Awoke to a beautiful morning after yesterday’s South West Monsoon drenching. A violent storm swept through during the day with gale force winds and as a small Tourist boat struggled to get ashore the old Gilligan’s Island theme song came to mind!
Another wonderful breakfast after a great dinner last night. The fresh Calamari grilled and spicy was to die for. No pics were taken as eating had become our priority! The staff here are friendly and attentive without being intrusive, the ideal combination. This is our 9th day here and we have one to go. We originally only booked for 4 days so that tells you something about the place. Bar our trip to Yala, we have managed to keep within our retiree/pensioner budget of approximately A$100 a day. It just shows with a “Booking Queen” in charge of accommodation selection you can still live well here. Our Homestay with Jayabo in Kandy with fabulous breakfast and dinner only costs us around A$50 a day. Try living on that in Australia!
We are moving into the adjacent top storey room for our last 2 days as they have just installed a brand new split system air-conditioner. It will make a nice change from the ceiling fan! Off at 12 today for our inland village visit. One of the staff here has clandestinely invited us to see his village and home first hand and is sending his Tuk Tuk friend to collect us. This will open a window for us into the life of a tourist industry worker on average wages.
Mentioned Hemas Private Hospital in Galle in Blog 131 and this is the link to their charges. Try getting an abdominal ultrasound in Australia for A$12.50!
Our Tuk Tuk arrived at 12.05pm and we headed inland through little villages, rice paddies and jungle until we reached the village of Meepe where our friend lives with his wife and little boy. We were welcomed to their house which like many Sri Lankan Houses was a work in progress. He showed us all around the incomplete house and we looked at his plans. Will be a great house when finished. He told us blocks of land in his street sold for around US$10,000. It was a very quiet rural neighbourhood yet just 15 minutes from Unawatuna Beach and 30 minutes from Galle.
His very pretty wife had prepared lunch for us. It consisted of Jackfruit curry, dahl and young banana flower, tiny dried fish and eggplant curry, green leaf chopped salad (Mukunuwenna leaves), pappadams and rice. It was Yummy and I ate in my fingers whilst Erica used a fork.
After lunch we looked at their wedding photos and discussed arranged marriages and horoscopes they use to judge compatibility. It seems their union was not an arranged one. We got an insight into how hard it is to make ends meet here even though costs are low the wages are as well. It is hard to get a bank loan unless you have a fairly high income so most people here just keep building as the money comes in.
We felt privileged to be asked into their home, be given lunch and for being able to ask them many questions that gave us an insight into life here. Discovered the local rural hospitals are free but for something serious they go to Hemas Private in Galle that although sounds inexpensive to us is costly when on local wages.
Before leaving we took some great pics of our hosts. We were then taken for a tour of expat mansions in the area. We were surprised to see a large walled mansion overlooking a pool and then rice paddies belonging to a Danish person. Our host talked our way through the gate and the staff showed us around while I took some pics. The grounds were beautiful and well maintained. Next was an Italian’s Villa set back behind a paddy field.
Last but not least we ventured onto a huge house being built on a stunning site for an Englishman Mr Morris as a holiday house. He had bought the land ten years ago and terraced what was once jungle and planted many local fruit trees. He had also built many white concrete arm chairs to enjoy the garden from. In front of these massive terraces punctuated by giant boulders and rocks was the partly constructed mansion. The concrete columns were mostly 18 inches square and it was probably the strongest looking type of construction we had ever seen. The builder showed us around and explained the owner wanted to build a house that would still be standing in 500 years. We were sure it would be. He was very proud of his work and took us up to the first floor and told us the large swimming pool would be on the second floor as yet unbuilt. All the concrete was being mixed on site with a blend of 2 cement to 3 gravel/sand, a very strong mix.
When complete it will overlook rice paddies in front behind which is untouched jungle vegetation. Truly a remarkable building in a remarkable place, something we could never have seen without the help of our friend. Returning to our hotel the Tuk Tuk that had stayed with us the whole time cost us just A$35.
Another storm is striking Unawatuna beach as I write and the temperature has dropped remarkably.