Monday 19 November 2012

Leaving Sri Lanka.....

We're now on our way to Colombo Airport. It's difficult to tear oneself away from the Dutch House, it's such a tranquil place, just four beautiful bedrooms, a gracious drawing room and a veranda around three sides of a square.

Our afternoon tea expedition yesterday was great success, we took a tuc tuc and were met by Gabriele Francis, another ex-pat using her initiative to earn a few bob from the tourists. We walked along a tiny path through the rice paddies to a 'paddi island' across a little bridge. Lots of palm trees, hibiscus, frangipan, bougainvilla, jasmine and lush foliage, and suddenly there was a little kind of summerhouse in the middle with a beautifully laid table, pretty china cups and saucers, freshly cut cucumber and egg sandwiches, lavender biscuits, shortbread still warm from the oven,a gorgeous crumbly carrot cake, a boiled fruit and nut cake and a chocolate cake to die for!

Afterwards we piled into a bullock cart all decorated with bunting, and trundled along the road and up the hill to the local Buddhist Temple to watch the sunset and give thanks, there were about a million steps up to the top, a welcome opportunity to burn off some calories- we had to taste everything!

The whole experience was lovely.

Later we had dinner with Geoffrey at his newest acquisition - Mamas in Galle Fort, work to be done there, he's waiting to take it over so it can have a good shake up!

Today we just relaxed at the Dutch House, we took a tuc tuc out to the beach Cafe at Wajiya Beach for a fishy lunch and then I came back into Galle to go to the Green Market and potter around the little shops, I bought beautiful sweet cinnamon, the only spice indigenous to Sri Lanka and lots of funny tin cooking utensils that I certainly don't need, lovely Henri will post them home for me.

Our flight to Bangkok leaves at 1.30 am and arrives in at 6.30 so we should arrive just in time for breakfast, were staying at the Mandarin Oriental where I stayed years ago on an earlier trip to Asia.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Jetlagged in Sri Lanka.....

We arrived in Colombo shortly after 4am on Monday and eventually got on our way to Galle after we'd arranged visas which we now know could have been done on line. Beautiful drive, through the waking city at first but then along bumpy country roads and eventually on a slick new motorway which chops an hour off the original journey to Galle.

Lush foliage, bananas trees, mangoes, guavas and seemingly over grown tea plantations in full bloom on either side of the road rising out of the mist and then a most beautiful rosy dawn. When we arrived at the Dutch House, owner Geoffrey Dobbs came to welcome us back and we sat down to breakfast on the veranda as though we had never left. The table was strewn with jasmine flowers and we ordered our favourite things, a plate of beautiful ripe fruit, freshly made curd (yoghurt) and treacle, (jaggery) toast and lime marmalade, pineapple juice, Ceylon tea, everything freshly cut and freshly squeezed.

There was a kingfisher on one of the branches, a cute little monkey swinging in the trees and a mongoose ambling in and out under the shrubs, the temperature is about 28 C.....nice!

Then I had a little swim in the pool and a snooze in the hammock. Bliss!

We had a delicious dinner in the restaurant at the Sun House just across the road and an early night. Today was also nice and relaxed, we went down to the Fort to have a little bite of lunch in the new Heritage Cafe everyone is talking about but it was pretty grim.

Afterwards Henri,(short for Henrietta), the larger than life manager, talked me into having a pedicure and having my nails painted, it took forever (wish I'd taken a book), now I'm all poshed up and could be mistaken for a ex- pat of which there are a million here all finding ingenious ways to earn a few bob including the latter.

This evening we took a tuc tuc to Wijawa beach and watched the sunset from the veranda of the Cafe, a gorgeous sandy beach with great waves, and stick fishermen fishing precariously around the Frog Rock.
Pizzas from a wood burning oven, crab curry and lobster and chips all fresh and delicious and very cheap.

Must go to bed soon, I've got an early start tomorrow morning, I'm going cycling at 8.30 am.
Stick fishermen fishing precariously around Frog Rock at sunset.