Time for the beach and also a cricket match.

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Where I stayed
Gems Gardens

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From Ella I caught the local bus going to Tissamaharra. If you look at the photos you will see the road winding along and down the side of the mountain. I think my bus driver qualified at the Kamikaze School for Bus Drivers. This is the first time in my life that I have actually thought about getting of a vehicle. It was the most nerve racking, frightening ride I have ever experienced. I think we passed every other vehicle while going 3 times the speed of others. Hooter blaring. It was scary. 

I think I was in a state of shock because as we arrived in Tissamaharra, Which looked a bit dead, I decided to carry on to Tangalle. Another great guest house right on the beach and very quiet. The main town is hectic and busy but then there is a beach road which is lined with restaurants and guest houses. These places took a hammering in the 2004 tsunami and it is incredible to hear the stories of what happened. There was no warnings and the water just swept in up to 2nd story height, washed in for over kilometer and then just receded leaving total destruction. It all took about 15 minutes. 

Tangalle has some great palm tree lined beaches, warm water and as it is near the end of the main holiday season it is relatively quiet and very few people about. Suits me.So it's lazy days. Wake up, swim, breakfast, lay in the hammock, swim, lunch, hammock, dinner, bed. It's really tough! The beaches are covered in shells and I found a Cowrie Shell, which I have always liked. After 20 minutes I had over 30 so gave up picking them up as they were everywhere.

23 March
Woke up this morning in a good mood as I have decided that I am going to watch the first ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The guy running the guest house tells me it is about 2.5 hours by bus. He gives me written directions in Sinhalese in case I get lost. After an hour the bus stops at a crossroad in the middle of no where and the driver tells me this is where I must get off. Fortunately I meet some locals in cricket shirts and they agree to help me. Once again the conversation revolves around cricket and every in in Sri Lanka loves Hansie Cronje. One guy even tells me he is personal friends and still emails him regularly. Even when I tell him that he died in a plane crash years ago he doesn't believe me. After about 15 minutes a bus arrives and with my new found mates we head off. The road passes through little villages but is mostly bush. There are signs warning about elephants crossing. We eventually arrive at Sooriyaweva which is a small dusty village with a busy bus station. Following my cricket friends we now board a 3rd bus and continue through the bush for about 10 kilometers. We arrive at the stadium it it is literally in the middle of no where. No hotels are guest houses so I don't know where I am going to be spending the night.

I am about 2 hours early and the place is deserted except for masses of police. They direct me to the ticket box and the prices range Rand 1.40 to 14.00.  It is uncomfortable hot so I ask for one in the stands under shade. I walked into the stadium, after being thoroughly searched, it is also deserted. No food or drink kiosks just lots of police. It is huge field and from the spectator areas to the boundary it is about 35 meters. The few people at the wicket are tiny. I find the area that I am supposed to sit in but cant find the specific seat. After about six stewards have scrutinised my ticket and they cannot find my seat I am escorted into a large air conditioned box with comfortable padded chairs. Bliss. Slowly a few people arrive and I also find setting up a hot dog stall. At least I can get something to eat. The teams are warming up on the field and a few more spectators trickle in. I was hoping for masses of fans but this is disappointing. There is maybe a 100 people. Anyway the game gets under way and Sri Lanka won a boring game. Maybe 1500 people turned up and not the masses of cheering shouting fans I expected.

The most exciting thing was when a swarm of wasps flew into the rafters of the stadium and everyone in that area had to be moved. There was a power failure for about two hours so this meant the game finished late. Oh yes the - the hot dogs were good! 

So after the game finished at about 11.30pm I needed to find somewhere to sleep. As the stadium is in the middle of no where I decided to catch a bus to the nearest big town which was about an hour away. The bus is full of semi drunk youths who are just screaming and making a noise. I pretend that I am sleeping in the hope that they will leave me alone. At about 12.30 am I arrive in Habantota to find the streets deserted and everything is closed except for a little stall selling tea to the fishermen. They point me in the direction of a hotel and when I eventually find it there is no one around. There are 2 keys on the reception desk and I am tempted to take one and just sneak into the room. I tried to sleep on a couch in reception but there are too many mosquitoes. Just as I am about to take one of the keys a car pulls up and two guys take the keys. They give me strange looks. As I cant sleep I think it will be better to go and drink tea with the fishermen. They are friendly bunch and very eager to show me the nights catch. Mostly large Tuna, the biggest being 94 kg. These were all caught on small fishing boats and only using hand lines. It cant have been easy. At about 2.30 am a bus pulls up and I find that it is heading back to Tangalle. I explain to the ticket collector that I need to get off in Tangalle and he must tell me when we get there. The bus has a big screen TV and there is a video of some Sri Lankan band blaring out even though most people are trying to sleep. Maybe it's to keep the bus driver awake. Just after 3.30 am the ticket guy wakes me up from my doze and tells me Tangalle is the next stop. I am nearly home. The bus pulls over and i am barely off and it roars away. It is only then that I see I am in Matara which is about 30 km past my stop. The bastards! 

Nothing to do but wait for another bus. As I am walking to the bus stop a guy stops and asks me I am going. When I tell him he follows me on his bicycle and then demands that I pay him a 'guiding fee' as he showed me where the bus stop was. All of 50 meters. I politely tell him to go away as my sense of humour is at an all time low. For the next twenty minutes he tries to hustle me for cigarettes, sings me Bob Marley songs, offers my dope and then finally asks if I want to go home with him. I am seriously thinking of punching this skinny little shit hard when the bus arrives and I refuse even to think of sleeping. The bus fills up with elderly people carrying huge sacks of fruit and vegetables. I presume they are going to market. I get some very strange looks. It's about 5 am and I finally get back to Tangalle. All that is left is the 2 km walk back to my guest house. All I want to do is have a shower and sleep. When I arrived I find that the gates are locked and I can't get in. I walked down to the beach where I know there are some hammocks and sun beds. It has been an exhausting 21 hours to go and watch a mediocre game of cricket. I guess that's why it is called a day/night game.As i get to the beach the sky is beginning to get light and I sit on the rocks with a cigarette and watch a spectacular sunrise. Life is good.
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Lu on

This blog made me laugh!
Praise God for sunrises!

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