Colombo, Galle, Unnawattuna, Tangalle, Tissa and Kataragama
Our first night in Sri Lanka was, as usual, well planned. This meant sleeping in the airport before braving the madness that is Colombo. A few sights and our first meeting with the locals gave us a great first impression of Sri Lanka.
First taste of Sri Lankan food. Rice and Curry is one of the specialities, delicious. Rice and curry is the generic name for the most amazing freshly prepared vegetable dishes, chutneys and sambols (spicy salads). The Sri Lankan cook everything from scratch so you usually have to pre-order your meal. Its totally worth the wait as the food was really incredible. Best to stick mostly to veg and fish we found though. It is normal to eat food with your hands too!
Galle on the south coast.
From here we rented a bike and headed to Unawattuna, just one of many town devasted by the Tsunami in 2004. Its a beautiful stretch of beach, where one hotelier survived the tragedy by clinging to the doorframe of her establishment, which is still on display in the newly rebuilt restaurant. Unfortuantely this woman died a few years later.
A little further along the coast we arrived at Midigama, a spot famed by surfers for its famous left break. No surfers when we there though, monsoon season kept them away.
We moved east along the coast to Tangalle, where we found a gem of a little spot to stay for a few days.
"Hows the surf today, dog?"
We rented another mad looking bike here and saw a few of sights around this part of the island. One of the stranger ones was a blowhole, that throws water up to 50 metres into the air at certain intervals. This attracts more locals that tourists, and they were all keen to get as much camera time as possible. A lovely bunch...
All rounded off by a nice sunset.
We continued our journey east to Tissaharamaha, where the Kataragama festival was happening. This is where 10,000 Tamil people walk the from the north of Sri Lanka as part of Buddhist pilgrimmage, to the week long festival. The Tamil people set up camp in this town and as they are very poor other Tamil people from all around Sri Lanka come to Kataragama to give them food. The festival finishes with the dramatic water cutting ceremony. This envolves lots of devoted pilgrims walking accross burning coals and suspending themselves with hooks from ceilings to prove their devotion.
Tissaharamaha is also the place to go and see Yala national park. We got the two activities in during a busy three day stay!
The obligatory bus break down happened half way to Tissaharahama:
The dancing elephants of Kataragama...
The locals invited us to a nightime barbeque on the grounds of a dried up lake, where we cooked our own food and danced some of the local moves too!
The next morning was the trip to Yala National park. This is the home of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard, unfortunately for us it proved too elusive for us, although we got to see some mad looking monkeys and some wild elephants.
These two elephants were getting very friendly with each other...
while this young fella was very interested in us!
With that our journey along the south coast was complete and we made our way back to Colombo, via Hikkawidua, (another famous surf point, although deserted again because of monsoon season). Two friends of ours, Vinny and Serena were arriving to spend their hols with us in Sri Lanka