Tag Archives: mount lavinia

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.

Nothing to write about

This is great, I have nothing much to write about. Slept in til 2pm, went for a stroll along the beach and met Dave and Donna from Southampton, both working in counseling, staying at the same hostel. We spend a couple of hours chatting on the beach and wondering if our unprotected skin is going to burn in the overcast sun. The sea is shallow but the surf is strong and knocks you over. Not a place for lazy wallowing. We walk up from the beach, over the railway line to the art cafe for a plate of veg curry and rice, local tea and mango juice for less than £1. The hostel in the evening has a chilled out garden vibe. Oddly black sabbath paranoid album is playing.

Mount Lavinia Colombo Sri Lanka.

It seems like weeks ago since Oliver saw me off from Brighton station. 20 hours later I find myself in the mount lavinia hostel. The room is ok, if smelling a bit damp, and at least the garbage collectors who were in the street when I arrived have gone, along with their stench. The 2 flights gave me no sleep. The taxi ride from the airport was a bit scary. Lane discipline is non existent and 10 wheelers straddle the middle lines, with tuk tuks darting in and out, buses ploughing a don’t get in my way furrow and taxi drivers honking. It’s balmy, overcast. First impressions are not much of a grubby nondescript Asian city. Choked with traffic, a noticeable absence of western franchises. The taxi driver even drives on the wrong side of the road. Having taken the wrong right turn off the hectic galle road he deems it easier or safer to carry on up the inside of the road into oncoming buses etc rather than attempt to force his way back over to the left hand side of the road.
I slumber for 4 hours then stroll the 400 m or so past security guards greeting me politely as I pass the private entrances to plusher accommodation, over the railway line between the beach front wooden shack restaurants onto the sweep of a sandy beach with a dramatic surging ocean. While paddling I’m approached by a beach boy hustler offering me somewhere to eat, massage, boys, girls, drugs, whatever I want. I decline his assistance and stroll on. Then I’m approached once more with the unlikely story that this guy is a famous singer and that he would like me to appear as an extra in the video he is shooting for his new song. I’m characteristically sceptical and make him sing to show me his credentials. His crew consist of 2 others and a canon 6d on a tripod. This is no toy, so I give the guys the benefit of my wariness.
Dilum & Sameera are the act. Later I find them on YouTube. Apparently they are well known in Sri Lanka nd have a big teen girl following. The guys direct me. My part is one of casual passerby, out strolling the beach when I chance upon Dilium being kissed on the beach, his face being smudged with lipstick. I should walk by, notice him with surprise then laugh at the spectacle. I can’t quite understand my motivation but we perform and shoot a variety of angles.

In case you dont believe me: here is the finished work. Im on at 2’59”!

Afterwards we chat, swap details and I interview Dilum.

In the evening as dusk falls the beach is a pleasant 24 or so degrees. Hungry I explore the galle road which is now a noisy honking exhaust filled rush of buses and tuk tuks. The pavement is broken and is lined by the drainage channels, partially covered with flagstones. Precarious walking. No prospective eateries.

Dilum calls me to invite me for dinner of the beach with Sameera. We have nice time at the steamboat, and the food, although maybe not freshly cooked is quite nice. I have a bean curd curry and vegetable rice and a beer. We talk politics, sport, business, media, food, travel. Sameera speaks in praise of the govt and believes that channel 4 and western media agencies are trying to incite war in Sri Lanka. They are 24, local, live with their parents, have known each other all their lives. We say good night standing on the railway that runs along the beach. Sameera tells me about the 2004 tsunami and how nobody knew what was happening..the tide going out for a km was exciting and everybody ran down to look at and walk the exposed sea bed. Than ran and ran as the ride ripped landward, destroying the. Each front and twisting the railway lines. 20 000 dead in this area….they invite me to call than and meet up next time I’m in the area.

Sri Lanka: Mount Lavinia

A journey with no rest. I hate those A380 airbuses. They pack in so many people that it takes 2 hours for the cabin crew (all women on Emirates: why is that?) to serve dinner. Thankfully a special meal as in my case arrives early. The carnivores next to me were still waiting long after I had finished.

Oh, I’ve just been told that the hostel will be turning off the wi- fi in 10 mins..why I don’t know. So, I’ll carry on offline and publish later tomorrow.

Meanwhile I will let the pics from the beach at mount lavinia do the talking.