Delightful Sri Lanka and it’s….Drivers, Safaris, Buddhist Monks, Vegetable buns and Arrack…….Part 9
Nisha tells me that he needs to visit the barbers shortly for a haircut and shave as he had not been able to get to one recently due the busy tourist season. Again I wonder how being on the road for long periods of time impacts on family life for drivers here and the logistics of living out of the boot of your car. I make a decision to eat on the beach this evening in the restaurant attached to the hotel and realise that I probably do not have enough money to get me through the evening, Nisha tells me there is an ATM but not within walking distance and so we head back to the moped hire shop, while Nisha explains that I have forgotten to go to the ATM and we are given the moped free of charge.
We drive through a busy shopping street and after replenishing my purse with another ridiculously high number of Sri Lanka Rupees, I ask Nisha whether he wants to stop at a barbers on the way back……….he looks puzzled ‘Are you sure he asks, guests don’t normally see that it is ok for me to have a haircut whilst I am their driver?’ ‘Of course no problem at all’ I tell him ‘if you see a barbers on the way back, pull over I am happy to wait’. We drive past several barbers and find one that is empty. Nisha takes to the barber’s chair whilst I sit patiently observing whilst listening to the Singhala chatter between the two.
The moped is returned and I head to my room and spend some time on the hotel communal balcony to the front of the building watching the comings and goings of Unawatuna. I shower and change then head down onto the beach for dinner which is Tuna along with a couple of G&T’s. I sit on the beach watching a distant thunder storm out to sea and marvel at the lightening display that I am treated to, the air is very ‘humid’ and I suspect that the storm that I am now watching will soon be hanging over Unawatuna. I enjoy the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere here and observe a couple of ‘solo travellers’ also dining, happy in their own company, which is nice to see.
Soon enough the storm is upon the beach and the heavens open with force……I am pleased that I have managed to savour my dinner before mother nature works her magic and I head back to my room for another restful night’s sleep, with thoughts of the Maldives now in my mind. The following morning I am awake early and decide to head to the beach before breakfast. As I tiptoe out of my room and down the stairs, (being mindful that most people on their holidays do not want to be woken at 5.45am) I see the ‘night porter’ asleep on the sofa in the reception area.
I negotiate the locked front door to the hotel, without waking him and head past the restaurant onto the beach. There are a few people pottering around and it’s nice to soak up the tranquillity of the early morning and the stillness of the ocean. I spend time swimming and lying on the sand as the day begins to heat up and I recognise a couple of the hotel staff as they walk along the sea front and acknowledge me with a ‘Good morning Madam.’ I take breakfast and meet Nisha who asks whether I want to spend any more time in Unawatuna before heading to Negombo which is where I will spend the night before my early morning flight to Male.
The Hotel manager at Samaya Tranz tells me that it is ok for me to use a shower in one of the hotel rooms later this afternoon, if I wanted to spend more time on the beach and I accept the offer. Nisha tells me that Mirissa beach is just along the coast from here which has good snorkelling water and so we head back to the moped hire shop, and make our way to Mirissa. The beach here is stunning and the sea is a little choppy for snorkelling but great for swimming. I spend a couple of hours swimming and walking on the sand whilst reflecting on the last 5 days in this beautiful country
I feel lucky that the direct flights to Male from Manchester had been so expensive and I was given the opportunity to explore the possibility of accessing the Maldives via Sri Lanka, as had the flights been cheaper then I would of never given Sri Lanka a second thought. We return to the hotel where I shower and thank the staff for their hospitality and we are on our way to Negombo. The drive is via the highway and so not the scenic driving that I have been treated to since my arrival here, we stop at a service station for lunch which is samosa type patties and again delicious, then we arrive at Villa 7 in the early evening.
After checking in and arranging to have dinner here tonight I spend some time going through my bag and washing some items that have already been worn before going down to the outside seating area alongside the hotel kitchen. The feel of Villa 7 is really welcoming and reflects the hospitality that I have experienced throughout my time in Sri Lanka. An elderly English couple are also dining and they invite me to join their table, which I accept. They explain that they noticed I arrived here with Nisha earlier and that he had been their driver last week. They go on to tell me that Nisha had taken care of ‘Wendy’ after she had become ill with a stomach bug, collecting medication for her from the pharmacy which had cleared her symptoms, for which they are very grateful.
Dinner tonight is king prawns which are taste bud heaven and as I have an early morning flight, I say my farewells and head to my room for my last nights sleep before I head to the Maldives !