Two guys get onto the bus as we enter tissa and try to sell me their hotel and a safari, but I stick with the one I booked, the travellers home. Walking there along the main road a guy in a jeep with 2 little boys standing up on the seat, like toys, gives me a ride down the road. I ask him about safaris, but his prices are high, and I get the later repeated story that it is not worth going to Bundula, And I should go to yala instead.
Travellers home is set among muddy paddies and near some rice mills. It is
A bit disorganized, and it’s actually a home stay, which turns out to be great fun. Umami is the wife of the boss ebert. She speaks broken English with a smile and a cackle and jokes about her husband and how they met on a plane. He calls it “love is in the air” . They have a big chubby son, and a smaller version daughter. It is raining. It rains for 4 hours. I sit on the veranda and meet heid from Austria who has come from Ella and done some of the things I also plan to do. Umami is covering school books with pink paper. Her shy daughter is demanding a puny and shows her mum pictures of the kind she likes on the Internet.
Ebert also tells me the will be no trip to Bundula and quotes me a price to yala. I’m not sure how competitive and plan to check out some other operators when the rain stops. It does temporarily. I borrow a rickety bike and set off for town holding an umbrella which does little to keep me dry as the rain begins again with a dismal vengeance. I get as far as a roti shop and buy some snacks and fruit.
Back at the guesthouse I order Rice and curry: this is a big and delicious spread
Coconut potato
Crispy cabbage
Green bean
Chewy red rice
Umani calls me mister, Heidi, madam. There is a Procession of visitors: friends, family, small kids. I meet a cousin who Works at the local airport. He has a photo on fb of him with the president. He is Amazed by my iPad and ex play with the translator app.
His friend is a singer and sings some beautiful songs. He Works in car leasing, and gets other work singing at weddings. He has a band and writes his own songs. He sings for me. He does the same the next day too. He has a beautiful voice. He asks me about Cameron? They are not impressed with him sticking his nose into Sri Lankan affairs. Not for the first time I hear that he should understand that peace is a good thing. We laugh about the commonwealth and how ridiculous and unwanted it is.
I pass through living room to get to my room. Umami is chatting to her friends, the kids are playing in the yard still. I need to sleep for my early 5am safari start. As I shower I can hear Jingle bells in singhalese outside.


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