I am in the beautiful Unawatuna beach, Sri Lanka. It’s low season so there aren’t a lot of people around, but after the manic blur of the last few weeks, I am happy just to chill in my own company for a little while.
The weeks leading up to this trip have been a cyclone of packing, working, selling my car and trying to see everyone. Never one to make things easy on myself, I decided to go on a Hunter Valley wine tour with all my girlfriends the day before my flight. It wasn’t just any wine tour, it was a karaoke party bus wine tour.
I woke up the next morning hungover and crying. The taxi I booked didn’t arrive so I cried some more. Luckily one of my friends had the good sense to just ring another and so began my epic trip to Sri Lanka.
I took a taxi from the vineyards to Maitland at 5.30 in the morning.
A train to Sydney
Flight to Singapore
Slept on the floor of Singapore airport as too tight to pay for a hotel.
Flight to Colombo
Hour and a half trip through heavy traffic in a cab without air-con.
By the time I got to the hostel, I was feeling a little bit less than awesome.
I stayed at Mount Lavinia, just outside Colombo. I wasn’t really keen on the place, but I did make friends with an Italian guy, Luca. He’d lived in Sydney for the past year so we had lots to talk about.
Luca had been there a few more days than me and had found a little beach bar and made friends with the owner, Safi. We spent our evenings down there drinking and talking with Safi. He told us how he had lost a lot of his family and his home in the tsunami in 2004. Safi was just 25, which means he would have been 15 when the tsunami hit. I just can’t imagine coping with that ever, let alone at 15, yet Safi was quick to smile and laugh and he was a very kind person.
On our second night the bar had run out of alcohol so Luca and Safi took a stroll to the supermarket to buy a bottle of rum, while I waited with Luke, a Canadian friend we had made.
On their return, Luca goes;
“This guy just saved my life”
“What? How?” I asked.
“I was about to step on to the tracks when he grabbed me back, a second later a train flew by right in front of my face.”
Mount Lavinia has train tracks running through the town that need to be walked across to get down to the beach. Luca went to walk across them without looking first and if it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking Safi there would not have been much left of him.
A few days in Mount Lavinia was enough so yesterday I boarded the train to Unawatuna, which is much more my speed.
There aren’t too many mosquitoes around here but last time I went travelling I contracted malaria and so now I view each mosquito as a potential thug, out to get me and ruin my trip. There is no malaria here but there is dengue fever. A girl I went to uni with contracted dengue and had to take the semester off, another lady I know also contracted it and almost died.
I have been spraying on bug spray like my life depends on it, because it probably does. A few have managed to get through the bug spray to bite me and I look at each bite and wonder if it is the beginning of my demise.
Dramatics aside, I’m heading inland next to check out some ruins in the jungle so I’ll be back with another post soon after.