As we sit sipping our 5th cup of ginger tea, it’s hard not to feel a little smug. In front of me is a view of the sea, so moreish and peaceful that it’s hard to look at it without cocking your head to the side and going “haaaahm”. The little fisherman’s village of Weligama has stolen our hearts. Not even the multiple constellations of mosquito bites covering my legs could bring me down.
It’s been nine days (I wrote this post a little while ago but we only just found wifi!) since we handed over the keys to our home of two and a half years and nine days since we gave our beloved cat Mau the hugest kiss and cuddle of her life. Three days later we hopped aboard our first one-way flight.
“Don’t stay in Colombo, it’s crap”, was the advice given to us by several fellow travellers. We’ll be the judges of that, we thought and promptly booked a place in nearby Negombo, just in case.
Negombo, eh? What a word, no? NeGOMBO. Negoooombo. Great word.
To say our host in Negombo was laid back would be a huge understatement. The incredibly friendly and helpful Suresh made our first night in Sri Lanka a particularly comfy one. Air BnB win.
Jet-lagged and still slightly anxious about our impending nomadic lifestyle, we found ourselves saying yes to whatever was on offer at chez Suresh. Following his advice, we headed to Nayomi’s Family Restaurant. We had been warned about the speed of the service in Sri Lanka and so several deep breaths into a paper bag was the only way us impatient Brits were able to cope as we waited for like FIVE HOURS for our lunch. Not really. It was long, but we pushed on through.
Unfortunately, Tom’s gesturing and impressions of vegetables seemed to get lost in translation and when our food was brought to the table, it consisted of a pile of rice, topped with a friend egg and a chicken kebab. #notvegan. Not wanting to be rude, we ate it. Kidding again. A little while later a new plate of delicious vegetable rice appearred.
Later on, we went on a lovely little boat ride around Negombo’s huge lagoon.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love foxes. I’m also very fond of bats (Tom’s scared of them tho…), so imagine my delight when hundreds of flying foxes (BATS THAT LOOK LIKE FOXES BECAUSE THEY’RE HUGE AND ALL BROWN AND FURRY!!!) started flapping above our heads. Tom played it cool.
Slightly less exhilarating was the next stop, which was a tiny island where one of the locals kept pufferfish and turtles in crazy confined spaces so that the foreigners could take photos. “Thank you, thank you. No photo. Thank you, bye”. We then ventured over to another small island known as Monkey Island. As we approached, a hungry monkey popped his head out of the bushes, ready for banana time. It’s always nice to see a monkey. Especially the mummies with the babies. Ahh. It all turned a bit sour though, when we asked how the monkeys came to be on the island. I’ve seen a documentary about monkeys who swim underwater, (despite my vivd imagination, they do not wear little pairs of goggles), but I’m pretty sure swimming isn’t generally their “thing”. Turns out a local company put the monkeys there. So basically they’re trapped on the island, which explains why they’re always so bloody hungry for bananas. Not cool.
As we bobbed about on the water, the sky started to darken and before we knew it, the heavens had opened. The rain was glorious and warm and just what we needed to cool off.
Like drowned rats, we tuktuked back to suresh’s pad. On his recommendation we headed to Choy’s for dinner. Here, a pianist sat on a strange piano shelf which seemed not to have any stairs leading up to it (does he live there?). The room was bathed in blue and red lights and this combined with the continuous flashing of lightning outside, made it feel like we were at a really hot and unpopular disco. That night, we learned that “devilled” means spicy and although people are happy to make you veg noodles without egg, they think you’re a bit weird for asking. We ate our satanic vegetables and non-egg veg noodles and headed home happy, full and still totally unacclimatised to Sri Lankan time.
Call us crazy, but we decided to book an 8am yoga session the following morning. This 1.5 hour private session on the terrace set us back a whole£7.50. When we emerged from our room after a very comfortable, but very sleepless night, Suresh thought I had had an allergic reaction to some shellfish. “No, I don’t eat shellfish, these are just my tired eyes,” I explained. Our yoga session was delicious and just what my puffy eyes and both of our scrunched up spines needed. 10 minutes in, I started to think I was going to die because I was so hot and I still had that sicky feeling you get when you’ve just woken up from a nap, but after a while I told myself that no one had ever died doing a down dog. Feeling beautifully refreshed and un-swollen in the face, Suresh brought us a breakfast of coconutty pancakes with papaya and bananas. (Only later would I realise that I had seemingly torn a tummy muscle and would have to get up from lying down via a crawling position for the next 4 days).
We were delighted to find out that our friend Rob, who we had met in India 2 years ago was (4 hours) down the road in Weligama. We didn’t really have any plans, so we decided to make that our next destination. We decided to splash out on an AC cab to get to Weligama. We spent a while justifying the expense. “Your grandma gave us that 20 quid that time and also, it’s not actually our budget money yet because that other place got cancelled and it cost more and also, remember when we didn’t get the organic hummus, we just got the cheap one? We made a saving there…” etc.
We were recommended the Dinsara Pearl Villa by our friend Luis who couldn’t say enough nice things about the place and when we arrived, we understood why. So much lovely stuff to say, that I’m going to save it for our next blog post.