A few hours flying and within minutes of leaving the airport we’re sweating. Molly now finding places sweating that she never thought possible! “My toes are sweating” she says. I chuckle. We settle into the Casa Colombo and after breakfast immediately head for the pool as the air is hot and heavy with humiditity. A dip, some lunch and a snooze in the room we are now prepared for the onslaught of Colombo. To us it’s really just another city in the tropics. Hot, humid, noisy, smelly and rife with “guides” and hawkers of all descriptions but staying here a necessary evil. We’re already looking forward to the beach. While here we walk the promenade and take in a temple or two of which all seem to house a chained-up Asian Elephant which disturbs us both.
Our route will take us to the south coast towards and Molly’s infamous Kalametiya where she spent some time helping during the aftermath of the Tsunami. So, a quick tuk-tuk ride to the Colombo bus station and onto a bus we get with our packs and it feels very familiar, like an old pair of slippers, and quickly we trundle towards the colonial style Spice House in Mirissa horn blaring, sweating and in a seating position made comfortable only by those versed in the Karmasutra we spend four hours travelling the 150KM. We are greeted by our host and made feel at home – still sweating…
It is in Marissa that we start to see the abundant wild life. Already we have seen White-Throated King Fishers, Red Backed Wood Peckers, Rose Ringed and Hanging Parakeets, Olive Ridley and Loggerhead Turtles, Fruit Bats to name a few. We lounge around eating and sleeping well in our Swahili style bed. We quickly slow down and attend to our sunburn!
A bone shaking 4 hour tuk-tuk ride to Kalametiya and we finally meet up with Sena and Ananda. We stay in Phillipes house right on the beach. It’s very comfortable and both Sena and Ananda, as well as their families, are very attentive. Overtly so, in that we feel like gold fish at every turn. It’s endearing but difficult to deal with such intense staring and over helpfulness. However, we get over ourselves and slowly we come to rely on this. They take us to various points of interest; the Lagoon, beach, a fantastic view point over looking the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary. This really is a tropical paradise with a long pearly sands empty beach, sided by a large bird sanctuary on one side with the sapphire Indian Ocean on the other. Occasionally, a White Bellied Sea Eagle will swoop down and ensure entertainment for us now made pink and ridiculous by the blazing sun.
For the next few days we hang about with Sena and Ananda and their extended families. We were shown incredulous views into the sanctuary, taken on boat rides into the lagoon, even helped to pull in the fishing nets and then played Caram in the evenings amongst thebuzz of the bugs. It was a real treat to finally meet them as Molly has talked about them so much. I took a particular shine to Ananda as, although we could not speak any of each others language, we got on really well. He rarely left my side. It would be wholly unfair to call them simple people but I do think that they lead simple lives that I am very jealous of. They are just down right wonderful people. I hope to see them again some time.
So, as I sit here on the veranda of Sena’s and Ananda’s residence surveying our tropical nirvana I sit under a hanging Hibiscus pondering why we would leave and what lies ahead…