating for the SL New Year which is on the 13th April and they had are getting the floors pulled up and tiles put down as well painting all the walls, so it was easier to move out for the week.
On Sunday I moved in to my new place the Chalet, which is on the Matara Road at the other end of Tangalle. Medaketiya is the main, largest beach in Tangalle but is very exposed and was very damaged by the tsunami. There are quite a lot of locals hang out at night on the beach drinking arrack which is the local tipple (coconut based and quite rummy tasting - nice with ginger beer and lime!). It is very dark at night because there are no street lights so it is not the best area for me to be living long term. The area I have moved into in the Chalets is in a more touristy area of Tangalle although there aren't any tourists just now!
It is a small, sheltered bay that I stay in and the Chalets is a wooden restaurant on stilts and you go down the stairs and onto the beach where there are palm trees and hammocks. There are 3 rooms round the side with a little balcony and it is a really pretty little view. It is kind of the vision I have imagined and hoped when I knew I was coming to Tangalle in the first place - because I wanted to live on the beach, but I didn't actually realise until I came over that I would be staying in Netolpitya as opposed to Tangalle. The owner Sue is quite over-protective and keeps telling me that I am a member of her family now! So the last couple of weeks have been a bit disruptive on the accommodation front but that should be things sorted out now. Unawatuna
The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a beach fest, which is one of the major benefits of being based in the middle of the Southern province of SL and the beaches really are gorgeous. I spent the weekend of the 28th and 29th at Unawatuna which is a few miles South of Galle and one of the more happening beaches.
It is the most Western I have felt so far and is where a lot of people go on holiday which is quite obvious from the amount of bars, restaurants and accommodation options. One of the CWW volunteers was heading back to the UK so was having a leaving do in the Happy Banana and it played the kind of music and had the vibe that you would imagine with a name like that, but was quite an amusing night.
Spent the rest of the weekend swimming and relaxing on the beach, which was really nice. The sea is so nice to swim in - so warm. Due to the touristy nature of this beach there are a lot of Sri Lankan beach sellers which in a way is quite good because you can buy sarongs and tops etc for around £1 but they get a bit annoying after a while when they insist on showing you everything in their bags after you have already bought something.Mala's House in Middeniya
Mala is the finance and admin girl in CreativeAction and she is very sweet and has been very helpful to me since I have been here.
She invited me to go and stay at her house for a night so I could meet her parent's and see the area where she lives.
Middeniya is a very rural area about an hour North of Tangalle. Her parents making a living through cultivation and they have a huge garden which they grow pineapples, bananas, coconuts and loads of different flowers and plants which they then sell at the local market. We passed water pumps in the village because a lot of the houses don't have running water in that area, but Mala's house does - just outside shower and toilet facilities. I forgot to bring my mosquito net and had run out of repellent so slept with my sarong round my head like a mummy because I was paranoid about something going in my mouth when sleeping. Mirissa and Weligama Bay
Went to Mirissa this weekend which is another beach town but not as commercialised as Unawatuna.
The beach is quite secluded and there are just a couple of beach side cafes with some SL surfer dudes playing Bob Marley tunes. The waves here are a lot rougher and more geared for surfing. Did some body boarding which was a bit of a work out.
Went for a dive on Sunday in Weligama Bay with a couple of other volunteers. It was quite an easy dive that we did because I hadn't been for 2 years and Louise hadn't been for about 9 or 10 years and wanted to get back into the swing of things gently. The PADI instructor is a German guy who has lived out in SL for 16 years and is a friend of my families who put me in touch with him. We didn't see any turtles which I was a bit disappointed about considering there are so many in the turtle hatchery's and conservation places along the South Coast, but there were lots of really pretty fish and coral.
Actually remembered more than I imagined I would and will possibly get in another dive before the end of season (end of April/start of May when the monsoon weather starts and the sea gets pretty rough).Book Launch in Colombo
Went to a book launch in Colombo on the 3rd April. We did it as a day trip which is a long way to go from Tangalle because by the time we picked everyone up and dropped them off the travel time was around 6.5 hours either way.
The book launch was all in Sinhala too, although the book was in English! I also took the opportunity to go to the Indian Embassy to organise my Indian visa which was a bit of a time consuming process!
This week is a short week because the office is closed for a week from the 10th to the 17th because the 12th and 13th is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration time (Aurudu festival) It is a very auspicious event, and the actual time when they celebrate and eat the meal is determined by astrology. I still have to finalise plans for what I am doing, but need to do my New Year gift shopping on Friday and have been invited to celebrate with Sena and his family on Sunday itself then will probably head with them up country to the Monaragala area a few hours from Tangalle where Sena is from in SL. This is quite a rural area and we will stay with his parents and celebrate with them for a couple of days. So I anticipate it will be quite an interesting cultural weekend!