Koggala (Sri Lanka), 07.07.2013
These last few days I spent in Sri Lanka, an island that would have deserved a week or more of exploration. But I simply was too lazy, and opted for some days of intensive doing nothing, sleeping, reading. So everybody expecting insights on this place will not find them here.
I spent these days on a great beach at Koggala, a place some 130 km south of the capital Colombo, in a great hotel, built like an old dutch or portuguese fort right on the beach. It is very well designed, with long lines of columns in the courtyard and on just two floors. Rooms are huge, modern and very comfortable, the staff takes great care of the guests. The main group of visitors is from the UK, couples and families. Perfectly suited for my purpose, since I had zero interaction and could be all by myself. Jim Rogers and Marco Polo were great company, I found out many things had happened around the world recently, and enjoyed plenty of fresh seafood from the restaurant.
I somehow forgot I have a lot of friends down here in Sri Lanka. The disturbing thing is that apparently I have a difficulty in recognizing them. The good news is, I don’t have to worry about that, they recognize me perfectly, and have a huge smile on their face when they see me and shout “hello my friend!” from a distance and run towards me. But something seems to be strange with me. I spent quite some time in front of the mirror, checking my face. I couldn’t find any writings of “I desperately need a tuktuk”, “are there any restaurants around here?”, or “just ask me for cash, I’m your ATM”. Weird weird.
This period of the year is the second monsoon season. I feared days of intense rain, but was happy to hear only some rainfall at night. This came down quite heavily though, increasing the brutal humidity in the following days. The next morning the sky had opened up, sun came out, and I woke of with a perfect sea view and the palms waving in the wind. And got a nice red sunburn in a few hours at the pool. Highlight of the stay at the Fortress was the release of two buckets of baby turtles into the sea. On the last evening, after sundown, the hotel staff organised this. They avoided daytime, so that the birds don’t eat the mini turtles, less then 10 cm long, as they have their first swim in the ocean and fight the waves to find their way into deeper waters. I wondered how many of them would survive the next 48h.
Sri Lanka is a place to come back to and discover. Having ended a decades long conflict a few years back, the island is now safe and getting back to normal life. I was surprised to see great infrastructure on the 2,5h drive from the airport to the hotel at night and back during the day. Tourism is picking up, I couldn’t spot the poverty on India and the police of Pakistan. On the drive back to the airport I got a 2h intense briefing on everything Sri Lanka by Pamoda, the very friendly driver. From recent and ancient history, to art and culture, places to see, the economy, the peaceful living together of Tamil and Singalese people of Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Christian faith, agriculture (Ceylon tea, rubber, cinnamon are major exports), plenty of festivities (almost one every month, no wonder with so many religions). He tried to compensate for my laziness so that at least I take a very little information on this country with me, and succeeded. I’ll also remember the lush green jungle countryside and hills. Sri Lanka, hope to see you soon again, next time for real.
No trip data, these days have been off, without the Evoque. No driving, just relaxing.