From mount lavinia to mirissa

The local lager, lion, is best avoided in quantities exceeding one bottle. I wake up with that dirty messy cheap alcohol feeling and need my blackout ask to go back to sleep.

Dave and Donna are already up and we walk 15 minutes along the railway track to the station for a one hour wait for the train south. The railway line reveals a myriad of slices of life. Garbage collectors with carts descended upon by crows, cricket practice over the ubiquitous wall crowned with a protective layer of embedded glass shards. The station has a large poster warning against dengue fever. Big noisy dramatic diesel locomotives crawl in and out. Third class is rammed. No traveling on the footplate notices ignored.

We have to rush to clamber aboard. There are no places to sit in second class. By the way a ticket for my four hour journey costs a measly 200 rupees. Standing room only. Some other guys from the hostel are traveling with surf boards which block the aisle between the carriages. People push,better,clamber by. It’s all good natured, even what seems like a heated argument between a family and the ticket inspector. Blind, yes blind, guys with white sticks climb over the accumulated luggage and push past the throngs of standing passengers, selling lottery tickets. Hawkers with baskets on their heads negotiate the train selling bags of nuts, samosas. Fried sand hoppers. Shouting their wares, baskets lined, sometimes made from, old school exercise books. The train smells of piss. The windows are down, the doors are open, it crawls south.

Kids on bikes. Saris on lines. Whole wardrobes washed and laid out to dry by the track. Palm trees, palm trees, glimpses of the sea.

My friends from the hostel all get off at hikkadua. The train begins to empty. Space yo sit and loosen my shoes. The contentious family spread out. The son puts on his cricket cap. Red yellow green. He hangs out of the door, me the opposite one.

At weligama I get off and fal I to the first tuk tuk to get myself to Mirissa.we tour a few guest houses, of varying quality, friendliness and price. I actually settle on the most expensive of the three I see. It is spacious, has a hammock and most importantly the guy is very friendly.

The beach is over the road and lined with bars. There is some kind of crumbling headland that provides protection from the surf, offering up a bay of relatively calm water to float in. This I do for an hour then manage to kick in an early happy hour to drink a mohito and a banana daiquiri with a reggae soundtrack asthenosphere waves lap close to my table legs. Local kids play cricket on the beach. The sun is going down. England is so far away, almost forgotten.

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You are the ocean

I stand at the shore daring the tide

To come in and wash round my ankles

To draw me, suck back and leave me invigorated

Almost pulling me over

My footprints

Are obliterated by the surge of the water

It’s as if I wasn’t there

There is no trace

Only in my mind

Each flow is unique

Like the phrasing and sound of your voice

Each ebb is a flurry swirling around me

Scarring my body with memories

Of the moments of when you touched me

Only fleetingly

I stare back at your horizon

Yearning for more

For each time to be better

And stronger

And fresher

And lasting

It never is

Sometimes I watch your thrashing white surf

Glistening under the moonlight

And will it towards me

Too often it stops short

and retreats

Leaving me cheated

Then you tempt me

My god how you tempt me

What bubbles underneath?

What shores and what places have you touched and been sullied by?

Eternal or passing?

Am I the first time?

I’m scared

I would love to walk out

Away from the dry land

To be flattened by your relentless advance

And drawn under

Taken with you

Taken further away

Embraced and then smothered by your recoil

Sucked down

Enveloped

Consumed

I become one with you

I’m scared by your power

I’m scared by my weakness

I step away

I feel your spray splash on my legs and dampen my shorts

I step away

Dry land is familiar, boring, but safe

Safety is oh so boring

And it controls me

I want you to pull me in

Suck me down

And absorb me

For the first time in my life I am sure