Its that time of the year again.

Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
Apa Villa, Illuketia

Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Thursday, December 22, 2011

My, how the last year has flown.  I cannot believe we have just celebrated Christmas once more. Last February we decided that a trip to the Maldives was in order, and given it will be under the sea in 50 years time we ought to see it before it disappears entirely. Christmas was as good a time as any and it didn't take long for the jungle drums to beat. Before we knew it our party of five had expanded to 14. This time we met up with two sisters and their offspring on a very pretty island 30 minutes flight from Male. The children were very over excited about flying in a float plane and it really is amazing to see the attols from above. There were 8 cousins ranging from age 6 to 21 although we were missing one cousin who was on the ski slopes. On arrival the children seemed to scatter in a million different directions and half the time we didn't know exactly where they were but the island was so small it didn't matter and invariably the younger ones were hanging onto the shirt tails of an older cousin. There was quite a lot of hero worship going on and the two big cousins were incredibly tolerant of the younger pesky ones

Lily had been talking non-stop about sleeping above the water - our little villas were on stilts over the ocean and you could climb down the steps straight into the sea and set off snorkeling. It is amazing what a difference a year can make. A year ago we would have opted to stay in villas planted firmly on terra firma for fear of a child deciding to take a midnight swim. All this traveling has clued them up quite a bit and of course they have done some growing anyway.

We went diving with the aim of seeing some whale sharks. Unfortunately there had been a day of solid torrential rain in our little pocket of paradise and the water had been churned up so visibility wasn't great. I had heard such good things about the diving in the Maldives but I guess it cannot be perfect all the time.  The snorkeling was very good though and there was lots to see. On our last day, just as I was checking for stray items of clothing on our deck, I glanced up and saw a turtle idling by. They really are the most amazing creatures.

After 5 days of island life, we set off, en masse, to Galle in southern Sri Lanka where we had rented a very pretty villa which was once a tea plantation and is surrounded by paddy fields. The birdlife was amazing with bright yellow birds, orange and red birds flitting about. Every so often you would hear something crashing through the trees only to look up and see monkeys chasing each other and bouncing off the roof. There was plenty of space for the children to run around and a lovely pool, lots of very good food and some very delicious cocktails!

Holidays are generally not about early morning starts, but we all got up incredibly early one morning to go whale watching. Bleary eyed adults and excited children bobbing about on a big old boat looking out into the blue.  We did see a couple of Blue Whales although I gave up trying to photograph them as all I was getting were pictures of the sea.  They are enormous. Apparently their heart is the size of a small car and a human being could fit in their arteries, lying down. Now that is big! We also saw some Spinner Dolphins. I had no idea that there were such things as Spinner Dolphins. Anyone who has seen the David Attenborough series will know all about them, but we haven't watched that series yet, so it was a first for us. They jump high in the air and literally spin right round a number of times before hitting the water again.

Emma and I went diving and it was an incredibly rough day on the water. Getting out of the sea and back into the boat was not only a challenge, it was also exhausting and although the experience was interesting, it was not one I would be in a hurry to repeat.  I was so disoriented that when I got off the boat, I fainted, twice. Thankfully I was caught before I fell like a stone into the water! While we were being tossed about in the diving boat, everyone else was at the beach and they met an English woman who mentioned there was to be a party at a very pretty hotel in aid of a local charity. The children were weary, so us girls stayed behind and held the fort, while the boys went to check it out. Apparently, it was all set in a beautiful garden, with a band, lanterns, picnics, 250 people and a bar.There was an auction. A couple of jugs of moscow mules inspired some serious bidding and hey-ho, our team "won" 5 nights in a lovely villa called Traprobane Island. So guess where we are going in November!!  Their recollection of exactly how this happened is a little hazy and the boys looked a little worse for wear the next morning.

Christmas day dawned bright and early, as it does in most houses with children.  Much relief from everyone that clever Santa had found us and after a delicious breakfast outside in the sunshine, came the serious business of presents. Thanks to Skype, we were able to wish grandparents a Happy Christmas too.

We spent a day in Galle Fort exploring and discovering the pretty shops, surprise, surprise! Annabel and I opened Emma's eyes (and wallet) to the perils and delights of jewelry shopping. Can't believe it has taken this long! Uncle Nick very kindly bought the three younger boys some very bright, flowery, colourful, Hawaiian shorts and shirts. They were a huge hit with the boys who skipped about with glee and wore them constantly for the next three days. It was definitely something only an uncle could get away with buying! (Note to self: put Hawaiian ensemble in pyjama drawer!)

Quote of the holiday came from Georgia. One if not both of her siblings were irritating her beyond belief and Georgia walked up to me, eyes flashing, and said, "You couldn't be happy with just one, you HAD to go and have two more!!"  

We're still laughing!

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