Marawila, Sri Lanka
Good morning Sri Lanka! A little after 7am, I woke to the sound of waves crashing, and for a minute, I thought I was back home, in beachside Buddina, on the Sunshine Coast. Opening the curtains of my hotel room, I greet Sri Lanka with a smile… Sri Lanka smiles right back at me and gives me a big, beachy, coconut cuddle. At breakfast, I met a couple of girls who are also on the Sri Lankan tour I’ve booked. The first tour meeting isn’t til tonight, so I’m free to explore for the day. The girls and I regroup in the lobby and head into the small beachside town of Marawila. Marawila is quiet place. A few tuk tuk’s, no city smog and and every house or stall we passed, the mothers, brothers and small children smiled and waved or said hello…. There’s no concept of stranger danger here. Walking the Marawila roads, frangapanis are in bloom and their scent fills the air. Looking around, déjàvu! I’d seen this place before…. as a child, in my dreams… A forest of coconut palms, in a field of sand, by the water… The only thing missing, was a hammock. This was my very first idea of what a holiday looked liked. 20 years later, my ideas of what a “holiday” looks like have certainly expanded but that image is still ever present. 10:44am – 2nd & only can of Diet Pepsi left in Marawila – Humidity is 110%. I’m a hot mess. I have no summer clothes (shorts or skirts), I’m wearing long black pants and it’s sweltering. Most people living in Marawila are Christian and as its Sunday, they are all in Church. Time to tap out the sweaty, and relatively silent streetscape and tap into the lush beachscape in front of my hotel. A layer less of clothes later, lying in the shade of a “castaway” type shelter, with a frond thatched roof…. watching the ocean inhale, and exhale #thisisliving. I go to cool off and dip my toes in the sea… only to find, the water temperature is warmer than most the showers I’d had in India! – it was perfect, so I dove right in….. and reemerged a Sri Lankan Beach Goddess. Sunning myself on the sand for the next few hours… I went from beach goddess, to beached back lobster. It was about 3pm and time to hang up the bikinis…. After another quick ocean swim. On my way back to my room, I picked up my new roommate. Thea…. a thirty year old accountant from London who bravely quit her job, left her lousy boyfriend of 8 years and is beginning her 3 month holiday in Sri Lanka. In the most beautiful fashion (picture included), the Sri Lankan sun slowly slipped below the horizon and bid me goodnight in colours… then the rain set in. The tour welcome dinner – Rain, thunder, lightning and meeting the other 11 people I’ll be sharing a bus with for the next 12 days. Looks like a relatively acceptable group, with no notable douches… So far…. It’s probably too soon to tell.