Delightful Sri Lanka and it’s….Drivers, Safaris, Buddhist Monks, Vegetable buns and Arrack……Part 8
I have a wonderful nights sleep at Yala Peace Cottage and wake looking forward to our next port of call which is Unawatuna and the ocean! Breakfast whilst watching peacocks in fabulous, as is the hospitality of the staff here and I leave knowing that I will most definitely return to this place to explore more of what Yala has to offer.
The drive to Unawatuna is again filled with ‘food for the soul’ views and we stop off several times at roadside stalls for Coconut milk and more Vegetable buns. Nisha is really good company and we have now developed some kind of friendship that you cannot help but form when you have spent so much time travelling with somebody that you get along with. I learn more and more about the Buddhist culture here in Sri Lanka and how their view of the world is formed. I find it refreshing how communities here look after each other and how people manage to avoid exchanging money wherever possible, instead exchanging services and goods between each other. Tourism is a huge income for this country which has made a massive difference to the lifestyles that people here have developed.
Wherever we have travelled throughout Sri Lanka there is lots of recognition from people who know Nisha. He tells me that before he became a Driver he had a Tuk Tuk and had spent several years running this as a business for himself but much prefers offering Driver Service to guests now, as it takes him all over Sri Lanka and the variety he says is good for him.
We arrive in Unawatuna mid afternoon and after checking into Samaya Tranz which is positioned right on the beach. I head down to the ocean which is a small bay and the sea has a ‘choppy’ tide to it this afternoon. I walk along the sand and cover most of seafront of Unawatuna then head back in the direcion that I have come, where Nisha is chatting to staff on the sand. I ask whether there is anywhere else along the coast here where the sea will be calmer and Nisha says there is a place nearby ‘Jungle Beach’ which we can get to using a moped as the route down to the sea there is tricky in a car.
Ummm I consider the dangers of mopeds in foreign countries and cast my mind back to conversations that I have had with the ‘offspring’ along the lines of ‘Please please don’t use mopeds whilst on holiday, they are very dangerous and the roads there are not as stable as roads here? Nisha tells me that his guests do not usually ask him to drive them on mopeds but he is happy to do so if I want to visit ‘Jungle Beach’. He goes on to point out that whilst driving there we could visit Galle……… My ‘midlife’ crisis gets the better of me and before I know it we have hired a moped for the equivalent of £4 and I am climbing onto the back whilst Nisha takes to the front. I remind Nisha that I have children at home and that he must drive carefully. He acknowledges my plea and we are off……
Nisha is particularly careful whilst driving, he checks that I am ok on the back, reassuring me that he has lots of experience of riding mopeds and that I am safe. I put full trust in him and enjoy my first moped experience. We arrive in Galle, which is quiet and the small cobbled roads here are empty. Nisha asks whether I want to drive……I’ve never driven/rode a moped before and my thoughts are ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ so I have a 30 second lesson on how to accelerate and how to brake and we are off. I take to riding a moped like a duck to water and thoroughly enjoy nipping in and out of side streets whilst Nisha fears for his life on the back.
We pull in and decide to take a walk around the fort which is beautiful, I am hungry again so we find a street food cart and order pancakes. We sit at the fort people watching whist eating before continuing on our way to ‘Jungle Beach’. As Nisha warned the road down to the ocean is small and bumpy and as we arrive there, we park in a small moped bay and take a short walk to the beach which has maybe a dozen people dotted around it. Nisha takes to the shade whilst I enjoy my first Sri Lankan ocean swim and I am blissfully happy.
This place is simply beautiful and I enjoy floating around in a completely relaxed state with no idea of what time or day it is. I remember that I have 6 sleeps in Sri Lanka, before I fly onto the Maldives and I count how many places I have already stayed. Today is day 5 and I am surprised that although I am to leave Sri Lanka the day after tomorrow, I have not had a single thought of the Maldives whilst I have been here.
I watch the people on the beach whilst I swim and I notice Nisha has been approached by a couple of males who stand with him chatting. People leave the beach and a wedding party arrive with a photographer taking shots of the happy couple as they pose for various pictures on the waters edge. I am patient in making a decision to head back to the sand as I don’t want to find myself in the background of a Sri Lankan wedding photograph. An opportunity arises and I return to where Nisha is patiently waiting.
He tells me that he had been approached by two ‘lady boys’ who had asked him whether it was ok for them to drink alcohol on the beach….the look on his face tells me that he wasn’t keen to engage in afternoon conversation with them. We head back to Unawatuna, return the moped and make our way back to the hotel Samaya Tranz.