India lite - the resplendent island of serendip

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jul 15, 2012

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Monday, December 22, 2008

We were spoilt rotten by Tom's parents for two weeks over Christmas and New Year in a fantastic villa called Malgadera, equipped with four-poster beds, swimming pool, palm-tree climber, cook and room boy. The house overlooked an enormous paddy field frequented by lanky storks and was set in a beautifully maintained garden, laden with coconuts. It was bliss.
Geetha, the cook, was a force to be reckoned with. She would often remind us about our tardiness when it came to meal times and would take great offense if any dish was left unfinished. This only happened on rare occasions when Tom turned down a fifth helping.
The food was utterly delicious and we indulged in a variety of vegetarian dishes such as pumpkin curry, sweet potato curry, dhal, spicy aubergine, buttered okra, red rice, poppadoms and chutney. The fish-eating contingency consumed the odd crab curry which proved tasty but messy as we hammered into the shells with our forks. Geetha's piece de resistance was her lemon tart - truly scrumptious.
On a daily basis we asked the gardener to climb one of the many palm trees and cut down 6 coconuts which Ella would take into the kitchen and emerge half an hour later with the most delicious iced shakes. No added sugar, no added salt. Just pure coconut. Apparently we drank more than our fair share of coconuts as there were very few left for the subsequent guests - woops.
Geetha took on the role of headmistress and we soon found ourselves behaving like naughty school children behind her back. Every evening a local dog (who we christened Towser) and a ruffed up ginger cat with big muscles and exceedingly large testicles (nicknamed Bruiser), came creeping up to the verandah to see what was on the menu. We had to be incredibly careful handing over titbits in case Geetha saw, prompting her eyes to widen, her face to turn purple and the nearest large object (normally a flipflop) to be thrown with almighty force at the terrified animal.
Malgadera attracted a mixture of exotic creatures including acrobatic langur monkeys who spent hours playing leap-frog on the garden wall; a metre-long grey iguana who waddled from one bush to another desperately trying to avoid Tom; an enormous flock of bats that flew over the house every evening at dusk and a handful of woodpeckers.

The villa was so lovely and the pool so inviting that we rarely ventured outside into the real world, apart from the odd day at the beach and New Year's Eve when we drank copious amounts of rum and passionfruit cocktails.

For one week we drank copious amounts of concentrated apple juice as part of the gall bladder cleanse to soften our gallstones in preparation for mass exodus. At the end of the week over the final 24 hours we had to drink 4 disgusting glasses of epsom salts (tasted like earwax) and an olive oil/grapefruit (quite nice) mixture before permanently rushing to the loo to empty our systems of stones. And there were hundreds of the little blighters! I think I managed to produce the largest which was approximately 1cm x 1cm and green (a bit like cryptonite), made primarily of cholesterol. Fascinating stuff.

After two weeks of utter relaxation in paradise (apart from the gallstone flushing), we reluctantly packed up our belongings and caught a taxi 70km up the coast to Bentota, whereapon we found a cute guesthouse located on the lagoon and remained there for a week, not wanting to lose our nack for resting. Each day we were taken over the lagoon in a small boat to the beach and got battered about in the rolling waves before returning back to the guesthouse to be served dinner and Coupe Denmark by the best waiter in Sri Lanka. That's the life!

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