Happy new year everyone.
Its crazy to think we’ve been in Sri Lanka for 6 months. Six months is a long time in a toddlers life and he’s certainly been through a lot, learnt a lot, and had some amazing experiences. He’s gone from cot to king bed, said his first proper words, caught a ball, learnt to swim, snorkelled with turtles bigger than him, made friends from all over the world, held a snake, fed an elephant, and driven his parents crazy. And even though it hasn’t been without its challenges its been worth it.
Living in Asia is certainly an experience, you become use to certain things, like travelling everywhere in a tuk tuk, and buying your eggs separately and carrying them home (in the tuk tuk) in a bag. Most of the eggs have made it back in one piece but there was one time Rocky went into the shopping bag in the tuk tuk whilst my head was turned for a second, and I turned round just as he was dropping it on me. And because tuk tuks – and Sri Lankan roads – are not the smoothest of rides, we ended up both covered in egg.
We’ve seen all sorts of things that have made us look twice, like someone carrying a double bed frame on a bicycle, a cow walking down the railway track, and a guy having a poo in a rock pool, but none is more shocking than seeing young kids and babies riding on motor bikes with their parents, and if that wasn’t bad enough their parents have helmets on and the little ones don’t, how is that ok? I’d say the only negative thing about Sri Lankas south coast is the road that runs along it. The buses apparently work on commission so they go way too fast and beep their horns expecting everyone to get out of the way, they run tuk tuks off the roads and overtake even when traffic is coming the other way, its so dangerous and we’ve witnessed lots of accidents. And the police do nothing. We always take the back road to nursery and if we’re going more than 30 minutes away we’ll book a car or minivan.
The wildlife here is incredible and we’ve certainly got use to seeing the monkeys outside our windows and in our garden every day. Huge monitor lizards the size of small crocodiles are a common appearance too, along with mongoose, and the odd snake. I won’t miss the spiders, we’ve had a few the size of our hand in the house and they run so fast I can’t stand it. Seeing elephants was a massive highlight though, seeing them up close and in their natural habitat was such a treat.
And then there’s the food, the curry. The produce is fresh and the flavours are divine. And we’ve eaten a lot less meat since we’ve been here as the veg curries are just so tasty. Egg hoppers for breakfast, string hoppers, roti, dhal, and coconut sambol are on the list of things we’ll miss about Sri Lanka. We’d go through phases of eating curry twice a day, sometimes three times. But a break from curry and rice is needed now and then. Needless to say Rocky has stuck to a diet of mainly bananas and pasta, although he does enjoy rice or noodles, and also roti with peanut butter.
There’s so much to see here and we’ve only just touched the surface. Living on the south coast has been a great place to base ourselves. We’ve got to know the area and the people and made some great friends along the way. I’d like to introduce you to a couple of locals here who have made our stay extra special…
We first met Nilan when we arrived in Weligama and needed to move to our new villa. Nilan and his uncle own a minivan and provide transport and also tours around Sri Lanka. Nilan has done most of the airport pick ups and drop offs for all our visitors as well as taking us on our trips to the hill country and safari. Nilan has an advanced diploma in Business Management at National Institute of business management and is currently a third year intern graduate student at the University of Colombo for Bachelor in International Relations. He has a place at Griffith University in Brisbane to further his studies but even with the place secured, getting a visa is proving difficult. We wish him all the best and we hope to see him in Australia soon. If you’re in Sri Lanka and would like to get in touch with Nilan his website is http://www.travelfreesrilanka.com
Prakesh was one of the first tuk tuk drivers we met on the south coast and we made sure we held on to him. He offered a fair price from the start which isn’t always the case with tuk tuk drivers, and from day one when Ian asked him to drive safe, he’s always driven safely and slowly. He’s married with 3 boys of his own and is honest, loyal, and hardworking. Prakesh became a man of all trades around the house for us. Fixing things, taking us anywhere we needed to go, helping with the shopping, helping with Rocky, gutting the fish for dinner, and even cooking the most amazing meals for us and our guests. He even did all the cooking on Christmas Day. Legend.
All these things and more have made the last 6 months special and we definitely plan on coming back, but for now the next stop is England to catch up with family before starting our stay in Portugal…. more exciting times to come.
Oh and my New Years resolution is to blog more, it’s surprisingly difficult to sit down every week and write but that’s the plan. There I said it, it’s in writing.